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Employers confirm skills shortage

Tuesday October 13, 2015 Written by  Retain Canada
Many employers are struggling to fill in-demand positions, unable to find candidates with the skills they need.

In fact, half of all employers surveyed feel there is a shortage of skilled workers in Canada, according to a new survey from The survey also found that three in 10 employers (29 per cent) currently have positions in their organization that, on average, stay open for 12 weeks or longer. Of those with extended job vacancies, 75 per cent say 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. “Our findings indicate, however, that taking proactive efforts to train and re-skill workers can go a long way in overcoming these challenges. 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.”

Morale, productivity and retention are among the victims of extended vacancies, according to employers. When asked how extended job vacancies have adversely affected their firms, employers cited the following results:

  • Work does not get done (31 per cent)
  • Lower morale due to employees shouldering heavier workloads (26 per cent)
  • Delays in delivery times (24 per cent)
  • Lower quality of work due to employees being overworked (23 per cent)
  • Employees are less motivated (23 per cent)
  • Loss in revenue (22 per cent)
  • Declines in customer service (20 per cent)
  • Higher turnover because employees are overworked (19 per cent)
  • Employees making more mistakes, resulting in lower quality of work (14 per cent)

When asked what they think is causing the skills shortage, employers offered the following opinions:

  • Not enough graduating 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 are 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)

In an effort to overcome these challenges, many employers are taking matters into their own hands and training workers on the job. Forty-six per cent of employers say they have hired a low-skilled worker and trained him or her 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 employee loyalty (47 per cent)
  • It enabled us to be more competitive (46 per cent)
  • It enabled us to meet department goals (41 per cent)

For some employers, automation may be the answer to their staffing challenges. Three in ten (28 per cent) foresee certain jobs at their organizations being replaced by technology in the next decade. When asked which areas they see being replaced by technology, employers identified customer service (42 per cent), IT (34 per cent), shipping/distribution (32 per cent), accounting/finance (27 per cent) and sales (12 per cent).

The survey was conducted among 500 employees and 400 hiring managers across Canada. The interviews were conducted online by Redshift Research in June and July using an email invitation and an online survey. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. In this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 4.4 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.


+2 #1 David Green 2015-10-21 19:26
This is a very interesting article, but does not spell out what the skills are that are missing and what sector and types of people are needed. It also does not comment on what these companies are doing to work with colleges and labour training organizations to address the issue. Good overall summary of the problem, but short on the full context and story.

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