Talent Shortages and Upskilling Affecting Retail in Canada


Share post:

The retail industry is facing enormous talent shortages as the skillsets required to keep pace with the new technologies continue to expand.  In 2022, there were two open jobs for every unemployed person, forcing companies to find new approaches to access qualified talent.  Evolving employee expectations around flexible work models are also adding further complexity to the agility organizations need to master.    

Retail Council of Canada (RCC) is hosting its annual Retail Human Resources Conference, the largest gathering of retail professionals who will discuss today’s most pressing HR issues on April 20, 2023 at the International Centre in Toronto. This one-day conference brings together retailers, solution providers, and industry experts to explore solutions that will help both retain and attract an engaged and skilled workforce across the range of roles needed to ensure the continued vibrancy of retail in Canada. 

“The pandemic has forever changed both consumers’ expectations of retailers, and how retail teams work so they can continue to delight shoppers.  RCC, together with our HR member networking groups, has been analyzing the corresponding HR trends and opportunities so that we can collectively consider creative solutions to the current talent concerns,” shares Diane J. Brisebois, President and CEO, Retail Council of Canada. “Everyone is excited for this year’s conference, which will be the first time in three years this dynamic group of HR professionals will be able to meet, face-to-face. There really is nothing like our in-person Retail Human Resources Conference to learn, reconnect with friends, get re-energized, and find fresh ideas for tackling retail HR challenges.”

The main stage program will include sessions that explore the employee experience, the power of belonging, change leadership, boosting retention and minimizing turnover, as well as talent attraction.

This year’s speakers include:

  • Tanja Fratangeli, Chief People Officer, IKEA Canada
  • Tiffani Bova, Global Growth Evangelist, Salesforce
  • Martine Lamoureaux, Head of Talent and Culture, Ardene
  • Alex Snelling, Chief People Office, McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada
  • Marie-Laurence Godon, Manager of Culture & Engagement, Ardene
  • Stephen Friedman, Adjunct Professor of Organization Studies, Schulich School of Business at York University
  •  Fil D’Urbano, Chief Leadership and Mindfulness Officer, Ardene

In addition to the main stage program, focused breakout sessions will allow attendees to  mingle with colleagues, experts, and exhibitors so that, at the end of the day, everyone can come away from the conference with tangible strategies they will use within their organizations to develop new competencies and navigate the sweeping changes in retail workplaces.

Early bird discounted rates are in effect until March 20, 2023.  Retail organizations are invited to register their teams to receive a 20% discount on groups of 5 or more.

For information on exhibiting, sponsorship or registration please contact Retail Council of Canada at events@retailcouncil.org.

*Partner content. To work with Retail Insider, email: craig@retail-insider.com


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

More From The Author



Subscribe to the Newsletter


* indicates required

Related articles

Innovative Direct-to-Consumer Furniture Startup CouchHaus Opens 1st Physical Retail Space in Vancouver [Interview]

The husband-wife team's modular furniture became so popular online that they are opening their own physical store, allowing customers to see the product-in person.

Canadians Look to Make Major Purchases in 2024 Despite Economic Uncertainty: Survey

Economic uncertainty isn't stopping Canadians from planning major purchases in 2024 according to a study, potentially giving retail a boost depending on the demographic.

Canada’s Agri-Food Sector Lacks Vision as Consumers Struggle with Grocery Prices [Op-Ed]

Canada's lack of cohesive vision and strategy for its agri-food sector, despite significant budget allocations, is stark contrast to the decisive approach evident in U.S. agricultural policy says Sylvain Charlebois.

Flexible Work Company ‘LAUFT’ Discusses Expansion Plans and New Government Collaboration [Interview]

Founder Graham Wong discusses the Canadian company's plans for new locations, enhanced spaces for events and content creation, and a future in places such as airports and hotels.

Ice Bath Spa Concept ‘Othership’ Opens 2nd Toronto Location with Expansion Plans for Major Markets in Canada and NYC [Interview]

The company's co-founder discusses the concept that began in his back yard in 2019, which is now a big business with a new Yorkville location and plans for Manhattan and other urban centres.

Anatomy of a Leader: Peter Mammas, President and CEO, Foodtastic

The man behind the food empire got started in Montreal where he wanted to be a pilot, then an architect. He eventually worked his way up in the world of foodservice, where he found his passion.

Nostalgia vs Reality: Exclusive Poll Shows Canadians Warm to Zellers’ Return but Hesitate to Shop One Year After Relaunch

Zellers relaunched a year ago as shop-in-stores at Hudson's Bay, and a poll done for Retail Insider shows that Canadians' think the current offerings fall short.

Cracking the Newcomer Code: Study Urges Canadian Retailers to Adapt for Inclusivity as Immigrants Reshape Retail Trends [Feature]

Making newcomers feel at home could mean increased sales for retailers. Ian Large of Leger says retailers should collaborate with communities as Canada's population changes.

Italian-Themed QSR Chain Fazoli’s Announces Major Expansion into Canada with 25 Locations Planned [Interview]

The chain could open even more locations according to its development officer, who discusses Fazoli's success being rooted in quality ingredients and speedy service.

Toronto-Based Fashion Designer Adam X Discusses Inspiration, Retail and Designing for the Future [Video Interview]

Craig and Adam X discuss the the founding and ethos of Adam X Atelier, a Toronto-based haute couture fashion brand which is rare to find in Canada.

Swatch Opens Flagship Store in Downtown Vancouver as it Expands Across Canada [Photos]

It's the 12th store in Canada for the popular Swiss watch brand, which almost doubled its store count in this country in less than a year.

Economic Strains Dampen Montréal’s Retail Growth, But Luxury and Transit Projects Could Spark Revival: JLL Report

Montreal retail has struggled recently and leasing activity has been particularly slow downtown, while a new luxury mall and a growing transit network could help things this year.