MOOSE JAW – A GROWING POPULATION
The provincial population peaked to an estimated high of 1,041,729 as of April 2010. Moose Jaw’s also peaked to a record high. According to the 2011 Saskatchewan Health Covered Population with Moose Jaw mail boxes, the population of Moose Jaw is 35,671 compared to 33,999 in 2006 (up by 1,677 persons). This represents an increase of 4.7 percent over five years. (Note: the 2011 Canada Census for Moose Jaw 33,617 compared to 32,526 in 2006, up by 1,091 persons or 3.3%).
Overall the age structure is positive and with a split trend with both the 40+ year old households and then younger households. Three age groups contributed to the increase: 40-69, then 20-39 and finally 0-4 years. The largest age group increase was in the 40-69 year group, those engaged in job creation or retirement. A positive indication for the city was Moose Jaw’s second largest group experiencing growth, namely the 20-39 year age group. This increase in numbers reflects new job creation, and an in-migration of young people from other regions; this is likely the cause of the increase in 0-4 year olds to the city.
Moose Jaw’s population has consistently represented 3.2 percent of Saskatchewan’s total population, both prior to and including 2006. Moose Jaw 2006 Census reported a population of 32,123.
Census 2010 Moose Jaw recently experienced so much growth, that it outpaced the rate of population increases experienced by the province as a whole. Here are some of the highlights:
- Working-age population (15 to 64) is at 64.2% in Moose Jaw, up from 62.7% in 2006
- Median age in Moose Jaw is 41.9 years, compared to 41.6 years in 2006; national median age is 40.6 and provincial is 38.2.
- Moose Jaw has 17,250 female residents (51.8%) and 16,025 male residents (48.2%)
- Seniors (65 and over) represent 18.9% of city’s population, compared to national average of 14.8% and provincial average of 14.9%. This is down slightly from 2006 when 19.7% of Moose Jaw’s population was seniors.
- Number of children (14 and under) remains about the same from 2006, 16.9% of population, compared to 16.8% nationally and 19.1% provincially
2006 Census Data Moose Jaw CA Employment by Industry Retail Trade (15.1%), Health care and Social Assistance (13.9%), Accommodation and Food Services (8.6%) and Education Services (8.3%) make up almost half (45.9%) of Moose Jaw’s industries.
Moose Jaw Area Workforce Report Moose Jaw Economic Development Commission – 2012
The economic outlook for Moose Jaw area is both positive and sustainable, thanks to the area’s ample potash resources. Labour force growth related to the new K+S Potash Canada mine and continued expansion of the Mosaic Belle Plaine mine, when combined with other mega projects underway in the city and province, are expected to exacerbate current labor and housing shortages. The Moose Jaw area labour market will require significant increases in participation rates and educational attainment, and substantial national and international migrations as well as increased Aboriginal population and labour force participation.
Moose Jaw has over just 1,000 employers.
Workforce Recruitment Issues Local companies report some workforce recruitment problems with some difficulties finding both skilled and unskilled labour, including skilled trades, professionals, managerial and supervisory staff, as well as hospitality and retail workers. Competition for skilled workers is growing and smaller local employers are expected to increase both wages and incentives to attract new and younger workers to their local companies. Increased demand for skilled labor will challenge smaller local businesses, especially those who rely on skilled trades to operate their business.
Changes in workforce The local labor force growth will not keep pace with growing demand and employers will have to rely on attracting younger workers from other provinces and countries to replace their aging workforce.
Growing Competition for Skilled Labour: As competition for skilled workers grows, training will becomes an ever increasing issue for local companies as they compete with potash mines for workers. This will add pressure on SIAST, Palliser campus training facilities. Owners of local companies reported they must compete with industries in the area for skilled workers. This increased demand for skilled labor is resulting from the positive economic environment in Saskatchewan.
Recruiting more foreign workers: Companies reported more recruiting of overseas employees with more and more diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Local firms report that there too small of a work force available in the local area. For example, one company is actively recruiting from the Philippines, and their present workforce is made up of a number of Philippine workers who are considered to be excellent and very productive
Aging Workforce: Older members in the work force are expected to retire in the next 2 – 10 years company will be forced to compete for new employees. In the next 2-5 year 20% of the workforce will be eligible for retirement. At the moment Companies report that some of their workforce are nearing eligibility but are not making plans to leave, at least publicly; in particular there are many management positions nearing retirement. Succession/retirements will force changes and advancements will happen from within. In the banking industry, for example, retirement occurs at a combination of age and company employment time equaling 75. Some local owners do not expect any major change to their own workforce but report that nation-wide there is a number of older personnel reaching retirement in 1 to 3 years. Also worrisome is the fact that small businesses owners, who decide to retire, will also close their shops.
Challenges Attracting Younger Workers: Companies attracting young motivated worker will be required to offer incentives, such as paying for their skill training and education.
Rural location is seen as a detriment: Companies reported skilled workers would rather work in a larger community. It is for this reason a rural company would think about locating/ or a relocation to Moose Jaw area. Ironically, companies located in Moose Jaw also reported their concern that younger people want to live in a larger centre. Working outside as cold weather is also deemed a disincentive. There is some difficulty in attracting professional to the city.
Labour Supply Will Continue to be a Major Economic Issue In the immediate future, the green-field K+S Potash Mine and expanding Mosaic Mine will fuel local employment growth in construction. These two companies will draw their labour supply from within 100 km of their mines, and local companies will be impacted.
Over the next decade the Saskatchewan Mining Association forecast that the provincial mining industry will have to hire between 9,200 and 21,000 workers, based on a combination of growth, retirements and industry turnover. The industry has also identified the most significant shortages will be in the following occupations:
Trades miners and mine labouers, heavy equipment operators, millwrights and industrial mechanics, heavy duty equipment mechanics, welders, material handlers, process operators, steam fitters, pipefitters, and sprinkler and systems installers, drillers, crane operators, machine operators, carpenters, plumbers
Technical drafting technologists, geological and mining technologists, land surveyors, chemical technologists, mechanical engineers and technologists, electrical and electronics engineering technologists and technicians, industrial engineering and manufacturing technologists, industrial engineering and manufacturing technologists, mapping technologists
Supervisory production managers, mining supervisors, engineering managers, construction managers, contractor supervisors, supervisors mining processing, contractors -pipefitting trades.
Professional and Physical Sciences civil engineers, geologists, mining engineers, electrical engineers
Human Resources and Financial Occupations accountants, auditors, human resource managers
Support Workers secretaries, administrative assistants, inspectors in public and environmental health and occupational health and safety, dispatch operators, cooks, production clerks, engineering inspectors and regulatory officers, construction estimators, inspectors and testers (mineral processing), crew transportation
Training the workforce SIAST, Palliser campus trains in all areas of the engineering technologies, trades, administration, human resource management and accounting. Fast tracking apprenticeship training to journeyperson status will be important. The majority (88%) of local companies interviewed reported that they provide training to their employees, and most reported stable training budgets although 22 local companies plan to increase their spending on training. Some companies rely on in-house and on the job training, while others report more and more reliance on corporate-based training.
Workers in a small company required a lot of cross training of employees, allowing personnel to become specialized while maintaining a generalist approach.
City of Moose Jaw Labour Force A looming influx of highly paid medical professionals, engineering technologists, and potash mine workers are anticipated with the boom as Moose Jaw’s mega projects start to come on stream.
Canada Employment Insurance’s unemployment in August 2011, compared to the previous year, reported, “In Saskatchewan, all eight large centres recorded year-over-year declines, with the fastest decrease occurring in Moose Jaw.”