Engineers Canada latest labour market report points to looming engineer shortage
Retiring mechanical engineers expected to contribute majority of ME jobs over next five years.
Engineers Canada released its “Engineering Labour Market in Canada: Projections to 2025” report this week, detailing province-level projections of supply and demand for engineers in the coming decade. The regulatory agency’s labor forecast projects that more than 100,000 engineering jobs will need filling in Canada between now and 2025 as engineers retire and the economy continues to grow.
The most pressing challenge highlighted in the report is a looming skills gap. Senior engineers are anticipated to retire or leave the workforce in the coming decade but will leave an experience deficit in their wake, which can’t be filled by students and early career engineering professionals. This suggests a lack of medium- or intermediate-level experienced engineers in the market who would normally step into those senior roles. It also points to the glut of freshly graduated engineers who are finding it increasingly difficult to find employment as an engineer.
To fill this experience gap, the report suggests senior positions will be filled by Canadian engineers moving between provinces and experienced internationally trained graduates.
Other highlights of the report include:
- Retiring mechanical engineers are expected to contribute nearly 70% of mechanical engineering job openings over the next five years in Canada. This will increase to nearly 90% of total job openings from 2020 to 2025.
- The report identifies the average age of engineers in each of the engineering disciplines. For example, the average age of civil engineers in British Columbia (50), and Manitoba (48), will create more job openings than there will be workers available as older engineers retire.
- The recent decline in oil prices and the exchange rate, stronger U.S. growth, and increased investment will mean a stronger economy in some provinces over the medium-term, particularly for mining, manufacturing, and utilities.
- As demand for engineers continues to be strong, inter-provincial mobility, Canadian engineering graduates and immigration of engineers will be necessary to fill engineering positions.
- Increased participation of underrepresented groups in engineering, such as women and Aboriginals, will be necessary to fill engineering positions in Canada over the next decade.