A look ahead at the job market in 2024

Discover our latest podcast episode all about the constantly evolving job market. With the next generation arriving in the workplace, there have been big changes to our professional environments. Whether you’re looking for a job, currently employed or a human resources specialist, listen to our advice and tips on how to make today's challenges work to your advantage.

Ashleay: Welcome to iA Financial Group's “In Your Interest!” podcast. My name is Ashleay and I'm here with Sébastien Mc Mahon, our Chief Strategist, to discuss opportunities in 2024 in the job market. To do so, we're joined by our colleague, Maude Dumont Montplaisir, Senior Director, Talent Management and Development. So hi, Maude! Hi, Sébastien!

Maude: Hi!

Sébastien: Hello, Maude! It's great to have you here to talk about one of our favorite topics here: the labour market.

Ashleay: Yes, we love it. So, first of all, Maude, can you tell us a little bit more about yourself and your role at iA Financial Group?

Maude: Yeah, sure. So, I'm with iA for 15 years this year. I started out as a student before I had finished my studies and now, my role right now is Senior Director of Talent Management and Development. So, I'm responsible for talent acquisition, learning and development and talent management—so, succession, internal mobility, among others.

Sébastien: Talent management, leadership skills. Those are all the most important themes in the labour market in 2024. So, we have the right person to dig a little bit into these.

Ashleay: Absolutely. And Sébastien, maybe, before we dig in with Maude, can you summarize the economic market, including inflation, the rising interest rates and whatnot?

Sébastien: Sure. Of course. Higher inflation over the last few years has taken a bite out of the economy just as rising interest rates. So, people are spending less. And that's putting some pressure on multiple segments of the economy. And interestingly, there's the demand side, but the supply side also, this is where the labour market plays an important role. I was looking at some stats from Statistics Canada. 
They have this study on the labour market that comes out in the second quarter of every year. So, the data that I have here is for 2023, and the next edition will be out in May 2024. They were looking at the businesses that are having the most difficulty in retaining skilled employees and recruiting skilled employees. And interestingly, where the situation is most dire is in, first manufacturing: people working in facilities, accommodation and food services, looking at construction workers for sure. For some other sectors like finance and insurance, it's less of an issue to attract employees. So, we always talk about the labour market as being this one big block, but it's very sectoral. If you go into a restaurant, you’ll see, well, the opening hours are much shorter now, prices are higher. You’re hearing about wage pressures being an issue, well, typically that goes with the unavailability of talent. And interestingly, the sectors where you see the largest labour scarcity is where the workers are typically either male or female and there's less crossover from one group to another. So, labour scarcity is an issue. It is holding the economy back in some sectors, for example in construction. Here, we'll be talking more about the reality within an insurance group, so the picture is a bit different, but I think the themes that we'll be discussing here today apply to pretty much every segment of the labour market.

Ashleay: And in your opinion, Maude, what are the HR trends for 2024 that companies will be banking on?

Maude: Yes. Maybe, I can talk about one trend related to what Sébastien just mentioned. I think that more and more employers will be focusing on skills rather than experience and diplomas. And this trend, we've been observing it for several years now, but I think it will become even more important in the future as we seek out key skills in technology, for example. So, there is a tendency for organizations to make the transition from a job-based organization to a skills-based organization, which leads to greater agility. And it is really a competitive advantage because we can use specific skills for different projects, for example. So, use the right skills at the right moment. And for an employee, it means that you have to stay really up to date, take interest in different things and really have a continuous learning mindset. So, I think that both companies and employees need to adapt in that context.

Sébastien: Yes. And the world is becoming more and more complex, so you need to be good at multiple disciplines now in the labour market. More, clerical, let’s say, kind of work is being automated away, so you need to have people that have seen multiple things and they're able to bring multiple expertises together. And we're also thinking about an inclusive culture—equity, diversity, inclusion—so it's not just on the skill set: you want to have a diversity of opinions and of DNA within a company, right?

