The Great Resignation (AKA The Great Retirement)

For several years – long before the COVID pandemic’s impact on the workforce – I have been talking and writing about the impending workforce shortages in Canada. The following image provides a very real sense of what is happening to our workforce within Canada. This Statistics Canada image of our population by generation is as of the end of 2021.

It is easy to see that the Baby Boom generation remains the single largest generation in Canadian history.  All the media messages about the increased impact of the Millennials (Gen Y/Boomers’ Kids) on the workforce are accurate.  What is missing from those messages is the fact that there are fewer Millennials than there are Baby Boomers. There are also fewer Gen-Zers.  Yes, they are a growing part of the workforce – and that is primarily because the Baby Boomers are leaving it.

As of December 2021, the population statistics indicate a total of 7,936,575 Millennials and 9,479,180 Baby Boomers.

In 2021, the youngest of the Baby Boomers turned 55 years old.  Workers 55 years of age and older (Baby Boomers) have increased to about 22% of the workforce (4.5 million people.)  Two years from now, in 2024, the majority of the Baby Boomers will be 65 years of age and older. While many Boomers have been dragging their heels about retiring, more and more are actually doing it.

The only growth in the Millennial generation is from immigration, which fortunately for employers, the Canadian government has been diligently increasing, and which is intended to be higher than ever in history (fractionally over 1.14% of the Canadian population) by 2024.  It is pretty easy to recognize that the timing of the increase is not coincidental.

We are rapidly moving into a serious workforce shortage situation, and we should expect to see more offshore remote workers, more robots, and higher levels of unemployment coupled with more job vacancies. And a slew of other implications – more to come on those.

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