Skilled-worker shortage for half of employers

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Employers across the country are complaining about a chronic shortage of skilled workers – in a recent survey, exactly 50 per cent said it was an issue in Canada.

The study, commissioned by CareerBuilder.ca, also found that 29 per cent of employers currently have positions in their organization that stay open for 12 weeks or longer. According to those same employers, 75 per cent said the vacancies have adversely affected their firm.

“Companies nationwide are feeling the effect of a skills gap, from lower morale to higher retention rates to a loss of revenue,” said Ryan Lazar, managing director of CareerBuilder Canada.

Morale, productivity and retention are among the many employee issues negatively impacted by extended openings.

When asked about the effect of lengthy unfilled vacancies, employers offered the following:
  • Work does not get done – 31 per cent
  • Lower morale – 26 per cent
  • Delays in delivery times – 24 per cent
  • Lower quality of work – 23 per cent
  • Less motivated employees – 23 per cent
  • Loss in revenue – 22 per cent
  • Decline in customer service – 20 per cent
  • Higher turnover – 19 per cent
When asked what they think was causing the skills shortage, employers shared the following opinions:
  • Not enough graduates in in-demand fields – 52 per cent
  • Lack of interest in required fields – 48 per cent
  • Employers and candidates have different expectations – 41 per cent
  • Entry-level jobs becoming more complex – 37 per cent
  • Lack of funding in necessary training – 36 per cent
  • Rapid changes in technology – 34 per cent
  • Increased competition for candidates – 33 per cent
Of course Canadian employers aren’t taking the fight lying down – many have taken the issue into their own hands, choosing to train workers on the job.

Forty-six percent of employers revealed they had hired a low-skilled worker and trained them for a higher-skill job within their firms in the last two years. When asked how this practice has affected their firms, employers cited the following benefits:
  • Increased employee motivation – 50 per cent
  • Improved loyalty – 47 per cent
  • Enabled the company to be more competitive – 46 per cent
  • Enabled the company to meet department goals – 41 per cent
“Our findings indicate that taking proactive efforts to train and reskill workers can go a long way in overcoming these challenges,” said Lazar. “While we still have a long way to go, the more we can identify the root of these challenges, the more opportunities we will find to bridge this gap.”

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  • Helena Dyck CHRL on 2015-09-24 10:15:01 AM

    What exactly are the skills that are in demand. There are so many unemployed and desperatly seeking work. What are the careers? What are the skills? It does not have to ambiguous to fill the "apparent skill" shortage. Maybe its the way positions are posted. Maybe it's an avoidance of looking into the resume and seeing the skills and not relying on a computer scan.

  • Ravin on 2015-09-24 8:22:55 PM

    If there's shortage of skilled workers why the companies not providing training to workers. Is it due to cost factors or the employees just not interested. As Ms Helena Dyck mentioned what are the skills that are in demand?

  • Tallia Frost on 2015-09-28 6:23:48 PM

    I'm sorry, what about paying people what they are worth? Are they really in demand if the wages don't reflect it?

  • Steve Z on 2015-09-29 11:56:39 AM

    As a highly experienced professional looking for work I find this issue a little overdone. There are many highly skilled and very experienced people available in this country. The job descriptions and the subsequent programming of the ATS filter out qualified candidates. There are studies done that showed when HR took the resumes of their own skilled employees and ran it through ATS very few and in some cases none of their employees made it through. As far as employers complaining that they have to train lower skilled candidates is a cop out. It has been shown that employees who are trained by their employers are more productive and loyal to the organization.

    Perhaps it is time to fix a very broken system.

  • SBM on 2015-10-05 2:23:16 AM

    I have heard just about enough of the nonsense that there aren't enough skilled workers. What they mean to say is, "there aren't enough skilled workers in Canada who will work for the same wage as the Chinese in China". So, instead of sending the job to China, they bring China over to Canada. The government builds the "newcomer" some "affordable housing" and hires teachers to teach their kids english. Meanwhile, the middle class, already here Canadian, is being destroyed and the local kids are getting the shaft in the classroom because the teachers have to teach the new kids the language of our nation. If the companies can't find workers, close the doors or train a local Canadian and pay them a wage that keeps them above the line of poverty. The government has to stop messing around with the whole supply and demand circle by injecting too much supply to meet the artificial demand.

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