The post-pandemic industries to watch in Ottawa

Advanced manufacturing
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Editor's Note

The Welch LLP Ottawa Business Growth Survey is a comprehensive annual research project that explores what’s ahead for the city’s economy based on surveys with hundreds of business leaders. Read their insights and understand the factors shaping business confidence in Ottawa, in this exclusive report.

Just as COVID-19’s impact was felt differently in various industries, the economic recovery is likely to be unevenly experienced across business sectors.

Already riding a wave of growth prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, a significant portion of Ottawa’s tech firms have maintained momentum through the pandemic – a signal for many that tech will likely be among the city’s fastest-growing industries in the coming years.

With several other sectors expected to continue to face short-term challenges, the tech sector’s relative strength may even help it address its long-standing labour shortage by attracting students to the industry, suggests Jim McConnery, partner at Welch LLP, which is good news for the city and the recovering economy.

“People will go where the jobs are,” he says. “As (some) industries continue to do well, and maybe some others are struggling, we’ll see a shift in career paths.” 

Similarly, there will likely be an uptick in the manufacturing and logistics sectors, says Andrew Arnott, regional vice-president of business financial services at RBC.

Many companies in these industries found creative ways of adapting to the business realities brought on by the pandemic and are poised for future growth, he adds.

“We have a very positive outlook on food processors, manufacturers, wholesalers and anybody that’s aligned with the distribution of food and beverages,” says Arnott. “We expect all of those manufacturers and, broadly speaking, tech companies to be at minimum 80 per cent back to normal within the next six months.”

Respondents to the Welch LLP Ottawa Business Growth Survey say they expect tech companies – which, generally speaking, have more flexibility to operate remotely – to see the most growth. Relatively few expect a rapid rebound in hard-hit industries such as hospitality and retail.

OBGS chart

Read the full 2020 Welch LLP Ottawa Business Growth Survey report by clicking on the cover below:

OBGS 2020 cover