Economic Growth and Demographics in Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan is experiencing a new-found prominence as an economic force in Canada and the world. As Warren Lovely, Senior Economist with CIBC states:

Saskatchewan has what the fastest-growing part of the world wants and that is valuable resources (Leader Post, 2010).

Saskatchewan’s economic strength has been reflected in the growth of its job market and population. Until recently, Saskatchewan’s population was shrinking due to out-migration and modest in-migration. In the 20 years preceding 2005/06, Saskatchewan experienced a net out-migration in each year giving the province the unwanted distinction of exporting its most valuable resource – its people.

In the last five years that pattern changed. With robust economic and job growth came increased wages, dramatic increases in home prices, increased consumer spending and the elevation of Saskatchewan to “have” status within the confederation. Most significantly, Saskatchewan has experienced net in-migration for every year since 2007.

If past generations in Saskatchewan were characterized by more people than jobs (P>J), the new reality is that in Saskatchewan there are now more jobs than people (J>P). Nowhere has this change had a greater impact than on employers who are being challenged to find skilled and experienced employees.

Most of the key factors affecting the supply of labour are demographic – how many people are living in the province and available for work. While the size of Saskatchewan’s labour force can be expected to grow in the coming years due to international and interprovincial migration, reasonable assumptions about expanding economic activity mean that even this growth in the labour market will be insufficient to meet the demands of employers.

Employers have a limited range of solutions to meet their problems finding workers. Any increase in available employees will have to come from a combination of:

  • higher participation rates among those people 25 to 54 years of age, and Aboriginal people in particular;
  • higher participation rates among those outside this primary labour market age group, that is, those 15 to 24 years of age or 55 and older;
  • even higher levels of immigration from other provinces or countries; and
  • increased productivity levels among the current workforce.

DC Strategic Management has expertise and experience in projecting labour market demand and developing and implementing recruitment and retention strategies to enable employers to meet that demand. Contact us to learn more about how we can help your organization.