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The Great Resignation: Canada's Retirement Exodus and Its Impact Thumbnail

The Great Resignation: Canada's Retirement Exodus and Its Impact

More than a year after the great resignation took hold in the United States, Canada is grappling with its own greyer version: The Great resignation. (Reuters 2022).
Over the past year, we have all noticed service declining in many sectors. Hospitality, travel, banking, and retail to name a few all seemingly with the same explanation – a short of workers. So where have they all gone?

A Steady Decline and the Rise of Retirement

Although the Canadian labour force has grown in the last month, we are still coming off the heels of a steady decline that lead us into the summer months. It would appear, according to Statistics Canada, that tens of thousands of people are leaving labour force - to retire.
Canadians are retiring in droves with a record number of Canucks between the ages of 55-64 are saying goodbye to their careers and heading into the next phase of their lives. The result, a mass exodus of some of Canada’s highest skilled workers, causing a continual drag on our country’s production & service capacities, leaving employers scrambling to replace these experts all while wage demands are trending higher than ever.

“The risk you have, and in some sectors, you’re already seeing it, is that people are leaving without there being enough younger workers to take over. So, there’s a loss of human capital” said Jimmy Jean, Chief Economist at Desjardins Group.

Embracing Post-Pandemic Opportunities

As most of us can relate now that restrictions have lifted and life starts to get back to somewhat pre pandemic times, people are desperate to capitalize on time they lost doing things they love like travelling and being able to spend more time with family. People have refocused on what matters most to them after coming out of a time that forced us to re-examine our lifestyles as we collectively faced this new threat.  
These departures from the labour force, weigh on economic growth at a time when the central bank is aggressively hiking interest rates to counter spike inflation, fanning fears that the economy will fall into a recession (Reuters 2022).
To no one’s surprise, healthcare was one of the largest sectors impacted by this mass exodus as it realized 34,400 jobs lost since May 2022 (Reuters 2022). These are not layoffs, but people choosing to retire unexpectedly.
Trucking is another sector that is being brutalized by this mass exodus. Seeing their work force retire either due to their aging population or people simply contemplating a different lifestyle all together. Without these trucks on the road products will sit stagnant in warehouses rather than reaching their destinations. We are seeing a lot of that this year. I have personally been waiting for my dishwasher since early Feb of this year. How many of you have a similar frustrating story? Well - this is why.

Retiring Early and Rediscovering What Matters

We always like to put a positive spin on everything, because if you look hard enough, you can find a break in the clouds in any situation. If more people are choosing to retire early well… good for them! It either means they saved and planned enough to realize their goals in retirement, or decided to downsize their lifestyles, needing less to be happy.
If we can take away anything at all from this pandemic its that spending time with the ones you love is a gift and when that gift is taken away from us - and we have the option to change it, we should. Sounds to me like our fellow Canadians are realizing what’s most important in life. And to that we say, good on you.