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Canadian companies will need better planning as retirements ramp up: report

More baby boomers are expected to retire in Canada and organizations will need better long-term planning for the aging workforce, according to a new Conference Board of Canada report.

Between 2010 and 2015, millennials – the generation born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s – overtook the boomers on the job, said the report. Millennials moved up from 25 to 35% of the workforce, while the boomers slipped from 40 to 31%.

The Conference Board of Canada predicts that by 2020, millennials will be 41% of the workforce.

Two-thirds of job openings between 2015 and 2024 will be in jobs requiring post-secondary education, such as software engineers, aerospace engineers, dentists, doctors, and nurses. The other third will be in jobs requiring high school or on-the-job training.

The report’s 2005 study sample reported a median of 40 days to fill vacancies in the technical and skilled trades. By comparison, the 2016 sample reported 60 days to fill those positions.

While workforce planning is a top priority for most Canadian businesses, only 37% of organizations agree their current business strategy is supported by a workforce plan, found the report.

“In a changing economic and demographic landscape, organizations wanting to smooth the resulting disruption need to plan their workforce as a longer term investment, rather than a short-term operational cost to achieve their strategic goals and remain competitive,” said Shannon Jackson, the Conference Board’s associate director of human resources transformation research.

Long-term workforce planning will be needed for redesigning positions, ramping up for emerging skills, negotiation with unions, and transitioning of roles no longer required.

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