Chambre de commerce du Montréal métropolitain

A changing world: Getting ready the jobs of the future!

To develop and grow, companies need access to labour that is suited to their needs. A variety of factors, particularly new technologies and an aging population, influence the business environment.

We provide here an overview of the situation and the city’s opportunities. Our goal is to provide a common tool for analysis that socioeconomic players can use to fill future positions.

This tool was developed in partnership with the Bureau de coopération interuniversitaire, the cégeps of Montréal and Éducation Montréal, the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal, the Conseil emploi métropole, the ministère de l’Économie, de la Science et de l’Innovation et des Exportations and the Regroupement des collèges du Montréal métropolitain.


Challenge N1 : Consistent drop in the availability of labour

Between 2013 and 2017 330 000 jobs will need to be filled in the Montréal CMA, 68 % of them (224 900) due to retirements.

In Quebec, retirement will affect certain skill levels more. From 2013 to 2022, over a third of managers will have to be replaced, and 31 % of professional positions (requiring a university education) will need to be filled. During the same period, a third of vacant positions will be filled by technical level jobs (requiring a college education).

This decline in the pool of potential workers directly influences corporate and economic growth and public finances.

Percentage of the population aged 20 to 64 compared with the total population of the Montréal census metropolitan area (CMA)

Source : Institut de la statistique du Québec

CHALLENGE N2 :Historically low productivity

Compared with 14 other major North American cities, the Montréal CMA is trailing when it comes to productivity.

This is a historical trend : growth in productivity was one of the lowest from 1981 to 2013(1,23 %, Center for Productivity and Prosperity, 2014 report).

This weak productivity impairs our ability to create wealth and diminishes our standard of living.

GDP per job in 2013
(thousands of dollars, PPP)

Source : IDQ, in cooperation with the Board of Trade and Montréal International

CHALLENGE N3 :Encouraging but weak outlook for growth

The city’s economic growth will be greater than that of Quebec and Canada overall, but will nevertheless remain weaker than that of the CMAs of Vancouver and Toronto.

Weak economic growth influences our ability to effectively finance public services.

Real growth in GDP

Source : Conference Board of Canada

We need to find ways to increase our productivity and wealth…
Recruiting skilled labour is one of the main challenges of businesses in the city.


There is a direct link between productivity and graduation rates.

Productivity and human capital
North American CMAs, 2011-2012

Sources : Share of university degrees : U.S. Census Bureau (ACS 2011) and Statistics Canada (National Household Survey, 2011)
GDP per job : Bureau of Economic Analysis, Conference Board of Canada, OECD and Statistics Canada

The number of graduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) influences productivity.

The city has a two-part challenge : increasing productivity compared with major Canadian cities and vis-à-vis major American cities. Education is one of the most important investments for the individual, society and businesses. It also leads to social progress, innovation and a more united society.

A higher graduation rate is the best way to improve a society’s standard of living.

Number of STEM graduates per 100 000 inhabitants
(Canada, 2011 and U.S., 2013)

Source : Institut du Québec in cooperation with the Board of Trade and Montréal International

High school, college and university studies are essential to holding a job and increasing revenue.

There is also a direct link between the graduation rate and the employment rate. Furthermore, the placement rate for students with a technical education has substantially increased since the mid-1990s, reaching a peak of 94.3% in 2011.

Increasing the number of graduates is essential for improving integration to the work force and career prospects.

Average pre-tax income according to highest diploma received

Source : Statistics Canada (analysis by KPMG SECOR), 2013

The availability and quality of labour are important factors in attractiveness.

The availability and quality of labour are two main factors for improving the business environment and helping attract talent, investment and businesses. According to a Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal study, close to 62 % of companies that responded indicated that skilled labour was the decisive factor in establishing a presence in the Montréal area.

Improving the availability and quality of labour is an important factor in increasing the city’s attractiveness.

Source : Montréal International study, 2014

Labour must be able to meet the future needs of companies, because the business environment is evolving…



A hyper-connected world

  • 50 billion connections in 2020.
  • Twelve times the mobile data traffic from 2013 to 2018.
  • Infinite sources of data such as megadata, cloud computing, 3D data and the Internet of Things.
  • Growth in e-commerce and increasingly personalized sales (e.g.: Paypal, Amazon, eBay).

Technology changes create new trends :

  • New ways of working : collaboration will change the dynamic in companies and the type of skills sough;
  • Growth in the sharing economy and crowd funding (e.g.: Airbnb, Communauto, Kickstarter, Indiegogo).


An increasingly service-based economy

The tertiarization of the economy affects the majority of developed countries. It will influence skills in high demand.

And an economy that is more integrated than ever with emerging new markets

Number of jobs (thousands)

Source : Conference Board du Canada

A world consuming more energy

This growth in global energy demand and the importance placed on sustainable development will help increase demand for renewable energy and clean technology and will drive the trend of corporate social responsibility.

Energy mix

**Million tons of oil equivalent
Source: International Energy Agency


A more urbanized world

Over 54 % of the world’s population lives in urban settings. This proportion is expected to rise to 66 % by 2050, representing an increase of 2.5 billion people.

This urbanization provides the ideal conditions for more intelligent, sustainable cities.

Change in the demographic landscape

Between 2013 and 2022 in Quebec, labour will be mainly made up of young people and immigrants. Within the Montréal CMA, international immigration will be the main driver of demographic growth until 2031.

To meet labour needs for the coming years, we need to improve the integration of immigrants to the workforce, make it easier for young people to get jobs and retain experienced workers.

Since the labour pool will be mainly young people, we also need to focus on the relationship between initial training and skills for the future.

Source of labour 2013-2022 in Quebec

Source : Emploi-Québec



A knowledge-based city

  • 196 538 University students
  • 118 826 College students
  • 74 920 Professional training

Nine structured, competitive industrial clusters

Officially structured clusters represent more than 440 000 jobs, or more than 25 % of the city’s total jobs. This diversification of the economy, in particular in sectors of excellence, supports Montréal’s economy and promotes its resilience.

The city has other assets that enhance its ability to attract :

Low operating costs :

ranked second among 15 cities studied with the lowest operating costs.

A cosmopolitan city :

25 % of residents are born abroad (120 countries, over 100 languages).

A recognized quality of life and affordable housing.
An advantageous location for the main trading partners and efficient airport infrastructures:

three airports and a port that are among the most used in North America.


At the Strategic Forum on the Jobs of the Future, a number of possible solutions were identified during the discussions. We have grouped them into six main questions for consideration.