Looking for a better paying job to maintain their standard of living

Almost a year after the Legault administration’s $3.9 billion Operation Workforce, Quebec still has more than 248,100 job openings. And the pensions of those over 55 cannot be offset by young people looking for better-paying jobs to deal with inflation.

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“After the lockdown, the labor market recovered. Shortly thereafter, we returned to a very high level of vacancies,” analyzes Desjardins’ lead economist, Hélène Bégin.

“The main reason we are still under-employed is demographics. Many people aged 55 and over are exiting the labor market and the new generation entering is fewer,” she continues.

According to Hélène Bégin, immigration, pensioners or people on the fringes of society will never be able to solve the problem on their own.

“All solutions will ensure that this will alleviate the labor shortage, but none will make it go away,” she explains.

According to Statistics Canada data published yesterday, more than 248,100 (+2.4%) jobs were still to be filled in Quebec in the second quarter of 2022. In Canada, that number was approaching a record one million (997,000).

In the Capitale-Nationale and Chaudière-Appalaches regions combined, the number rose to 41,225, the highest since the data was released.

“In the second quarter of 2022, there was less than one unemployed person for every vacancy in Quebec (0.8),” Statistics Canada notes in its bulletin.

Reinforced by the pandemic

However, with inflation hitting 7.1% in the last month, some workers whose wages have risen at a slower pace than inflation are no longer afraid to “look for a job” (See table).

“I’m considering jobs that I hadn’t considered before, just for financial reasons,” admits Esteban Valdebenito, 31, production manager at a horticultural company in the county of Roussillon.

“Someone like me might consider teaching, if only because conditions have improved, it’s public service and there’s security behind it,” he continues.

According to Simon Savard, senior economist at the Institut du Québec (IDQ), we saw less of this thinking when the unemployment rate was high.

The expert also believes that this movement is not only caused by inflation, but simply by the large number of vacancies here.

“When interesting positions are available, there can be interest from people who don’t currently have good conditions and want to improve them,” he observes.

“The pandemic has accelerated this trend,” concludes Hélène Bégin, Senior Economist at Desjardins.

In November 2021, Quebec Premier François Legault launched Operation Workforce, announcing 80 actions to add 170,000 workers over five years.

Incomes growing less rapidly than inflation

  • Inflation (August 2022): 7.1%
  • Accommodation and catering: 6%
  • Financing and insurance: 6.4%
  • Manufacturing: 5.4%
  • Agriculture : 4.9%
  • Transportation : 4.3%

Source: Statistics Canada and Desjardins

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