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Labour shortages have been coming and going in rapid waves ever since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. But this week, LinkedIn News is specifically taking notice of the labour shortages in Ontario. Across various industries, nearly 400,000 jobs are reportedly going unfilled. So, what’s causing the labour shortage? Read on to find out and learn what recruiters and employers alike do to improve their chances of hiring the right kind of candidate these days.

Why Many Are Struggling to Hire These Days

It should go without saying that staffing shortages impact everyone. Substantial staffing shortages often make significant impacts on the broader workforce itself and the economy as a whole.

But experts are noting that this staffing shortage isn’t entirely because of the pandemic. CBC writer Alistair Steele reports that many industries are seeing an “inevitable culmination of a seismic demographic shift decades in the making.” That is, as many Baby Boomers retiring and leaving the workforce, current generations are much too few to fill the gap. Instead, the market has simply turned to favour workers enough to allow them to be more choosy about their fields of work and their compensation.

Now, however, employers and recruiters alike are facing high worker turnover and are struggling to keep up with their competitors. And some companies—mostly because of a limited budget for salary and other resources for compensation—are consequently failing to stay afloat.

Sectors with Labour Shortages in Ontario

According to President of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (CofC) Rocco Rossi, more than 60% of the CofC’s members are unable or having difficulty filling available positions. And of course, these labour shortages are not only affecting employers/recruiters. When companies experience staffing shortages, for one, the workers who remain often become overworked and burnt-out. And as Rossi notes, “staffing shortages in Ontario’s health care sector impact worker absenteeism, community wellbeing, and overall economic health.”

Still, healthcare is only one of many industries facing a staffing shortage. Additionally, the following fields are seeing significant gaps in their labour market:

  • Agriculture
  • Aviation
  • Construction
  • Early childhood education
  • Food and beverage manufacturing
  • Hospitality
  • Insurance
  • Retail
  • Tourism

So, how do you combat staffing shortages? You can start by reassessing how you attract (or don’t!) potential candidates.

How to Combat Staffing Shortages

Of course, there is only so much individual at a company can do to combat staffing shortages. The majority of changes need to be made at the federal and provincial level. Many of these changes, according to Rossi, are starting to happen, such as the Ontario government’s plan to support skilled trades. Still, there are some actions you as an employer/recruiter can take when looking to make your next hire(s).

1. Reconsider mandatory requirements where possible

Depending on the field of work and the job at hand, many job requirements can be made optional. That is, even in skilled labour positions or unique trades, a worker may have the ability to thrive once trained. After all, hard skills can be taught, but often, soft skills cannot. So, before posting your job listings, review them carefully and reconsider what is a must when it comes to required skills. And if you are willing to invest in your employees and teach them, this can ensure they are adequately trained to your standards. It can also demonstrate to them how much you value them as an employee–so much so that you’re willing to invest in them to see them reach their greatest potential!

2. Improve employee salaries and/or benefits

While this is not a fool-proof plan, many are recognizing the need to increase wages offered to candidates. After all, this is often the number one reason why workers leave their job for another. Nonetheless, there are other ways to encourage employee retention. Company-wide resources like affordable daycare, gym memberships, and other support systems can go a long way for employees. Systems put in place that aim to improve worker rest and mental health are also key to worker retention. So, see if you can offer employees to try out the four-day work week, or even a flexible hybrid work model.

3. Support worker growth within the company

In addition to supporting workers by training them on-the-job, you can also maintain employees by allowing them room to grow. After all, internal hires don’t only save money on on-boarding higher-up positions which may require more thorough background checking and training. They also show employees they are considered a part of the company itself, and subsequently, this may allow them to feel more invested in their job and the company as a whole.


If you’re an employer or recruiter who is facing the challenges of the current labour shortages in Ontario, you’re not alone. These challenges will continue to impact many industries and the economy itself, so working to fill worker gaps will be beneficial for more than just yourselves. You can prevent worker shortages in your organization by working to improve worker retention and by maintaining competitive working conditions for all employees. Nevertheless, this does not mean lowering your standards. It merely means hiring for only the absolutely necessary skills needed and investing in your team members for a longer-term payoff.


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