MDB Insight Blog

5 Key Trends in Workforce and Economic Development

Workforce and economic development professionals must be able to anticipate changes in hiring and employment patterns in order to make strategic decisions for their communities. That's why it’s important to always have an eye on emerging trends in this space, including when it comes to how labour market information (LMI) is collected, disseminated, and utilized.


The new Statistics Canada TEER system (short for Training, Education, Experience and Responsibilities) was introduced to include the education and experience needed to work in a specific occupation. This provides a more granular level of detail compared to reports previously generated. The TEER system enhancement now features a "skill level" to clearly indicate the difference in formal training or education necessary among unit groupings for occupations.

What other changes are on the horizon when it comes to LMI? We explore five trends that workforce and economic development professionals should be aware of as we head towards a post-pandemic labour market.

1. Increased need for workers with a range of soft skills

What is happening?

In recent years, even pre-dating the pandemic, there’s been a considerable increase in job postings that explicitly request soft skills from workers such as communication, organization, teamwork, attention to detail and flexibility, to name a few. These skills help teams work successfully together over email, Slack or Teams conversation platforms and virtual meeting spaces such as Zoom. The ability to communicate effectively is even more essential given the growing number of people working remotely. They would also lend well to other types of jobs that have notably increased in recent years, such as personal shoppers with companies like Instacart (which has over 20,000 workers in Canada).

Although they can be challenging to quantify, soft skills play a key role in employee performance and productivity. That’s because they can help workers gain visibility, forge relationships, and create opportunities for advancement within an organization. Simply put, soft skills help build human connection which can be a crucial component for high-performing teams. This is why the increased demand for soft skills shows no signs of abating, even in a post-pandemic landscape.

What does this mean?

Using new reporting capabilities that utilize ESDC’s 5-digit NOC codes and breaks them down further into sub-occupations, additional insights on talent identification can be easily accessed with real-time data. This deeper level of granularity means that you have the necessary data to make recommendations that certain soft skills be included in more educational and industry training programs, for example.

This new reporting capabilities also means that you can collect comprehensive data and information on skills challenges that employers report both with their existing employees and when recruiting new staff.

2. High sector labour demand for delivery drivers and service couriers

What is happening?

Unsurprisingly, the need for delivery and courier service drivers has increased markedly since the onset of the pandemic. With the rapid acceleration of e-commerce for everything from food deliveries to subscription-based services, job postings in this sector have naturally followed suit. More Canadians are routinely shopping online for products or services that they previously purchased in shops. In fact, studies show that over 95% of Canadians used the internet in 2021 (up from 91% in 2018), and this is projected to reach nearly 99% by 2026.

Overall, in Canada, data in 2021 suggests that sector labour demand for delivery driver and service courier jobs rose by 29% compared to 2020, with 7,773 more job postings made than in the previous reporting period.

What does this mean?

It may be worth exploring if other potential variables (such as seasonality) could be influencing current growth for this sector in your own community. What are the most frequently cited skills requested for this occupation? How are the salaries for these jobs in your community relative to other regions? Are these workers being hired as gig workers, or as full-time employees?

3. Jobs for long haul truck drivers are also on the rise

What is happening?

This occupation has experienced a 10% growth in demand across Canada, with 1,909 more job postings in 2021 compared to 2020, a year which also saw a similar rise. This increased demand has boosted the average job posting wage for truck drivers in Canada by nearly 8%, although this can vary significantly on a regional basis.

What does this mean?

Is there a qualified driver shortage in your area? Has there been a notable change in the salary level? Do potential drivers compete in several industries (such as Uber and local delivery drivers)?

4. Employers need workers with versatile skills

What is happening?

Relevant skill identification will continue to gain steam in 2022, partly due to the new 5-digit NOC code changes, but also because workers with a diverse skill set have become highly coveted in many occupations versus the need for a specialized skill. Employers want to increasingly hire talent who can successfully perform a range of roles within an organization to help tackle the unemployment and labour market gaps.

What does this mean?

You should look at examining the educational criteria listed in current job postings. Is your local labour market well-versed in a range of skills? Reassess what is necessary for the most in-demand occupations in your community, this time using the new 5-digit NOC codes and sub-occupations and see how you can best match relevant skills to these vacancies.

5. The use of real-time economic data is spurring a (r)evolution in LMI

What is happening?

Sources of information that reflect emerging technology and automation trends are becoming increasingly important, so it’s key to select a suitable platform for this. Since new technology in combination with quickly changing labour markets is driving the demand for faster labour market data, the platform you use should also embrace new technologies in its own methodology.

For many years, this has been a missing piece of the labour market puzzle, and it is now a priority for the Labour Market Information Council (LMIC). In fact, this recent post about an article featured in The Economist confirms what we’ve known for a decade now: real-time data matters and offers a wealth of insightful and actionable information that is simply not possible with annual reports.

What does this mean?

The great news is that reliable real-time data is now available! MDB Insight and Vicinity Jobs' Labour Demand Reporting System, use cutting-edge data collection methods to combine the quality of reports from Statistics Canada with more localized data that’s especially relevant to workforce and economic development professionals. What’s more, unlike Statistics Canada, which provides their data in the form of an annual report, you can access more recent information through weekly, monthly or quarterly reports at any time. This means that with MDB Insight and Vicinity Jobs, you can benefit from real-time labour market reports as needed, rather than waiting.

This leading platform's local LMI is used to successfully report on current job vacancies across Canada. This enables workforce and economic development professionals to make better-informed decisions and swiftly address evolving labour market needs during these extraordinary times.

Real-time data provides several clear benefits, and can enable you to:
  • understand where labour demand is increasing/decreasing within a geographic area
  • validate what specific skills and education levels employers are demanding
  • carry out a comparative analysis with other regions and distinct time periods
  • identify and connect with high-growth employers
  • engage partners and launch coordinated regional initiatives
  • inform training and education partners about in-demand occupations and skills

Furthermore, Vicinity Jobs is forward-looking: their innovative system has already been updated and equipped to read and analyze 5-digit NOC codes for a deeper level of information. It even provides an additional breakdown of the 5-digit NOC to a set of over 1,000 sub-occupations, that Vicinity Jobs has defined in close collaboration with the teams of the Labour Market Information Council (LMIC) and Magnet at Ryerson University. At the same time, the Vicinity Jobs system has been further enhanced to accommodate this significant change in reporting as far back as 2018, incorporated French language postings for a more fulsome data set, all with the goal of maximizing the quality of output and insight to be garnered.


Although the post-pandemic phase of Canada’s economic recovery has yet to unfold, many changes in the labour market that have already arisen because of the virus are poised to have a lasting impact. While many of the record-breaking job losses (nearly 3 million) at the start of the pandemic have since been recouped, the recruiting efforts to fill job vacancies have largely shifted to be more skills-focused than education-based, and this is a trend that is projected to continue for the foreseeable future.

Additionally, rapid changes in the labour market have increased the need for reliable, real-time data, that can support evidence-based decision making.


Vicinity Jobs offers an efficient way to get valuable and actionable insights, with more accurate and relevant data about the Canadian labour market. We understand your unique workforce development challenges, particularly getting that local picture of labour demand. We are a leader in LMI in Canada including information at the 5-digit NOC level, thus adding a deeper level of detail to the job demand reports previously generated.

Talk to us about putting this data to work in your community.

Contact Trudy Parsons, Executive Vice-President.

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