A new poll finds one of the top concerns among U.S. executives that have operations in Canada is finding skilled labour.

Three in five (61 per cent) American executives surveyed reported a lack of skilled workers in Canada as their number-one fear, followed by 21 per cent who were more concerned about supply chain disruptions, according to the poll, which was conducted by Nanos Research on behalf of the American Chamber of Commerce in Canada.

“It’s kind of a one-two punch of concern that these senior executives have when it comes to the Canadian economy,” Nik Nanos, founder and chief data scientist of Nanos Research, said in a broadcast interview Thursday.

“Access to skilled workers is basically on the agenda, not just in Canada, but around the world.”

As the jobs market tightens, many businesses have been struggling to fill open positions, a trend some economists think will continue into this year.

Meanwhile, Federal Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne is set to meet with business leaders at the end of the month to find solutions to the supply chain issues plaguing firms across the country. Champagne agreed to the request under pressure from a coalition of 18 manufacturing and exporter associations.

The survey also showed sentiment on the outlook for the Canadian economy has soured among the American executive respondents.

In December, fewer than half (45 per cent) said they expected the economy to be stronger in the next six months, compared with 65 per cent in April last year.

That’s despite the fact that 58 per cent of respondents reported their sales in Canada had increased, and three-quarters of executives expect their sales to rise in the future.

“These executives of U.S. enterprises in Canada expect revenue to go up, they expect that they want to hire new people to kind of realize the revenue they expect. But at the same time, they’re very concerned about accessing labour,” Nanos said.

“I think this is what’s going to be the pain point in the next six months – not necessarily demand, but being able to fulfill and supply that demand when we think of growing revenues for these enterprises.”

The survey took place online between Nov. 5 and Dec. 13, and consisted of 38 U.S. business leaders that operate in Canada.