Labour Shortage, Espace Stratégies

Labour Shortage


Labour shortage refers not only to a lack of workers but also to 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 become a societal reality affecting all job sectors. Experts expect this shortage to persist for at least a decade due to the current demographic situation.



Labour shortage is explained by a combination of several factors.

From a demographic perspective, Quebec experienced a significant baby boom in the post-war period, followed by a sharp decline in birth rates. This means that when baby boomers retire, there will be a significant exodus of workers that subsequent cohorts struggle to fill.

However, this shortage is also a sign that the economy is thriving and generating new positions. Needs are increasing throughout the employment chain, requiring more workers to support growth.

Furthermore, entry-level and low-paid positions are experiencing a significant shortage. This can be explained by an increasingly educated population that demands better working conditions (salary, vacation, work-life balance).

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



A labour shortage can have significant consequences on an organization’s health. All organizations in the country are affected, including institutions and government agencies. Regardless of the sector, labour shortage 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. Businesses may have to turn down clients if they cannot adjust production and meet demand adequately. This could result in service disruptions for institutions or organizations if they are unable to fully fulfil their basic mission.

Labour shortage 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 company’s overall performance. 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, hindering the company’s development. It 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, labour shortages can have a considerable effect on employees from a human resources perspective. Maximizing existing resources can lead to professional burnout and increased 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 labour shortage, 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 review allows the organization to develop a strong differential vision that sets it apart for potential candidates. It is noteworthy that organizations are now competing to recruit and retain the best employees, as employees now select their employers, not the other way around.

Job seekers will prioritize organizations with a clear strategic vision of their development, that have adopted innovative and modern management practices; that have incorporated the latest work technologies, including telecommuting; that have established an effective and flexible governance structure and that have integrated a work recognition system.

Espace Stratégies can assist organizations on two fronts: helping them clearly define their strategic vision through inclusive strategic review or as part of comprehensive strategic planning; and aligning the organizational development structure to the organisation’s goals and strategic vision.

It is worth noting that Espace Stratégies has developed a new organizational development division—a natural complement to our strategic services—that addresses a wide range of issues related to these challenges in organizations.


Espace Stratégies offers a range of consulting services to address various growth themes. The services most relevant to labour shortage include:


Economic Development Organizations

Innovative Businesses

Tech Companies



Axia Services

Axia Services is a social economy enterprise dedicated to supporting the development of individuals with physical, intellectual and/or psychological limitations. As a social economy enterprise, it faces the challenge of remaining competitive while dealing with the demands of its mission. To succeed on both fronts, Axia Services enlisted Espace Stratégies to help develop an action plan that facilitates its strategic decisions and identifies activities that optimize the use of available labour.

Suicide Action Montréal

Suicide Action Montréal (SAM) strives to prevent suicide and mitigate its impacts by ensuring access to quality services. ES helped one of the organization’s working committees, including board members and the management team, with its strategic planning. A crucial challenge of this strategic exercise was finding solutions to labour shortages. Integrating community action principles into new plans revitalized the use of volunteers and alleviated pressure on the organization’s staff.

Related Growth Themes