Canada’s 2024 Employment Outlook: Optimism, Challenges, and Strategic Shifts

by | Dec 21, 2023

As we prepare to enter 2024, Canada’s employment outlook presents an intricate picture of the job market, reflecting a blend of optimism, challenges, and strategic shifts within the workforce. This comprehensive analysis aims to delve into the various facets of the employment landscape, guided by the latest predictions and trends that indicate a period of modest growth in the year ahead.

2024 Economic Outlook and Unemployment Trends

The current unemployment rate, as of November 30, 2023, stands at 5.8%. However, predictions for 2024 suggest a potential rise in this figure, with unemployment possibly reaching between 6.5% to 7%. This uptick in unemployment aligns with the anticipated technical recession in early 2024, marked by two consecutive quarters of negative growth. This recession, aimed at curbing inflation through high interest rates, is expected to see a turnaround with rate cuts in the third quarter of 2024.

Business Landscape in 2024

Businesses are predicted to face several challenges in 2024. Cash flow constraints, heightened competition, and increased labor costs driven by a competitive talent market will be prominent issues. A predicted labor shortage will intensify the fight for talent. Moreover, expensive financing options will likely lead to reduced investments by businesses in 2024.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Automation: Impact on Employment in 2024

2024 is likely to witness a substantial transformation in the job market due to AI and automation, with a shift towards more technologically integrated roles and the need for continuous skill development.

  1. Reskilling and Upskilling: As AI and automation continue to evolve, a large segment of the global workforce — approximately 1.4 billion people — will need to acquire new skills to remain relevant in their professions. This shift necessitates a major focus on reskilling and upskilling initiatives, both at the individual and organizational levels.
  2. Changes in Job Roles and Requirements: Traditional job roles, especially in sectors like customer service, finance, banking, media, marketing, and legal services, are expected to undergo substantial changes. Automated systems and AI tools will take over many routine tasks, altering the nature of these jobs and possibly reducing the number of positions in certain areas.
  3.  Increased Demand for Technological Skills: As more businesses integrate AI and automation into their operations, there will be a growing demand for employees with skills in these areas. Understanding and working alongside AI systems will become an essential part of many job descriptions.
  4.  Impact on Hiring and Team Composition: Employers will need to rethink their hiring strategies, focusing on candidates who are not only skilled in their domain but are also adaptable and comfortable with technology. The composition of teams may change, with a mix of roles that focus on AI management, oversight, and collaboration with automated systems.
  5. Shift in Training and Development: Employee training programs will increasingly focus on developing digital competencies, understanding AI and automation, and fostering adaptability in the face of technological changes. Continuous learning will become a key component of career development.
  6.  Influence on Banking and Financial Services: With a significant number of banks incorporating technology into their operations, the way financial services are delivered and managed will continue to evolve. This could lead to more efficient services but also necessitate a shift in the skills required for finance professionals.
  7. Changes in Media and Marketing: The roles in media and marketing are already being influenced by AI, particularly in areas like content management and design. This trend is likely to continue, leading to more automated content creation and data-driven marketing strategies.
  8. Redefinition of Career Paths: Traditional linear career paths may become less common, replaced by more dynamic trajectories that require regular upskilling and adaptability to new technologies and methodologies.

A Forbes article suggests that sectors like Finance, Banking, Media, Marketing, and Legal services are likely to see the earliest impact of AI integration.

IBM reports that around 40% of business leaders believe that within the next three years, approximately 1.4 billion individuals globally will need to acquire new abilities due to advancements in AI and automation.

Key Findings from Robert Half Canada 2024 Salary Survey

The Robert Half Canada 2024 Salary Survey reveals some critical insights into the hiring trends we can anticipate in the upcoming year. A primary challenge identified is the difficulty in finding skilled talent, with a striking 92% of hiring managers reporting struggles in attracting the right candidates with the necessary skills. This has led to a significant shift in companies’ strategies to entice quality hires. In 2024, about 40% of companies are considering raising their starting salaries, and 39% are looking to enhance their benefits packages, aiming to stay competitive in the job market.

Another notable change is the impact of the Salary Transparency Act introduced in 2023. This legislation has alleviated a common frustration among job seekers regarding unclear pay and benefits. As a result, 55% of hiring managers have found it easier to attract skilled candidates, with 54% noting a faster hiring process.

The survey also points to an increased reliance on contract workers, with around 65% of hiring managers planning to use contract employment to cover skill gaps while continuing the search for permanent staff. This trend reflects a shift in workforce dynamics, catering to immediate needs while keeping an eye on long-term goals.

Furthermore, flexible work arrangements are gaining traction. Despite the push from many organizations for a return to in-office work, a significant portion of job seekers, 43%, are showing a preference for flexible schedules, including options to work remotely or in a hybrid setting. This demand is recognized by over half of the managers (54%), with a similar percentage of workers (49%) in agreement. This trend is influencing employers to consider offering fully remote positions as a strategy to secure top talent.

However, hiring in 2024 is expected to be a slower process. Companies are not only planning to offer more attractive financial packages but also eyeing talent that was laid off from other companies, with 48% of employers considering this as part of their hiring strategy. Additionally, over 75% of businesses that had to put projects on hold in 2023 are preparing to resume them, indicating a potential increase in hiring activities.

Yet, challenges remain in hiring effectively and quickly. About 64% of employers report that it takes longer to fill positions compared to previous years. Concerns about finding candidates with the right skills (53%), hiring them swiftly (49%), and meeting their salary expectations (48%) are prevalent.

A key focus for nearly all employers (90%) is on retaining their best workers and ensuring high levels of motivation and engagement within their teams.

The 2024 outlook from Robert Half Canada highlights a year where companies will navigate through complexities in attracting and retaining skilled workers. They are expected to adjust their approaches, offering better compensation and flexible working options, to meet the evolving demands of the job market. 

Read the full report here

2024 Job Market: Conclusion and Outlook

Our conclusion for 2024 is that permanent hiring will be slow, particularly in the first half of the year, with a continued talent shortage. Companies will struggle to find skilled talent, increasing temporary and contract jobs to fill gaps. Competition for talent will lead to increased starting salaries and benefits packages, as well as an increase in hybrid and remote work options to attract and retain talent.

About Marmalade Recruitment:

At Marmalade, we’re not just about recruitment, we’re about revolutionizing the process, enhancing both the experience and outcomes. We believe in showcasing the full spectrum of our candidates’ capabilities and traits. We step outside the traditional resume framework by integrating video technology, comprehensive pre-employment assessments, and in-depth profiles. This approach significantly improves the chances of candidates achieving their dream jobs. Additionally, it equips hiring managers with more information, streamlining the recruitment process. This ensures the selection of the ideal candidate for the position, while also providing all necessary insights to facilitate their smooth transition and success within their new organization.

Ready to transform your career or elevate your team? Connect with Marmalade Recruitment today. Whether you’re seeking your dream job in Accounting & Finance, Administrative & HR, or looking to find the perfect candidate for your organization in Greater Vancouver, we’re here to make it happen. Experience the Marmalade difference with our innovative approach and start your journey towards success. Submit your resume or contact us for your hiring needs now!

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