Skills gap holds back employers

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Hiring prospects look upbeat, but unemployment is still high – can HR professionals strategize around the skills gap?

The most recent Manpower Employment Outlook Survey showed Canadian employers expect the hiring climate to remain upbeat for the second quarter of 2012 with a net employment outlook of 13 per cent. However, unemployment remains at 7.4 per cent and is not expected to change dramatically.

Manpower Canada director of marketing Janis Sugar says the skills gap is to blame – there are not enough highly skills workers to fill all the required fields.

“It really speaks to the continuing skills gap – there are opportunities but there may not already be the right skill set in the work place today,” Sugar says. “It’s really a chance for HR leaders to look at their talent and decide what they are going to do to develop skills and to replace people who are leaving.”

Increased demand in specific fields was driving the figures, with seasonal construction works and demand from the natural resource industry accounting for a significant portion of the rise.

“We’re seeing the largest jump from the first quarter to now in natural resources. There’s demand from the oil, gas and mining industries,” she says. “When we look at regional increases Western Canada has the biggest anticipated increase which jibes with the industry figures.”

Increases in the retail sector were being driven by the introduction of Target to Canada, with some competitors also hiring to meet the challenge.

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