The unemployment rate across Canada fell to a new low of 5.1 percent in May – the lowest since at least 1976 – but some companies are struggling to fill vacancies. One of the main reasons for this, according to one expert, is that people are “pickier” when it comes to job applications due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the work environment.
“It’s very hard to argue that you have to physically come to work five days a week,” said Sarah McVanel, chief recognition officer and founder of Greatness Magnified, a company that helps organizations retain top talent and fight burnout .
McVanel says COVID-19 has presented Canadians with a different reality that has changed the way people think about work.
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Job vacancies hit just over a million in early April, up more than 40 percent from a year earlier, according to a report released by Statistics Canada on May 24, as a tight labor market pushes wages higher and stokes inflation concerns .
The agency said on its website that employers in Canada are actively trying to fill 1,001,100 vacancies, up 23,300 from March this year and an increase of 308,000 from April 2021.
Job openings in the health and social services sector hit a record high at 136,800, up five percent from three months ago and 90.9 percent from the first quarter of 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the economy. according to a Statistics Canada report released on May 21.
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The report went on to say that compared to the first quarter of 2020, in addition to registered nurses and licensed practical nurses, 67.7 percent of the total healthcare sector vacancies were nursing assistant jobs.
Employers in the construction industry also found it difficult to fill positions in the first quarter, as 81,500 positions remained unfilled, a 7.1 percent increase from the fourth quarter of 2021 and more than double the first quarter of 2020.
Compared to the first quarter of 2020, job vacancies for helpers and laborers increased by 97 percent and vacancies for carpenters increased by 149.1 percent.
Job vacancies also continued to hit record highs in manufacturing and retail, rising 5.3 percent and 12.8 percent, respectively, compared to the fourth quarter of 2021.
McVanel said people are making big career decisions these days. Many change industries, not just employers.
“As people in other industries look outside, they see how it’s possible to live a different lifestyle that they realize they can make the same amount of money, maybe without having to work in a physically uncomfortable environment,” She said.
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According to McVanel
, Statistical data does not always illuminate the real problem.
“Some companies struggle to keep up, let alone attract people, because of their policies and work culture,” McVanel said.
“People can read (about companies) on Glassdoor. That means people don’t apply at all. So this well is drying up.”
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She says good qualitative data is needed to rank workplaces based on the respect and recognition they have for their employees.
“If you don’t treat employees like people, not just numbers, and invest in their careers, then there’s a very good chance that whatever industry you’re in, you probably won’t be able to fill your position and you’ll attract people,” McVanel said .
A University of Ottawa economics professor, David Gray, says there are currently several barriers between Canadians looking for jobs and employers looking to fill vacancies, and a reluctance to provide workers with proper training is one from that.
“There are a lot of jobs that beg … but there is friction or obstacles when it comes to hiring and training employees,” Gray said.
Gray says there are jobs that “usually require their workers to be fully trained and ready for action.” But they are “often reluctant to invest in their education for fear their employees will be poached by a competing company.”
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Gray explains that there are some jobs that require seven years or more experience, but not all companies offer the necessary training and often look for employees who already have it.
“There are jobs that you can do almost instantly, but most jobs require at least some training,” he said. “You have to invest (in people) to reduce employee turnover.”
The staffing problem “can also be mitigated by higher wages,” Gray said.
Another obstacle Gray points out is commuting.
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“The jobs available are not necessarily geographically close to the location of jobseekers among the unemployed,” he said.
For some companies, hiring is also a barrier due to a lack of affordable rental housing for workers. One such company that is struggling 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’s not enough rental material for people to choose from,” Heather said.
He also said his latest kitchen rental couldn’t find a place in the city and commutes by car – another hurdle when petrol prices are skyrocketing and regional public transport lags behind.
Rentals.ca, a Canadian home-finding site, said the average rent for all Canadian homes listed on its site rose 10.5 percent year-on-year to $1,888 per month in May. According to the Canadian Real Estate Association, the median national home price topped $700,000 last month, up 41 percent from two years earlier, when mortgages skyrocketed from Vancouver Island to Atlantic Canada.
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— With files from The Canadian Press
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https://globalnews.ca/news/8945262/job-vacancies-canada-inflation/ Unemployment in Canada has fallen, yet some companies are struggling to hire new employees. Here’s why – National