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CSTEC and CME study reveals manufacturers are expecting to grow, but a retirement driven skills shortage looms

Published by Marie Morden on March 14, 2017

A recent study by Canadian Skills Training & Employment Coalition (CSTEC) and Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) reveals that 75 percent of manufacturers expect their business to grow over the next three years, but 86 percent of manufacturers are finding it challenging to hire the skilled workers that they need. This shortage is expected to worsen over the next 10 years, as manufacturers will have to replace over 22 percent of their workforce due to retirement. The detailed report on the future of the manufacturing labour force in Canada can be found here. This report provides detailed regional outlooks and manufacturing labour market forecasts for 15 regions across Canada.

CSTEC and CME have been engaging industry leaders in these regions to identify the human resources challenges affecting manufacturing in Canada. Manufacturers have expressed that the most significant challenges they are facing relate to skills shortages, training, and succession planning. To enable employers to solve these problems, CSTEC and CME created regional forecasts of the labour market so that employers could understand the future of their local workforce. The forecasts predict the supply and demand for manufacturing occupations in each region. These regional reports have been used by employers, colleges, universities and the government to develop strategies to create a workforce that will enable manufacturing to thrive in Canada. The regional reports can be found here:

This industry led initiative has just completed its third year and has provided updated labour market information and forecasts for all 15 regions. Every manufacturing region in Canada faces different challenges and so each region has its own committee that ensures labour market information corresponds to regional needs. Regional committees consist of manufacturing experts who provide strategic guidance on issues vital to the future competitiveness of manufacturing in Canada including: skills shortages, human resources planning, technical training and apprenticeship. If you work in the manufacturing sector and want to contribute to the national discussion on the future of the manufacturing workforce, join one of the regional industry committees:

Over the next year, CSTEC and CME will update the regional labour market forecasts and release a second national report that will provide an overview of the manufacturing labour market across the 15 regions. Regional industry committees will continue to use their regional labour market information to address their skills shortages and ensure a vibrant future for manufacturing in Canada.


"These forecasts reveal that serious skills shortages are looming over the next 10 years as manufacturers try to replace retiring tradespersons and technicians. If current trends continue, there will be intense competition for skilled employees not only among manufacturers but also from other sectors including utilities, mining and construction. To us, this indicates that government, industry, educational institutions and labour unions must work together to develop innovative solutions to these challenges."

- Ken Delaney, Executive Director, CSTEC


Regional labour market information reports: Here

Join a regional industry committee: Here

For more information please contact Ian Howcroft at


About CME
Since 1871, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters has been helping manufacturers grow at home and thrive around the world. In 2016, CME released Industrie 2030 - a roadmap for doubling Canadian manufacturing activity by 2030. Our focus is to ensure the sector is dynamic, profitable, productive, innovative and growing. We aim to do this by strengthening the labour force, accelerating the adoption of advanced technology, supporting product commercialization, expanding marketplaces and, most importantly, ensuring a globally-competitive business environment. CME is a member-driven association that directly represents more than 2,500 leading companies who account for an estimated 82 per cent of manufacturing output and 90 per cent of Canada's exports.

The project is funded by the Government of Canada's Sector Initiatives Program.


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