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Monster’s 2020 hiring and wage forecasts for Canada

Monster’s 2020 hiring and wage forecasts for Canada

It could be a good year for job and salary increases, except there are clouds on the horizon.


Reading the tea leaves for 2020 isn’t for amateur soothsayers. Canada’s economy is turning less predictable. While things went pretty well in the first ten months of 2019, November had the most prominent employment drop in a decade.

Does this foreshadow a troublesome hiring trend or just a nasty blip? That’ll depend on some of the unforeseeable. Such as, an end to the trade wars, how Brexit nets out, whether interest rates hold at historic lows, and if household debt – currently at record highs – causes headwinds. 

2019 Hiring And Wage Review

In the first ten months of 2019, our country added over 350,000 jobs. That was the fastest pace in 17 years. But November screeched to a significant reversal: 70,000 net positions lost. 

Ontario was the saving grace. It accounted for 76% of the year’s employment gains, with only 40% of Canada’s population. Meanwhile, Quebec and B.C. were getting closer to full employment. That could put a cap on future job gains.

With national unemployment hovering just under 6%, and tight labour markets in some pockets, wage increases of around 4% weren’t uncommon. 

2020 Economic Forecast

What does the new year hold? Most likely, mixed results. Economists are projecting GDP growth of maybe 1.7% for Canada, hardly cause for cheers. 

Some bright upsides stand out. The stirrings of recovery are happening in the oil and gas industry. As a result, Alberta could benefit primarily, with spillover to Saskatchewan and Newfoundland. Also, tech is in high demand.

The Bank of Canada’s probably going to keep the benchmark interest rate around 1.75%. They’re constrained by household savings rates down in a bunch of provinces, while debt load’s very high. Don’t bet on consumer spending as a white knight.

Employment And Salary Prophecies For 2020

Unemployment rates are relatively low in multiple provinces. Therefore, quite a few companies are struggling to find qualified workers. That’s good news for recruiters who can check out the right candidates. Inducing them to change jobs could be trickier, though. Employers will have a keen eye on retention strategies.

Job growth in manufacturing and the trade sector may be minimal due to weak global demand. However, hiring in most provincial and local governments should level off too as they try to balance their books. But federally, the re-elected Liberals are expected to increase spending and reduce taxes, according to the Conference Board of Canada. 

Assuming all goes well overall, there could be a 5 to 6% increase in the number of Canadian jobs for 2020. Consequently, wages would rise by about 4% overall. 

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