Seeing Tomorrow’s Workforce Today

Succession planning is an important part of any business operation. Keeping a business running at capacity can be difficult when faced with the prospects of retirement and regular turnover.  But not everything is doom and gloom, there are always opportunities.

So what is the situation in Halifax?

Well, generally things look pretty tempered for the economy. Employment is growing, there are new opportunities on the horizon, major projects are moving forward; everything looks well weathered. We’re not exactly sprinting at full speed, but we are moving at a decent clip.

The same, however, can’t necessarily be said about the labour market. I’m not talking about a few months from now; I’m talking about long term growth. What will the labour force look like in 10 years? What about in 20? Well, to quote Niels Bohr “prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.”


Toddlers Today are Toilers Tomorrow

Fortunately, we have some indicators. The people being born and entering school now are going to make up the workforce in several years. So how do birth rates look in Halifax?

Birth rates in Halifax have dropped, with a 10.2% increase in population and only 4.7% more annual births from 2000 to 2009. We aren’t providing the natural population growth to keep up with the economy. The province hopes to partially close the gap with its new immigration strategy. The Partnership has also been doing work to attract and retain newcomers through our Immigration Employer Support and Connector programs. In 2010, The Connector program helped 73 immigrants and 13 international students find work in Halifax.

But what do babies have to do with succession planning?


Taking Action: Tapping Potential and Productivity

The answer lies in productivity. With smaller workforce prospects in the future, businesses will need to do more things with fewer people. Improving productivity is going to be essential to keeping revenue high and it comes with added efficiency to boot. This means investing in productivity enhancers like technology and employees’ knowledge and skills. And then making sure you get the most out of those investments.  

The Department of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism’s Productivity Investment Program makes it easier and more affordable for companies to become more productive, innovative and competitive.

Investing in People

  1. Get more out of training by making sure new employees and experienced employees interact – skills and experience will spread through the workplace 
  2. Sharing skills encourages learning and innovation – the person learning a new skill may also think of a new use for it that can improve your business’s productivity and bottom-line

The province’s Workplace Innovation and Productivity Skills Incentive helps companies cover the cost of: 

  • training from a formal training institution or qualified external or internal training provider
  • registration, tuition or course fees
  •  international training
  • management skills development
  • skills development training leading to certification
  • training that supports workplace diversity
  • other skills development and training based on a valid business case

Investing in Productivity Boosters

One way to do more with fewer people and improve productivity and competitiveness is to keep on top of new technologies. The province’s Capital Investment Incentive helps companies cover 20%, up to a maximum of $1 million, of the cost of:

  • technologically-advanced machinery
  • clean technology
  • equipment
  • software and hardware with preference given to exporters in qualified industries.

These are just two programs that are out there to help companies invest in their business and our workforce.  So, like any tough decision, consider your options. Just don’t forget to consider the future.


PaulJ_Headshot Paul Jacob is the Research Coordinator at the Partnership.



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