Even though the Quebec economy has recovered more than 90% of the jobs lost since the start of the pandemic last March, employment will be at the heart of the economic recovery. Last November, more than 305,400 unemployed were still struggling to find a job despite 146,420 urgently needed positions in the province.
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The next few months promise to be perilous for many workers, as business aid should slowly fade away. The unemployment rate rose two percentage points in January to 8.8%, the highest level since August last month. Many positions might not return anytime soon, despite the vaccine.
Thousands of workers in service industries like retail, hospitality, banking and transportation will see their jobs change forever. The explosion of e-commerce, automation and the absence of foreign tourists may also complicate matters. Some will return to school to re-qualify, others will prefer to give up their jobs to go into business.
With the rise of teleworking and still fragile economic growth, the job market will no longer be the same when the pandemic is over.
Losing your job is deeper than losing your livelihood, it is losing a part of yourself, according to François Matte, general manager of the Perspective Group for personnel recruitment.
“The Quebec worker is worried, tired and emotionally worn out. It is certain that losing his jobis losing its status. There is something very deep. No matter the context, it’s a shock, ”he says.
To turn the tide, Quebec extended $ 114.6 million to set up the Program to help recovery through increased training (PARAF), in which more than 6,665 people had participated as of January 29.
“The labor shortage is still present, but of varying geometry. In construction, manufacturing, transport and logistics, shortages are still very strong, ”said Éric Boutié, president of Événement Carrières.
While some industries have created more jobs than before the pandemic (education, professionals, business services), others have fared less well (accommodation, catering, culture and construction).
“Staff tipped in restaurants or hotels who saw their salary boosted at $ 40 or $ 50 an hour easily, there is none. There are big losers in this, ”illustrates Jean-Claude Bernatchez, full professor in labor relations at UQTR.
At the same time, in the warehouses, it is the race for candidates.
“We manage to fill in less than 48 hours today a position that took three weeks to fill before. Sometimes you hire in 40 minutes, ”observes Martin Mathe, co-founder of AppyHere, which recruits workers for the SAQ.
For Mircea Vultur, a work specialist at the National Institute for Scientific Research (INRS), COVID-19 was the pretext that pushed some to take action in their professional life.
“For some, this pandemic was a blessing because it led them to change jobs which they did not necessarily like,” he concludes.
– With the collaboration of Michel Girard