More than 40 percent of Canadian employers find it difficult to fill jobs, specifically for skilled trade labourers (electricians, welders, mechanics), sales representatives, and drivers, according to a new survey by the ManpowerGroup, a workforce solutions company. Engineers and technicians round out the top five hardest roles to fill.
While unemployment is the lowest its been in 40 years and the labour market is tightening, demand is outgrowing supply for mid-skilled positions that necessitate post-secondary training but not necessarily a full university degree.
According to the 2018 Talent Shortage Survey, which surveyed nearly 2,000 employers, 68 percent of companies are using learning platforms and development tools to increase the talent in their pools. Twenty-eight percent are altering their work models by offering perks such as flex time to attract and keep employees. Fifty-six percent of companies have widened their search criteria to include retirees, returning parents, and part-time workers.
The problems employers are encountering is a lack of applicants, lack of experience, and trying to find candidates with the right skills, whether it be cognitive, social, emotional or all of the above.
“We continue to see increasing demand for skilled workers across all sectors of the Canadian economy from trades and transport to sales,” explained Darlene Minitel, Country Manager ManpowerGroup Canada. “Today’s job seekers don’t always have the skills employers need. To solve our growing skills gap, we need to take a new approach. Employers need to buy skills in the short term, cultivate communities of talent by borrowing from external sources and help people with adjacent skills transition from one role to another. Above all, we need to build talent through upskilling and reskilling programs to develop a workforce with the skills companies and individuals need to succeed.”
The talent shortage is higher than it’s been in over a decade. To tackle this problem, ManpowerGroup recommends the 4 Bs: build, buy, borrow, and bridge.
First, invest in learning and development. This will produce more talent and “upskill the existing and potential workforce. Second, if in-house talent cannot fill immediate openings, look to the external labour market. Third, utilize part-time, freelance, contract, and temporary workers both inside and outside the company. Fourth, aid employees in shifting to new roles inside or outside the organization.
“A new talent landscape is emerging to meet the demands of the Skills Revolution,” according to the report. “Faced with a high-change environment driven by technology, companies must create a culture of learning and put people first by developing a workforce strategy that builds, buys, borrows and bridges. This is how we will solve talent shortages and enable individuals and organizations to reach their goal and realize their potential in the digital age.”