Labour Market Trends

2018 Trends for employers

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Whether you’re trying to plan the next financial year or interested in the state of your local labour market, we’ve compiled some top trends to look out for this year.

Labour Market Trends

The unemployment rate in Ontario fell to record lows in 2017. The unemployment rate measures the percentage of the working population that is unemployed. It is what’s known as a “lagging indicator” as it mirrors changes that have already occurred in the economy rather than predicting changes that will occur. A lower unemployment rate usually reflects a more stable economy.

According to Statistics Canada, in 2017, employment was up 423,000 jobs, of which 394,000 were time-work. The total hours worked increased more than 3%.

In Ontario, more than 176,000 jobs were created in 2017, which is double the growth rate for 2015 and 2016. The unemployment rate at the end of 2017 was 5.5%. In 2016 it was 6.4%

When the unemployment rate declines the Bank of Canada usually interprets this as a precursor to inflation and raises interest rates. If these trends continue, expect interest rates to go up.

Business Trends

According to a survey of Canadian Employers, HR professionals, and Workers by Hays Canada, employee retention and turnover could be the key business trends to watch for in 2018.


To match the optimistic outlook of the unemployment rate, employer confidence is up in 2018. According to the survey:

  • 70% of employers expect business activity to increase in 2018
  • 46% of employers expect the economy to strengthen in 2018
  • 38% of employers intend to increase the headcount in 2018

HR Professionals

On the flip side, the same survey indicates that according to HR professionals, there is currently a skills shortage:

  • 72% are experiencing a skills shortage
  • 71% are experiencing increased stress and work pressure because of the shortage
  • 40% have had to increase salary offers to stay competitive with new hires


87% of employers say that they have been negatively impacted by skills shortages. But the skills shortage has also been felt by employees:

  • More than 50% of employees surveyed said their salary was not in line with Market rate
  • Only 24% of employers intend to increase salary by more than inflation in 2018


The hiring market is poised to heat up in 2018 with a strong, or maybe even growing, economy. Combine that with an apparent skills shortage and employee dissatisfaction and you have a recipe for high employee turnover.

The mismatch between high demand for talent and low supply means workers may be able to shop around when looking for a new job. The fact that hiring managers are adjusting offers to be more competitive means that, from an employee’s point of view, a lateral move to another company could actually be a salary increase.

Ensuring employee satisfaction and worker retention will be key to keeping your business healthy in 2018.

Industry Trends

Based on industry projections from the Government of Canada’s Canadian Occupational Projection System (COPS), ten industries are expected to grow in terms of employment in 2018:

  • Computer System Design Services
  • Health Care and Social Assistance
  • Other Professional Services
  • Professional Business Services
  • Oil and Gas Extraction
  • Construction
  • Support Activities for Mining and Oil and Gas Extraction
  • Metal Fabrication and Machinery (excluding electrical)
  • Other Transportation Equipment Manufacturing
  • Wood Product Manufacturing

While five industries are expected to experience negative growth:

  • Agriculture
  • Computer, Electronic and Electrical Products
  • Paper Manufacturing
  • Printing and Related Support Activities
  • Fishing, Hunting and Trapping

Recruiting trends

According to a recent survey of employers from around the globe conducted by LinkedIn, there are 3 big recruiting trends to watch out for in 2018. You may not be able to implement all, or any, of the changes these trends imply in 2018, but if you want to keep pace with your competition, you should pay attention to these recruiting trends.


79% of Canadian hiring managers see diversity as the number one trend affecting hiring. According to LinkedIn there is “growing evidence that diverse teams are more productive, more innovative, and more engaged”.

The top three reasons why hiring managers care about diversity are:

  • To improve culture (78%)
  • To improve company performance (62%)
  • To better represent customers (49%)

The new interview

51% of Canadian hiring managers surveyed cited “interviewing innovation” as “very” or “extremely” important.

The traditional interview process (resume, followed by a phone screen, followed by one to two in-person interviews) is costly, time-consuming and not guaranteed to end up with the best candidate. Technology, an emphasis on different skill sets and some new business practices make innovations in interview techniques more appealing for hiring managers. Some of these techniques include:

  • Soft skills assessment
  • Video interview
  • Group interviews
  • Job “tryout”
  • Casual setting interview
  • Virtual reality assessment


42% of hiring managers say that data is a top trend affecting how they hire.

64% of recruiters currently use data; 79% say they will use it in the next 2 years.

Data, or “big data” as it is sometimes called is a practice of using, automated machine learning and large information sets to help make predictions and decisions. Using data can cut the hiring process time by as much as half. If your company is hiring dozens, hundreds or even thousands of new employees, using automated computer-assisted technology can save a tremendous amount of time.

Further reading:

Stats Canada December 2017
Hays 2018 Salary Guide
Government of Ontario Labour Market Indicators
Canadian Occupational Projection System
LinkedIn 2018 Global Recruiting Trends

If you’re looking to hire in 2018 and would like to know more about the free programs, services and support that we offer, contact us today!