Startup companies are now the fastest-growing and most powerful sector of Canada’s economy, but they are also increasingly driven by a surge in the number of Canadians who can’t find jobs or are being let go.
A growing number of Canadian startups are relying on a new wave of talent and capital that could ultimately reshape the Canadian economy, analysts say.
In a survey by the Canadian Association of Venture Capitalists (CAVCC), the number one sector of the Canadian business ecosystem has grown from 15 per cent of the market in 2014 to 27 per cent this year.
This trend will continue as Canada’s population ages and there is a growing focus on how to attract and retain the most talented talent, said CAVCC president Mark Nesbitt.
As the economy ages and the cost of living rises, many entrepreneurs have to contend with more competition from international talent and a lack of opportunities for Canadian entrepreneurs to get their start, Nesditt said.
The Canadian tech sector has been growing for years, and it’s only been in the last few years that the number and scope of entrepreneurs has grown, said Nesbet.
As Canadians age and there’s a growing emphasis on how the economy will grow, startups are more and more reliant on an ever-growing pool of talent, and more and different opportunities to work in the sector.
“We’re seeing a huge growth in the numbers of Canadians in the middle of their careers and not in the work force,” said Nysbitt, noting that many of these young Canadians are looking for an escape from their work.
While many of the tech jobs in Canada are currently tied to technology, many are also tied to science and engineering.
In fact, there are more than half a million tech jobs tied to the industries in Canada, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).
As these new tech jobs are created, Canada’s labour market will continue to shrink and a new generation of Canadians are likely to be excluded from the Canadian workforce, said Justin Bercovici, senior economist with TD Securities.
“That’s where our challenges lie,” he said.
“It’s going to be very difficult for a new cohort of Canadians to find the skills and the skillset to enter the labour market.”
While the tech sector is a key part of the economic recovery, it is not the only sector of Canadian economy that is undergoing a rapid growth in size.
Canada’s job market is expected to expand by 10 per cent in 2019, according the latest BMO survey of Canada.
That’s up from the expected growth of about 5 per cent during the previous three years, according BMO.
The BMO report, released Thursday, also shows that Canada’s overall labour force participation rate is rising to 62.7 per cent from 62.4 per cent.
The unemployment rate is now 5.5 per cent, down from 5.7 during the same period.
Canada is seeing a massive surge in both the number jobs and the total number of workers in Canada.
This is an especially notable development in light of the U.S. economy, where unemployment is still above 7 per cent and the unemployment rate remains at 10.5%.
But for the majority of the population, the job market has improved.
For instance, in the first quarter of 2019, the number two reason people cited as why they left Canada to work abroad grew from 15.3 per cent to 26.3, according a recent report from the Conference Board of Canada and the Canadian Institute for Research on Public Policy.
This means there are now more people working abroad, and Canada’s workforce is growing in both terms of people working and the number working, according Toews.
“In the short term, we are seeing a big increase in the labour force and the jobless rate,” he told CBC News.
“But in the longer term, I think the labour population is going to continue to grow.”
The biggest reason Canada’s young are leaving the country is the cost.
For many young people in their 20s and 30s, Canada is the only place they have a home.
And while there are plenty of jobs available, they can’t afford to stay and pay the mortgage.
According to Statistics Canada, for the first time in history, the cost to house a single person in Canada has surpassed the cost for renting a home, even though the cost per month of rent is much higher than the cost a single parent of two pays for rent.
“Canada’s labour force is not going to sustain itself for long, even if it’s growing at a healthy pace,” said David Henderson, senior fellow at the Fraser Institute.
Henderson noted that while there has been a rise in the size of the labour-force over the past few years, there has also been a decline in the proportion of people who are working.
“There is no shortage of people with skills and qualifications who are looking to enter this labour market, but those opportunities are still very few and far between,” he added.
But the job prospects