Prepare for the talent apocalypse

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While a third of companies struggle to fill positions, the unemployment rate remains high. Increasing vacancies should mean increasing opportunities for the unemployed, but unfortunately the gap between the skills and experience available and those in demand is not being bridged.

The recent Manpower Talent Shortage Survey showed 35% of employers in Canada are struggling to find the right people and skills for vacancies, the highest result since the start of the recession more than five years ago. More than half (54%) said the shortage would have a medium or high impact on their ability to meet client needs.

Demand is highest for skilled trades, engineering, executive management and sales, according to Manpower VP of operations Byrne Luft. Many people were resistant about entering the sales industry, and changing attitudes about work/life balance were limiting the number of people choosing to aim for executive positions.

“There are more people today, especially from the younger generations, who are saying you’ve got to be crazy to have a job like that,” Luft said.

Many of the other shortage areas are related to a lack of skills and training, which needed to be addressed in the long term by companies, education institutions and the government.

“There needs to be government incentives for the employer to want to train staff and I don’t think the educational institutions are as aligned as they should be with the needs of employers today,” Luft said. “Employers also need to do better working with underemployed. When we look at people with disabilities or the aging workforce, employers need to consider how they can modify the roles they have to accommodate the needs of those groups.”

For example, could the 44-hours a week role be completed by two part-time workers instead of one full time? It’s also worth considering how many of the roles in your company could be done outside the office, such as a work from home or mobile worker arrangement.

See page 2 for Luft's suggestions about how organizations, along with the government and educators, can reduce the skill shortage.


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  • Larry Dahl on 2013-06-20 8:00:09 AM

    "The recent Manpower Talent Shortage Survey showed 35% of employers in Canada are struggling to find the right people and skills for vacancies.... More than half (54%) said the shortage would have a medium or high impact on their ability to meet client needs.... 'There needs to be government incentives for the employer to want to train staff...'."

    You're kidding, of course! Loss of business due to the skills shortage isn't enough incentive for management to want to train staff?

  • J.R.T. on 2013-06-20 8:05:27 AM

    The problem is that in these industries you train staff and they leave, taking your training investment with them. A bonded government program, e.g. where you invest a year in training and guarantee three years work or get reimbursed for the training cost, would reduce the risk for me. As a small business owner I've stopped hiring at junior/apprentice level. I'd rather pay the wages and get someone who already knows what they're doing.

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