Many factors will shape the career and employment landscape in the workforce in the next decade.  It will become very important for all professionals who value their careers to watch, listen and learn to identify trends and identify possible solutions to this challenging and ever changing workforce landscape. Seven factors will be explored below as we ease out of the last recession and look forward into the years coming – and yet another recession looming – at a fast a furious pace. An interesting statistic to note is that 30% of Ontario’s labour market earned less than $15 hour as of 2016.  What is the overall impact on our economic health in Canada? Things that make you go hmmmmmm….

Minimum Wage Hike– The minimum wage hike to $14 per hour on January 1, 2018 and a $15 per hour increase on January 1, 2019 should pose some challenges and should be cause for concern for many.  Some employers have responded to these increases by reducing hiring, cutting employee work hours, reducing benefits and charging higher prices to their consumers. Employees, on the other hand, have responded in different ways, such as stating they will move onto to less stressful and less demanding jobs now that the wage no longer reflects the effort they have made to wait patiently and work hard to achieve that wage with slow increases received since they started the job; in essence, they are resentful and since there seems to be lack of loyalty in many cases, they will move on. Employee turnover will cost employers insurmountably.  Employers need to keep the good talent they have had for years, with other internal incentives and opportunities for growth and development in order for employees to feel valued.

‘Millennials’ in the workforce – Millennials already face bias in the labour market for not having experience. I frequently hear “They won’t hire me because I don’t have experience but how do I get experience if companies won’t hire me” especially in the case of new college or university graduates trying to manage a boatload of school related debt and find appropriate jobs which will sustain their financial situations.

Retirement of mature experienced workers – We are seeing an extended timeframe for younger, less experienced job seekers to secure full time roles, which pay them a lot less than their predecessors received.  If retirees eventually leave these full time jobs and secure $15 an hour jobs due to having a higher level of skills than younger workers, this would have significant impact on productivity in any company and in turn, the overall economy.

Job Hopping/Career Changing – Statistics have told us in the past that we are changing careers 3 to 5 times in our lifetime and changing jobs every 2-5 years, which some experts are saying now is higher.  The labour market has certainly reflected this especially where the past generations are concerned.  Employee turnover costs companies millions of dollars each year as we see this trend continue.

Applicant Tracking Systems – The theory behind these technically based applicant pre-screening tools has not yet been mastered and seems to be keeping good, qualified workers from being considered due to resumes not matching the keywords selected by the employer. Again, this technology is serving to keep good qualified applicants out. However, the bigger question here is “are ATS systems working systematically within the needs of each role employers are hiring for?”

Higher Skill Set Requirement – Employers will want higher skilled workers, to increase productivity so expectations will increase, putting those employed at risk of burnout due to having less workers to handle the workload requirements, which could see an increase in short and long term, non-physical disability claims (health issues due to stress, depression, PTSD etc.) by its’ employees.

What Employees Want – Increase to $15 hour will still not be enough to pay ridiculously high rental rates or home purchase mortgages in our province or re-pay student debt.  Employees want flexible work schedules for more work/life balance. Work from home opportunities will need to increase due to demand of a skilled workforce, focus on the environment and expensive commercial leasing rates.  Workers want an opportunity to contribute something meaningful to their community; to find meaning and purpose in the work they do.

So what do we do?  Observe what is actually happening, determine how to deal with the minimum wage increase, ask questions of hiring managers and HR professionals to determine the anticipated trends affecting their hiring practices and use this information to prepare ourselves for the inevitable impact – either positive or negative.  Find the true problems which will affect us all either directly or indirectly, then seek out the win-win solutions to those problems.  The race to see who will persevere and succeed in the changing landscape of our labour market will be an interesting one to say the least.

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