I attended a workforce forum last week, which was focussed on the the difficult challenges employers face in finding employees to fill current positions. Employers are having to spend an increasing amount of time on recruitment and retention efforts, and are finding it necessary to expand their focus to access groups of people they have not had experience recruiting including immigrants, indigenous populations, people with diverse abilities, and the semi-retired.

The first challenge employers face is in figuring out where and how to access these largely untapped and diverse groups of potential employees. Gone are the days when you post a classified ad and are overwhelmed with resumes from a host of qualified applicants. The second challenge is in successfully and sensitively navigating the recruiting process. Employers may find themselves dealing with language and cultural barriers as well as workplace accommodation issues. It seems the key to making this all work is time, patience, and flexibility.  

Seemingly at odds with the difficulty employers are facing recruiting, at the federal level, as mentioned by Saanich – Gulf Islands MP, Elizabeth May, who attended the same forum, is the focus of bureaucrats and politicians on job creation. This policy approach is more than a little mind-boggling considering almost every business I know is looking for employees. It isn’t merely an irritant that companies have jobs open for extended periods of time; for some smaller businesses, a lack of employees has resulted in shortened hours and work weeks. It is very difficult to generate revenue when your doors are closed.

There seems to be a slight recognition of the shift in the balance of power from job creators to job seekers as evidenced by the criteria for the 2019 Canada Summer Jobs program. They have relaxed their previous requirement that applicants be students. We are able to hire any qualified candidates between the ages of 15 and 30. It’s a small step, but employers will take whatever help is offered.

Our thanks to John Juricic and Harbour Digital Media for shining the light on these important labour market issues. This Chamber will continue to support employers’ recruiting and retaining efforts by sharing information about programs and people and resources. Stay connected and sign up to receive our weekly e-Blast.

Denny Warner,

Executive Director





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