Alberta’s workforce reshaped by migration, aging employees

November 29, 2017

By Metro News |

Immigrants and seniors are transforming Alberta’s workforce, mainly due to higher life expectancy and interprovincial migration to Alberta.

According to recent data released by Statistics Canada, 28 per cent of Albertans 65 and over are working, compared to 20 per cent nationwide.

Furthermore, more than one in four Edmonton workers is an immigrant, with the city recording a 26.2 per cent immigrant workforce, compared to a national average of 23.8. Alberta’s average is the same as the national average.

That 26.2 figure puts Edmonton in fifth place among Canada’s top census metropolitan areas for proportion of immigrants in the workforce.

Vincent Dale, an assistant director with Statistics Canada, said the higher proportion of seniors working in Alberta can be attributed to the fact that people are healthier and more educated than ever before.

“Seniors reaching age 65 or more are more educated than ever before … (and) people with a bachelor’s degree or higher are more likely to keep working,” he said.

While some of those seniors worked past 65 by choice, some did so by necessity, with Dale noting that enrolment in private pension plans has been steadily decreasing over the years.

As for the higher proportion of immigrants here compared to the national average, that’s likely because Edmonton is a government and university city, said Dave Redekopp, president of career counseling firm Life-Role Development Group.

“Because we’re a government town, I think the government is way better at hiring immigrants than the private sector,” Redekopp said.

Significantly, Alberta is not just good at attracting immigrants, but it comes second only to Ontario in keeping immigrants here.

“It speaks to the economy, but also it speaks to the idea that we’re not as redneck a culture as people think we are. We’re not driving immigrants away … and that’s amazing.”

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