59% of Companies Having Difficulties Finding Employees

Business Owners are trying hard to make it work
Business Owners are trying hard to make it work

Thunder Bay – Business – Across the city are help wanted signs. Many companies are looking for employees. There is a major shortage across the region of school bus drivers, a shortage so severe that bus routes are being cancelled, or suspended.

The situation locally is no different than it is across the country.

Close to two-thirds of Canadian companies (59%) say it is difficult to recruit and fill positions—with senior-level roles being the most challenging to fill, according to a new survey from The Harris Poll, commissioned by Express Employment Professionals.

Among businesses planning to hire this year, a large majority say it will be difficult to recruit and fill C-suite executive (75%) and senior-level (73%) positions. A majority also say they will have trouble filling mid-level positions (55%).

A smaller proportion say they will have difficulty filling entry-level (33%) and individual contributor (46%) positions.

“There are no levels which are easy to fill right now, and employers continue to seek skilled, qualified, quality candidates for every level,” said Brent Pollington, Express franchise owner in Vancouver, British Columbia. “We have seen the most turnover in entry-level labour positions and have had more success filling positions in the skilled trades, office services and accounting/finance positions.”

Sarah Vitelli, an Express franchise owner in Richmond Hill, Ontario, says small- and medium-sized businesses are having the hardest time finding workers, especially for entry-level positions.

“Finding top talent has become hard for every company, but small- and medium-sized businesses are often not able to compete with large increases in wages and benefits,” Vitelli said. “Some small businesses have had to close their doors because they cannot find enough qualified staff to fill orders.”

Difficulty finding qualified workers has resulted in some companies hiring people with a lower skill level than a job requires, but Pollington says that often doesn’t work out.

“Raising wages and improving benefits can result in more job seekers applying who don’t meet the skill level, and some employers have hired lower-skilled workers out of desperation,” Pollington said. “However, some employers in our area who have done this have seen service errors and lost customers, increases in damages, and lower sales. As a result, they’ve had to reassess the minimum requirements for new employees.”

Even when the pandemic subsides, Vitelli expects that, while more people will be looking for work, labour shortages at all skill levels will remain a problem for the foreseeable future.

Companies are having trouble hiring at all skills levels, so they need to make a concerted effort to understand what attracts qualified talent, Express CEO Bill Stoller said.

“The problem of companies being unable to recruit and retain skilled employees is not going away anytime soon,” he added. “Even with higher pay, better benefits, and more flexibility, many companies are losing out, so they have to look at additional factors like company culture, that will help them become the employer of choice.”

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