Labour Shortages: The Canadian industries with the greatest post-pandemic lack of workers

The latest Labour Force Survey from Statistics Canada revealed that the Canadian economic is finally emerging from the negative impacts of COVID-19. Employment levels in this country have officially returned to pre-pandemic levels, and the national unemployment rate is now lower than it has been since February of 2020.

With the surge in hiring that this staffing up requires, some sectors risk falling behind in the recovery because there is a ack of available workers to fill their open positions. A recent study by the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) found that 55 per cent of Canadian entrepreneurs are struggling to hire the workers they need.

Here are five sectors seeing the greatest labour shortages right now.

Hospitality and food service

The hospitality and food service industry was one of the hardest hit by the effects of the pandemic. With many workplaces closed for months at a time, and few hours of work available over the past year sand a half, numerous employees in this sector sought opportunities in other fields. Now that businesses are summoning their staff back, a great many aren’t answering the call.

View hospitality jobs on CareerBeacon


The COVID-19 pandemic not only greatly increased the demand for workers in the healthcare sector, the added pressure of staying on the job through a pandemic made working conditions considerably more stressful and potentially even unsafe. The combination of more workers retiring or leaving the healthcare field along with fewer people choosing this line of work has led to labour shortage conditions.

See hundreds of jobs on CareerBeacon in the healthcare field.

Manufacturing and construction

The number of open jobs in the Manufacturing and Construction industry is at its highest level ever noted right now, according to Statistics Canada. The data agency reports, “vacancies increased in the second quarter of 2021 to the highest number of vacancies for this sector since comparable data became available in 2015.”

Manufacturing jobs on CareerBeacon
Available jobs in construction


Stats Can notes that vacancies in retail trade increased by more than 30 per cent from the second quarter of 2019 to second quarter of 2021, leaving 84,300 retail jobs going unfilled right now. This is only exacerbated by the fact that limited hours and a lack of regular shifts – along with a fear of working with the public – led numerous retail workers to seek other occupations over the past year.

Retail jobs hiring now


Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada was experiencing a shortage of truck drivers. These essential workers move goods across the country and keep the economy’s supply chain working. Demographics within the profession mean that while many older drivers are retiring, there is a lack of younger truckers coming along to replace them.

See positions of drivers available right now on Careerbeacon

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