Alberta could face a labour shortage of 332,000 workers by 2025 if current trends continue, the Conference Board of Canada warned Tuesday.
The research organizations said the province's job situation is likely to worsen over the next 20 years due to an aging population and despite high levels of migration into the province of workers attracted by Alberta's booming resource-driven economy.
"The well-publicized current labour shortage in Alberta is just the tip of the iceberg," said Glen Hodgson, the Conference Board's chief economist.
"Something will have to give, as no economy can sustain such a huge and growing gap between labour demand and supply. If faster growth in labour productivity does not make up for the shortage in workers, the province will be unable to achieve its economic growth potential," he said.
The Conference Board said a rapid increase in wages is a likely outcome as the labour market tries to adjust to a shortage. Higher wages could make some projects so expensive that they would not take place, possibly delaying investments and reducing economic growth, the organization said.
In a report released today, the Conference Board said Alberta needs to address the looming problem with improved training and apprenticeship programs, initiatives to make it easier for workers from other provinces to move to Alberta, and better recognition of foreign credentials.
The province should also make better use of older workers and underemployed groups such as aboriginal Canadians, the research group said.