A growing economy, an aging workforce, and challenges in finding skilled workers all play significant roles in the short-term labour outlook for five key sectors in the region, according to a Southeast Labour Market Partnership (SLMP) study that was released today.
SLMP focuses on the labour challenges that need to be addressed to serve the growing economy of Southeast New Brunswick, from the metro region of Moncton, Dieppe, Riverview, to the surrounding counties of Kent, Albert, and Westmorland.
The report looks at the short-term needs of five key sectors that help drive the region’s economy: Healthcare, Long-Term Care and Social Assistance, Transportation and Warehousing, Construction, Finance and Insurance, and Education.
Susy Campos, CEO of 3+ Corporation, is the Chair of the SLMP. She said the findings of the report are a critical element in developing sector-specific strategies to meet the labour challenges that need to be addressed to continue growing the economy in the region. The report also aligns with the Greater Moncton Immigration Strategy.
“One of the biggest challenges we face in terms of economic growth is addressing the labour shortage in key sectors,” Campos said. “The key to our future competitiveness lies in our ability to attract and sustain a talent pool to meet employers’ needs. The sector-specific strategies we develop need to be evidence-based and that’s what this report provides—solid evidence from which we can build a plan for each sector moving forward.”
The sectors represented in the report were picked for a reason, Campos added. “We know these sectors have pressing labour needs. We will be doing a similar analysis for other priority sectors in our region, but these are the sectors where the need is most urgent.”
Campos did note that labour needs are constantly changing, something that the SLMP has identified as a focus.
“When we began work on this study it was the beginning of the pandemic, so a lot has changed since then. We now see the tourism and hospitality sector, for instance, emerging as more of a short-term need, and that’s something the group will be looking at.”
The report crunches labour, employment and training data from various sources, and incorporates that with interviews and surveys with industry associations, employers and post-secondary education institutions in the region.
“There’s a lot of great information here to build upon,” Campos said. “Moving forward I think there are several things to look at. It means working closely with our partners in business and post-secondary education to address the talent gaps. Our partners at the municipal, provincial and federal governments will have important roles to play.”
“Selling Greater Moncton and Southeast New Brunswick as a great place to work and live for immigrants and others outside the region will be important. Immigration has been a key focus for our region in recent years, and it’s important we build on that. And that’s just scratching the surface of things to consider in building a sustainable labour strategy.”
Here are some of the key findings in each priority sector:
Health Care and Social Assistance
The shortage of nurses and doctors throughout New Brunswick including the Southeast has been well-documented. The demand for nurses is growing faster than the number of graduates, meaning the situation is in danger of worsening. The labour needs in health care are not just limited to nurses and doctors. There are challenges in recruiting other health professionals such as pharmacists and occupational therapists, and the biggest demand falls under the umbrella of technical occupations in health including lab technicians, radiation technologists and paramedics.
Transportation and Warehousing
This sector enjoyed significant growth in the region in 2021, and that growth is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. One of the biggest challenges is an aging workforce, with 30 per cent of the workers aged 55 and over and many expecting to retire over the next 5 to 10 years. The industry reports challenges in hiring truck drivers, dispatchers, service technicians, mechanics, and administrators. COVID-19 has had an impact, causing a delay in drivers’ tests, and increasing the shortage of drivers.
Where some sectors have struggled during the pandemic, the construction industry has thrived. It is estimated one-third of the construction workers in the region are aged 55 and older. The current boom has led to a labour shortage which could worsen if construction increases. A decline in enrolment in trades courses is a cause for concern with tradespeople such as carpenters, electricians and plumbers in high demand.
Finance and Insurance
The workforce for finance and insurance profiles has a younger demographic than transportation and construction, but this leads to different types of challenges. New graduates in this sector are more likely to leave the province within a year of graduating. Also, in the changing world of how we work, many of those who do stay are able to work remotely for companies in other parts of Canada and the world, making recruiting a challenge for local companies.
Low retention rates for recent graduates are also an issue in the education sector, as is the number of graduates not meeting demand. Population growth and retirees will lead to a steady need for teachers with the biggest anticipated hires coming at the kindergarten and elementary levels. The region is experiencing challenges in hiring French immersion and substitute teachers, along with school psychologists.
The Council members for the SLMP are 3+ Corporation, Opportunities NB, Expansion Dieppe, Greater Shediac Chamber of Commerce, City of Moncton, Working NB, The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Moncton, Town of Riverview, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Greater Moncton Local Immigration Partnership (LIP), CBDC Westmorland-Albert, and CBDC Kent. The full report can be found here
Susy Campos, CEO of 3+ Corporation
Chair, Southeast Labour Market Partnership (SLMP)
Phone: (506) 858-9550