Labour Shortage in Canada

The labour and talent shortage in Canada has been a concern and preoccupation since the 2000s. It’s having a staggering impact affecting business decision-makers from coast-to-coast. It’s not just happening in cities and large suburban industrial areas, it’s pretty much everywhere there are businesses experiencing growth – big or small.

Analysts and industry ‘experts’ have cited various ‘root’ causes of these long emerging gaps such as:

  • The decline in post-secondary graduates without a diploma.
  • Workforce exodus of baby-boom generation over the last 10+ years.
  • Millennials and Gen Z are pursuing public service-sector jobs like teachers, police, firefighters and municipal level positions; with a desire for long-tenured career stability, pension and generous benefits coverage.
  • Skills-related certification or diploma courses have been disproportionately over-looked in favour of University enrollment over the last 20 years – causing an even larger gap as retiring baby boomers left the skilled trades without the apprentice workforce filling in the retiring skilled trades.
  • Lack of Canadian experience precludes ‘entry-level’ unskilled Candidates for employer consideration.

Applying ingenuity on the part of creative, determined, visionary employers, maybe one of the few ‘workarounds’ to source available workers who are easily trained and groomed for many of these positions. When you consider the cost-benefit analysis of this approach as opposed to alternative methods of attempting to source (perceived) qualified workers with Canadian experience for basic general labour positions it’s pretty much a no-brainer.

These skills involve simple, low physicality risks such as hand dexterity for assembly of finite or fragile items, basic hand tools, picking and packaging orders, using RF scanners to record inventory movement and put-away, etc. It’s a hands-down win/win when you get workers with a great attitude and motivation to secure and commit to a paying job when you give them a chance to prove themselves. More-often-than-not, these are the team members of the future in small to medium-sized companies who are willing to give them a shot, with the right ‘soft-skill’ indicators.

It makes perfect sense that there is and has always been some form of fear that the employer experiences throughout the hiring process. Within less than 1 hour, you must ascertain that the hard and soft skills of the workers will be suitable or not to meet your company’s criteria and workplace culture. In today’s fast-paced world, we aren’t always able to take the time to ‘vet’ workers properly. However, this is a clear-cut scenario applying the age-old theory of, the time you put in on the front-end, saves infinite amounts of time and pain on the back-end.

Another important factor to remember is that when you run a business and have employees, your responsibility to train, mentor, coach and continuously develop your teams pays off in a myriad of ways. To quote a BDC report published on the Canadian labour shortage it is “Here to Stay” but ONLY if you let it! We all have the power to change anything, limited only by our creativity and passion for business.

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