May 27th, 2021
Our workforce is undergoing significant changes, including a large shift in the skills our businesses are looking for.
Peterborough’s Workforce Development Board has been diligently monitoring these changes and engaging businesses to help them meet their needs. Recently, they partnered with workforce planning boards across
Eastern Ontario to conduct this year’s EmployerOne Survey. Highlights from the survey include:
Direct Impact of the Pandemic
This pandemic has had a substantial negative impact on 40% of businesses surveyed, with only 6% of businesses reporting a significant positive impact. We can also see that businesses took advantage of assistance offered to them, including 39% using the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. It has shifted how people work, with 52% of local businesses having at least one employee working remotely.
Turnover & Recruitment
Turnover is a concern for many employers. The main reason for employees leaving is quitting, with sales and service occupations struggling the most.
Compounding issues with high turnover are struggles with recruitment, including a general lack of applicants. Recruitment woes point to a few things, including a tight labour market where the most qualified workers are already employed. Other factors include not enough promotion for vacancies and concerns that the workplace may not have sufficient employee protection protocols for working during the pandemic.
While online job boards, social media, and company websites are used extensively, word of mouth is the most popular form of recruitment.
Specific positions and sectors are facing the most
challenges in recruitment. Currently, the most difficult positions to fill are:
• Home support workers, housekeepers and related occupations
• Construction trades
• Sales and account
representatives for wholesale trade
Why are some positions so difficult to fill? Of the local businesses surveyed, 70% cited lack of applicants and 53% pointed to lack of work experience from the
applicants they did get.
What are employers looking for?
When it comes to new hires, employers are looking for computer skills (including working remotely) topped by soft skills like the ability to work independently, time management, problem
solving, teamwork and
And businesses are looking to hire, with 54% anticipating they will hire in 2021. The main reasons for hiring are:
• Increase in sales
• Change in work processes
• Reorganization of
• Change in products or services
• Acquisition of new
• Adoption of new
While ridding the world of COVID-19 and moving out of our current social and
business restrictions will go a long way toward building a thriving business community, that’s not happening right away nor will it happen
quickly. It’s clear that
re-skilling and re-training are key to moving ahead. Various organizations, educational institutions, governments, and businesses are all working on new programs to train our workforce for the future. But it also hinges on our willingness to adapt. The jobs lost due to the pandemic aren’t the same ones that are popping up on job boards.
The success of our economic recovery hinges on
investments in our workforce to adapt to the changing needs of local employers.
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