2012 Labour Market Update
Labour market planning is an exceedingly challenging activity considering the landscape is constantly shifting as a result of economic, social and technological changes. Labour market planning activities need to be on-going, cyclical, and constantly integrating and generating new data and research. In this light, Ottawa has taken a new approach, known as Integrated Local Labour Market Planning (ILLMP), focused on an industry-driven, locally-focused, labour market plan to “grow our human capital” – our people and our city.
The Ottawa Integrated Local Labour Market Planning group, guided by two committees (one employer-focused and the other comprised of service providers), published the 2010-12 Ottawa Integrated Local Labour Market Planin December 2011. The 2012 Labour Market Update highlights Ottawa’s current economic situation and changing labour market indicators, updates the 2011 Action Plan, and outlines the 2012-13 Action Plan.
According to the Conference Board of Canada, Ottawa-Gatineau’s economy expanded by an estimated 1.4 per cent in 2011, while employment increased by 0.9 per cent. Not much change is expected in 2012: real GDP growth is forecast to reach 1.8% and job growth is projected to come in at 0.6%. In contrast, Canada’s economy expanded 2.5% in 2011, while employment increased 1.2%. Economic growth is expected to slow to 2.1% in 2012, down from the estimated 2.3% last year.
The Conference Board of Canada has been anticipating, for some time, that fiscal austerity measures by the federal government would lead to job losses in Ottawa-Gatineau’s public service. These job cuts are now a reality, as declines in public administration employment were recorded in both the second and third quarters of 2011. Unfortunately, more job cuts are expected in 2012. Given that the public administration sector accounts for one-quarter of Ottawa-Gatineau’s overall economy, job losses in this sector will reverberate throughout the whole economy. However, there is some hope that if employment contraction is dealt with through attrition, workforce adjustment and the culling of temporary worker programs, that the impact may be tempered.
Other highlights include:
- The high-tech sector will perform decently. As outlined in the 2011 report, with the emergence of web 3.0, cloud computing and convergence between different disciplines (e.g., biotech, bioengineering, nanotech, and e-health), certain ICT professions will be in greater demand.
- Healthcare and educational services will feel the effects of a tight labour market, as senior leadership is ageing. Corporations and public sector administrators within these two sectors will have to focus greater efforts on succession planning and replacing retirees.
- Manufacturing will recover slightly in 2012, but grow very modestly over the coming years. Ontario’s food and beverage manufacturing subsector is currently facing a difficult operating environment. Rising commodity prices, inclement weather and decreased stockpiles have led to increased production costs and a subsequent increase in wholesale and retail prices.
- Construction will see some positive growth due to large infrastructure projects in Ottawa. Projects such as the $358-million rehabilitation of Parliament Hill’s West Block, the $126-million expansion and renovation of Queensway Carleton Hospital, and the $112-million Vanier Tower at the University of Ottawa have picked up the slack and the $291-million redevelopment of Lansdowne Park will keep commercial activity buoyant.
- Ottawa’s Light Rail Transit project is due to commence in early 2013. The OLRT project will be the largest infrastructure project in the City’s history, generating 20,000 person-years of employment and more than $3 billion in economic activity during construction alone. It might also spur innovation in other areas of the economy; i.e., manufacturing, particularly in the high-tech sub-sector, is also expected to add about 1,300 jobs.
The strategic framework and priorities identified in 2011 have been validated by both employers/ stakeholders and service providers, and reframed as guiding principles for taking action in 2012-13. Employers and service providers also identified four priority sectors on which to focus in 2012-13; the first three aligned closely with the priority areas identified in the 2011 Strategic Framework/Plan:
- Information, Communications & Technology
- Healthcare and Social Assistance
- Tourism (added based on importance for Ottawa and forecasted labour shortages)
In response to the needs brought forward by employers, four key result areas (KRAs) were identified, with 2012-13 actions outlined under each one.
- Internship/Matching Program – We will connect employers with the best talent: determine what is feasible, define what we can contribute, advise on program design.
- Educating/Equipping Employers – We will educate employers on their role in recruitment and retention, and equip them with the tools and knowledge they need to get the best talent and best leverage the talent available.
- Empowering Prospective Employees – We will equip prospective employees with transferable and timely skills, as well as empowering them with the tools and knowledge to successfully get the right job.
- Collecting and Pushing Out Meaningful Labour Market Information – We will collect “real-time” meaningful data from employers in all sectors, as well as other stakeholder inputs and anecdotal “buzz”, analyze and package the data in a timely and user-friendly way, and push out to those who need it.