Manitoba should see consistent job growth in the coming years, but finding workers for some sectors may be a challenge, according to a new government report.
Manitoba’s Labour Market Outlook 2022–2026, published Friday, forecasts the province will see 114,300 total job openings created over the next five years.
Sales and service jobs will see the most openings at 25,100, followed by education, law and social, community and government services, according to the report.
Meanwhile, the health care and social assistance, wholesale and retail trade, and educational services industries are expected to see the most demand for workers.
Coming out of the pandemic, employment agency StaffMax says overall, it’s still a job seeker’s market in Manitoba, but things are showing signs of stabilizing.
“I would say we’re over the hump,” StaffMax vice president Jason Gill told Global News Friday.
“But I would (also) say that we’re not over the fact that people have decided how they want to work, when they want to work, how much they want to work.”
The labour market outlook shows the bulk of the forecast job openings — 75-800 — will be found in Winnipeg, with the southeast corner and the north and south central areas of the province forecast to see the second and third highest rates of job growth.
The top five industries expected to see shortages include transport truck drivers, retail workers, nurses, teacher assistants and elementary school and kindergarten teachers.
John Graham with the Retail Council of Canada says while supply chain issues are improving, businesses are still struggling with inflation and staffing, leading to troubles hiring positions from frontline salespeople to management positions.
Graham says easing immigration requirements could help fill some of those gaps.
“Making amendments that allow those that don’t have necessarily particular skills but can, are important contribution to the labour demands of this province to be able to come through the amount of a provincial nominee program,” Graham said.
University of Manitoba economics professor Fletcher Baragar agrees facilitating immigration could be an important step for the province in the years ahead but says improving salaries and working conditions in sectors with chronic vacancies is also important.
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He said fewer people aged 15 to 25 are entering the labour market, and the food, hospitality and retail sectors are feeling the effects.
Baragar says it could be linked to higher enrollment in schools after the pandemic along with Manitoba’s comparatively low minimum wage.
‘The relative payoff from going into (the) labour force and working tends to be decreasing or diminishing over time,” he said.
“It just makes the job market less appealing for workers in that category, so they basically say, ‘Well, I’m going to need a better job, so maybe I’m going to need better education.'”
According to the report 56 per cent of the new job openings over the next five years will require formal post-secondary training.
Government data shows Manitoba’s population is expected grow by 55,000 over the next five years, or 11,000 per year on average.
Over that sane time frame immigration is expected to bring 80,789 new residents to Manitoba, while net interprovincial migration will lead to the loss of 45,880 residents to other parts of Canada, the labour market outlook says.
— with files from Rosanna Hempel