Unemployment in Canada is down, but some businesses are having a hard time hiring. Here’s why – National | Globalnews.ca

Canada’s jobless rate fell to a new low of 5.1 percent in May, the lowest since at least 1976, yet some businesses are struggling to fill job vacancies. One of the main reasons, according to one expert, is that people are more “picky” when it comes to applying for jobs due to the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the work environment.

“It’s very hard to argue that you need to physically come to work five days a week,” said Sarah McVanel, director of recognition and founder of Greatness Magnified, a company that helps organizations retain top talent and combat burnout.

McVanel says that COVID-19 presented Canadians with a different reality that changed the way people think about work.

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According to a report published by Canada Statistics On May 24, the number of job openings at the beginning of April reached just over a million, an increase of more than 40 percent compared to last year amid a tight labor market that pushed up wages and stoked job losses. inflation concerns.

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The agency said on its website that employers in Canada were actively seeking to fill 1,001,100 open positions, 23,300 more than in March this year and 308,000 more than in April 2021.

Vacancies in the health care and social assistance sectors hit a record 136,800, up five percent from the peak three months earlier and up 90.9 percent from the first quarter of 2020, before the pandemic hit. of COVID-19 will hit the economy. according to a report by Statistics Canada, which was published on May 21.

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The report went on to state that nursing assistant positions, in addition to registered nurses and licensed practical nurses, accounted for 67.7 percent of overall vacancies in the health sector compared to the first quarter of 2020.

Employers in the construction industry also found it difficult to fill jobs in the first quarter, with 81,500 open positions, 7.1% more than in the fourth quarter of 2021, and more than double the amount observed in the first quarter of 2020.

Job openings for helpers and laborers are up 97% and carpenter job openings are up 149.1% compared to the first quarter of 2020.

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Job vacancies also continued to hit record highs in the manufacturing and retail sectors, rising 5.3% and 12.8%, respectively, compared to the fourth quarter of 2021.

Employment in the goods-producing sector falls in May, change in employment (%) compared to May 2021 (StatCan).

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McVanel said that people are making big career decisions right now. Many are changing industries, not just employers.

“As people look at other industries, they see how there is the ability to have a different lifestyle, so they find that they can earn the same amount of money, perhaps without having to work in a physically uncomfortable environment. ,” she said.

According to Mac Vanel, statistical data does not always shed light on the real problem.

“Some companies are struggling to keep up, let alone attract people because of their policies, because of their work culture,” McVanel said.

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“People can read on Glassdoor (about companies). That means people don’t even apply. So this well is running dry.”

The upward trend in employment continues in May (StatCan).

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She says good qualitative data is needed to assess workplaces based on the amount of respect and appreciation they have for their employees.

“If you’re not treating employees like human beings, not just a number, and investing in their careers, then more than likely, no matter what industry you’re in, it’s less likely you’ll be able to fill their role. and draw people in,” McVanel said.

An economics professor at the University of Ottawa, David Gray, says there are several obstacles between Canadian job seekers and employers looking to fill vacancies right now, and one of them is an unwillingness to provide the right training. to the employees.

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“There are a lot of begging jobs … but there are frictions or obstacles when it comes to hiring and training employees,” Gray said.

Gray says there are jobs that “typically want their workers to be fully trained and ready to work.” However, “they are often reluctant to invest in their training for fear that their employees will be stolen by some competing company.”

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Gray explains that there are some jobs that require seven years or more of experience, but not all companies offer the necessary training for that, and they often look for workers who already have it.

“There are jobs you can do pretty much right away, but most jobs require at least some training,” he said. “You have to invest (in employees) to reduce worker turnover.”

The problem of filling positions “can also be alleviated by offering higher salaries,” Gray said.

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Another obstacle Gray points out is commuting.

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“The jobs that are available are not necessarily geographically close to where job seekers are among unemployed workers,” he said.

For some companies, hiring is also a hurdle due to a dearth of affordable places for workers to rent. One such struggling business is Fish & Sips in Collingwood, Ontario.

Owner Paul Heather said in an interview with The Canadian Press on Saturday that “it’s affordability, but also availability” that’s causing the problem.

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“There isn’t enough rental stock for people to choose from,” Heather said.

She also said her last rented kitchen couldn’t find a place in the city and she commutes by car, another hurdle when gas prices are through the roof and regional public transportation is delayed.

Rentals.ca, a Canadian website for apartment rental searches, said the average rent for all Canadian properties listed on its site increased 10.5 percent year over year to $1,888 per month in May. The national median home price topped $700,000 last month, up 41 percent from two years earlier, as mortgages soared from Vancouver Island to Atlantic Canada, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association.

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— With archives from The Canadian Press

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