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Brewing Employment Crisis: Whither the Engineers?

Canada is staring down a serious shortage in its stash of engineers — and this against a backdrop of fully qualified professionals looking for work in this field.

The curious paradox between this condition of looming famine in this market, and the feast of Canadian engineers seeking employment therein, is a result of the lack of professionals with significant enough track records to fill the gaps. According to Engineers Canada’s just-released “Engineering Labour Market in Canada: Projections to 2020” report, some 95,000 engineers will retire here by 2020. That development, the research found, means the Canadian engineering labour market will soon face an alarming scarcity of players with more than 10 years of specialized experience. And because the workforce can’t replace itself fast enough — by way of either incoming Canadian or experienced internationally trained graduates — a skills shortage will be the calamitous consequence.

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It’s why the labour market will be particularly rich for incoming specialty-trained engineers with a bulk of experience, and less so for emerging graduates.

While engineering labour market conditions vary from region to region, the report concludes that supply-and-demand imbalances are becoming more serious across the board. It urges markets to work to strike a balance between those workers heading for the retirement hills, and training in-country grads and out-of-country engineers interested in working here.

Any way you slice it, the market disparities poised to characterize the Canadian engineering landscape will challenge managers, planners, recruiters and job seekers alike in coming months and years. Enter external staffing firms with a specialty in this market, like Keen — and the powers they might bring to bear on the emerging conundrum.

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