Yes. And I think it's really important to set an inclusion climate, so, where you have psychological safety, that you can be vulnerable, that you can admit your errors. I think this is really something important in the market right now.

Ashleay: And Maude, what do employees look for most in an employer and in a new job?

Maude: Many things, I would say. So, first of all, for sure, compensation and benefits. These are always top reasons, but in the current economic situation, it's certainly top of mind for many people. I would say also flexibility at every level. People are professionals and we have to trust them to deliver the work they need to do in the way they want to do it, and make sure as a company to offer them the winning conditions to do so. People really want to develop on a professional side, but also on a personal side. They're seeking fulfillment and development. They want challenges and opportunities to evolve within the company and fulfill their passions as well. And finally, something really important is a culture that reflects their values. They’re looking for a place where their opinion is valued and taken into account. We were talking about ED&I and diversity of opinions. So, I think this is something really important. Something else is really to have genuine and accessible managers where the communication is transparent. And finally, I will say the social impact of companies is also a factor valued by jobseekers.

Sébastien: Yes, especially for the younger generation. They're very sensitive to that.

Maude: Yes. To environment, ED&I questions and stuff like that.

Ashleay: And Maude, do you have any advice to employees looking to develop their skill set or develop themselves personally or professionally?

Maude: Yes. First of all, I'd advise them to determine what's important for them. Do they want to develop in their current position? Do they want to move internally, have a promotion? I think it's important to decide that first. Secondly, really to take control of their development. Organizations and managers are there to give opportunities, to give tools to employees, but at the end, we are the masters of our development, our destiny, at some point. So, if we wait for others to do it for us, we can wait a long time. My other advice would be really to seize every opportunity. Development isn't just about training. It's so many things that you can live in the flow of work in your day to day, like exchanging ideas and learning with colleagues, doing a postmortem after a project, for example, asking for feedback, listening to a podcast, reading. There are so many things that you can do to develop. Sometimes we think it's over on top of our current job, but it's usually in the flow of work that you can do that. Finally, I would say raise your hand and really mention your intentions to people around you. There's a lot of people: your managers are there, the company is there to help you and give you tools in your development as well.

SébastienAnd Ashleay, as you know, we had our colleague Claude Sirois come here to talk about real estate, and he said it on the podcast—and I hear him say it often in the office—“no matter what age and what level you are, you are the CEO of your own career.” So, if you want to develop, I mean, it's in your hands. You need to work with more experienced people and you need to take your destiny in your own hands, as you said, Maude.

Maude: I totally agree.

Ashleay: Thank you Maude and thank you Sébastien. This was really relevant and important content. It really makes you think. It was a pleasure to have you with us, Maude. And to our listeners, we will see you next week. Loved this podcast? Want to know more about economic news? Follow our “In Your Interest!” podcast, available on all platforms, visit the economic news page on ia.ca or follow us on social media.


Sébastien has nearly 20 years of experience in the public and private sectors. In addition to his roles as Chief Strategist and Senior Economist, he is an iAGAM portfolio manager and a member of the firm’s Asset Allocation Committee. All of these roles allow him to put his passion for numbers, words, and communication to good use. Sébastien also acts as iA Financial Group’s spokesperson and guest speaker on economic and financial matters. Before joining iA in 2013, he held various economic roles at the Autorité des marchés financiers, Desjardins, and the Québec ministry of finance. He completed a master’s degree and doctoral studies in economics at Laval University and is a CFA charterholder.

Sébastien Mc Mahon and Maude Dumont-Montplaisir

This podcast should not be copied or reproduced. Opinions expressed in this podcast are based on actual market conditions and may change without prior warning. The aim is in no way to make investment recommendations. The forecasts given in this podcast do not guarantee returns and imply risks, uncertainty and assumptions. Although we are comfortable with these assumptions, there is no guarantee that they will be confirmed.

Share prices

2024-04-19 12:56 EDT
  • ^TSX $21,807.37 $98.93
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