The fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic is still making itself known. In the United States, there was a "Great Resignation" of people leaving their jobs. In Canada, 2022 has seen what’s being called the "Great Retirement."
While a large-scale retirement has been in the cards for Canada for some time, it’s been happening this year in larger numbers than expected, in part because it's not only workers 65 and older retiring. Canadians 55–64 are retiring in greater-than-anticipated numbers: 154,400 out of 306,500 total.1
Part of the problem created by this phenomenon is that Canada is experiencing something like a "brain drain." That's when a country, industry, or company loses a significant portion of its institutional knowledge through workers heading elsewhere—in this case, retirement.
This leaves several Canadian industries understaffed or with fewer experienced employees than before. Health care, construction, retail, and education are four sectors seeing excessive retirement.2
Factors contributing to the early retirements may well include burnout. Health care has always faced issues with burnout, but the recent pandemic has affected this industry in particular.3
Another factor is that Canada's workforce is aging, while demands are increasing in certain industries. Trucking is a physically demanding career, and aging drivers are looking forward to a well-deserved retirement. Unfortunately, there's a growing demand for shipped goods and not enough experienced drivers to meet the need.3
While it's difficult to say what factors may resolve this drain on Canada's workforce, it seems natural that the push and pull of supply and demand will both open the door to new and previously unemployed workers as well as increasingly reward those experienced employees who stay longer or return to fill the gaps. Gaps of this type offer opportunities to those willing to take advantage.
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