It’s becoming increasingly difficult for unemployed Canadians to find work.

According to a survey by Express Employment Professionals, Canadians’ average duration of unemployment rose to 19 months – the highest level posted by the survey in five years. By comparison, in 2014 the average length of unemployment was 13 months.

Meanwhile, more unemployed Canadians said they’re giving up on their job search. Thirty-eight per cent of respondents said they have “completely given up on looking for a job,” compared with 32 per cent in 2017, the survey said.

The struggle comes despite Canada’s unemployment rate holding steady at a record-low of 5.8 per cent in April for a third-straight month.

The survey shows a growing disconnect in Canada’s labour market, said Express CEO Bill Stoller, in a release.

“The number of ‘Help Wanted’ ads continues to rise, yet the jobless are giving up and staying unemployed longer,” Stoller said.

“Rather than decreasing, barriers to re-enter the labour force appear to be increasing.”

Those barriers include a perception of ageism, seasonal work, stigma against some workers’ inexperience, child care and elder care challenges, according to some reasons cited by survey respondents.

Jessica Culo, franchise owner with Express Employment Professionals, told BNN Bloomberg’s Amanda Lang in an interview that the increased use of online applications in the hiring process poses another hurdle for job seekers.  

“People are saying, gone are the days where you can walk into a firm, or an employer, and hand over your resume, build a relationship with the person that’s actually doing the hiring, and go from there,” Culo said.

“A lot of times what happens as a job seeker, you might get missed, because your resume might not have the right keywords … Employers are relying on these tools for the number of applications they receive, but it’s definitely a barrier.”

In addition, 58 per cent of unemployed Canadians said they feel Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government is moving in the wrong direction. Only 22 per cent of respondents said the federal government had a positive impact on creating jobs, down from 34 per cent in 2017.

Similarly, 20 per cent unemployed Canadians said they felt their respective provincial government had a positive impact on creating jobs.

The survey of 1,510 unemployed Canadians above the age of 18 was conducted by The Harris Poll between March 28 and April 10, on behalf of Express.