Canadians Experience Some Drastic Salary Increases, Benefits due to Labour Shortages

July 22, 2021
min read

Approximately one in ten (~9%) of all Canadians lost their jobs in 2020 due to the pandemic.

After leaving around 3 million Canadians jobless over the past year, the pandemic is proving to disrupt the labor market further – with employees taking the advantage.

Employers are now having a more difficult time filling vacant positions and experiencing one of the worst labour shortages in decades.  Julie Labrie, president of BlueSKy Personnel Solutions stated that “she’s hearing from companies that have been unable to fill positions for three or four months”, and “qualified candidates are routinely receiving multiple offers” driving harder bargains for employers.

This is great news for Canadian employees as some employers are “willing to hike pay as much as $10,000 for new hires”, or even offer “four weeks of vacation” and flexible schedules with the ability to work from home.

In addition to labour shortage, some of what is driving the difficulty to hire employees are a reluctance to come back to work due to safety concerns, especially in customer facing roles such as hospitality, and retail. In addition to safety, some Canadians have been cutting back on spending and relying on government benefit cheques, thus delaying their return to the workforce. Some require childcare so returning to work is not an option.

Inexperienced and new job entrants

Though typically new entrants get the short end of the stick and often are forced to take lower pay or jobs that they are overqualified for, some companies are willing to take on new or inexperienced entrants and train them as there is a shortage of experienced workforce. This is a significant opportunity for those focused on their career and looking to get great experience.

Retail sector

In addition to reluctance to return to work due to safety concerns, many of the experienced workforce have moved on to other industries as businesses were closed throughout the pandemic for long periods of time.


According to the national association, Restaurants Canada, the restaurant industry also saw a significant leave of staff and is struggling to find experienced workers. Job postings are currently up nearly 40% above their pre-pandemic level as restaurants have been reopening across Canada.

White collar

White collar recruiters are having to offer better perks and higher salaries as more jobs have become available and there aren’t enough experienced employees in the job market. 61% of Canadians prefer a hybrid or remote work model and are demanding these remote work positions as a deal breaker.In the past few months the labour market power-dynamic has shifted in favour of employees.

Labor shortages for experienced workers are now apparent while retail and hospitality have become especially worse due to covid. This is more extreme in cities where businesses were shut down longer than other parts of the country.

Never before have we seen a better time to find a new job or follow your career path.