Labour Shortage, Espace Stratégies

Labour Shortage


Labour shortage is characterized not only by a lack of manpower but also by a mismatch between the advertised positions and the available workforce in the labour market. While this issue used to primarily affect “skilled” positions, it has now become a societal reality expanding across all sectors of employment. According to several experts, due to the current demographic reality, this situation is expected to persist for at least a decade.



The issue of labour shortage is explained by a combination of several factors.

From a demographic perspective, Quebec experienced a significant “baby boom” phenomenon in the post-war period, followed by a sharp decline in birth rates. This means that the retirement of baby boomers results in a significant departure of workers that subsequent cohorts struggle to fill.

However, this shortage is also a sign that the economy is thriving and generating new positions. Throughout the employment chain, needs increase, requiring more manpower to support growth.

It is also observed that entry-level and low-paid positions experience a strong shortage. This is because individuals are increasingly educated and, as a result, demand better working conditions (salary, vacation, work-life balance).

The combination of these factors means that the problem persists despite the phenomenon of increased productivity. Thus, the number of preserved or generated positions is greater than the number of eliminated positions.



A labour shortage can have significant consequences on the health of the organization. All organizations in the country are affected, including institutions and government agencies. Regardless of the sector, it is a key issue in the current and future economy.

Indeed, without the necessary full workforce, the existing staff may prove insufficient to support the organization’s activities. For businesses, this could lead to the refusal of clients if they cannot adjust production and meet demand adequately. For institutions or organizations, this could result in service disruptions, rendering them unable to fully fulfill their basic mission.

This issue can prevent businesses from fully optimizing their assets and can have a significant impact on profitability, the growth of different markets, the acceleration of innovation and digital transformation, efficiency gains, productivity and the overall performance of the company. The impact can also be felt in the bidding process, reduced opening hours, the effect on the growth rate, financial pressure, or difficulty in implementing new technologies, causing the company to be hindered in its development. This can also affect training and integration costs due to a higher turnover rate resulting from increased employee mobility in the job market.

For all organizations, from a human resources perspective, labour shortages can have a considerable effect on employees. Maximizing existing resources can lead to professional burnout and an increase in absences and illnesses due to excessive workloads. It is essential for organizations to be equipped to optimize their processes and resources without exhausting them.



In the face of this issue, organizations must be increasingly attractive to ensure workforce retention. To do this, they must have, among other things, a clear strategic vision of the organization’s future, enabling them to share a stimulating and mobilizing mission with all employees.

Strategic reflection allows the organization to develop a strong differential vision that will set it apart for potential candidates. It is noteworthy that organizations are now in competition for recruiting and retaining the best employees, as it is the employees who now select their employers, not the other way around.

Individuals looking for employment will prioritize organizations with a clear strategic vision of their development, having adopted innovative and modern management practices, incorporating facilitating technologies for work, including telecommuting practices, having established an effective and flexible governance structure, and having integrated a work recognition system.

Espace Stratégies can assist organizations on two fronts: helping organizations clearly define their strategic vision through inclusive strategic reflection or as part of a comprehensive strategic planning; rethinking the organizational development structure in line with the organization’s goals and strategic vision.

It is worth noting that Espace Stratégies has developed a new branch in organizational development, a natural complement to the strategic approach, addressing a wide range of issues related to these challenges in organizations.



To address various growth themes, Espace Stratégies offers several consulting services. For labour shortage, the most relevant ones include:


Economic Development Organizations

Innovative Businesses

Tech Companies



Axia Services

Axia Services is a social economy enterprise with a mission to support the development of individuals with physical, intellectual and/or psychological limitations. As a social economy enterprise, it faces the dual challenge of maintaining a competitive offering while dealing with the advantages and challenges conferred by its mission. To address both aspects of its action, it sought the services of Espace Stratégies to help determine an action plan to facilitate strategic decision-making and identify activities that optimize the use of available labour.

Suicide Action Montréal

Suicide Action Montreal (SAM) aims to prevent suicide and its impacts by ensuring access to quality services. ES assisted a working committee of the organization, including board members and the management team, in its strategic planning. One of the crucial challenges of this strategic exercise was finding solutions to labour shortages. Integrating principles of Community Action into new plans revitalized the use of volunteers and alleviated pressure on the organization’s staff.

Related Growth Themes