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 job openings. One of the main reasons for this, according to one expert, is that people are “pickier” when it comes to applying for jobs because of the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the work environment.
“It’s really hard to make the argument 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 avoid burnout. to fight.
McVanel says COVID-19 presented Canadians with a different reality that changed the way people think about work.
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According to a report released by Statistics Canada on May 24, the number of job openings reached just over a million in early April, up more than 40 percent from last year, amid a tight labor market that is pushing wages and inflation worries. stirs up. †
The agency said on its website that employers in Canada were actively looking to fill 1,001,100 job openings, an increase of 23,300 from March this year and a gain of 308,000 compared to April 2021.
The number of job openings in the health and social assistance sectors reached an all-time high of 136,800, up five percent from a three-month peak and up 90.9 percent from the first quarter of 2020, before the COVID-19 outbreak. -19 pandemic ravaged the economy, according to a Statistics Canada report released on May 21.
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The report further noted that nursing assistant positions, in addition to registered nurses and licensed practice nurses, accounted for 67.7 percent of total health sector job openings as compared to the first quarter of 2020.
Construction employers also found it challenging to fill vacancies in the first quarter as 81,500 job openings were vacant, up 7.1 percent from the fourth quarter of 2021, and more than double the number seen in the first quarter of 2020.
Job vacancies for helpers and laborers increased by 97 percent and carpentry vacancies increased by 149.1 percent compared to the first quarter of 2020.
Also in manufacturing and retail, job openings continued to hit record highs, at 5.3 percent and 12.8 percent, respectively, compared to the fourth quarter of 2021.
McVanel said people are making huge career choices right now. Many change industries, not just employers.
“As people look at other industries, they see how there is an opportunity to have a different lifestyle, so they discover that they can earn the same amount of money, perhaps without having to work in an environment that is physically uncomfortable. ,” she said.
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According to McVanel
† statistics do not always shed light on the real problem.
“Some companies struggle to keep up, let alone attract people because of their policies, because of their work culture,” McVanel said.
“People can read on Glassdoor (about companies). That means people don’t even apply. So this well is drying up.”
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She says good quality data is needed to rate workplaces based on the respect and recognition they have for their employees.
“If you don’t treat employees like people, not just a number, and invest in their careers, you’re less likely to be able to do your job no matter what industry you’re in. and attract people,” said McVanel.
An economics professor at the University of Ottawa, David Gray, says there are currently several barriers between Canadians looking for jobs and employers looking to fill vacancies, and the reluctance to educate employees is one of them.
“There are a lot of jobs that beg…but there are frictions or hurdles when it comes to hiring and training workers,” Gray says.
Gray says there are jobs that “usually want their employees to be fully trained and ready to go.” But are “often reluctant to invest in their education for fear that their employees will be hijacked by a competing company.”
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Gray explains that there are jobs that require seven years or more of experience, but not all companies provide the necessary training and often look for employees who already have it.
“There are jobs you can do practically right away, but most jobs require at least some training,” he said. “You have to invest (in employees) to reduce employee turnover.”
The problem of filling roles “can also be alleviated by offering higher wages,” Gray said.
Another obstacle Gray points out is the commute.
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“The jobs that are available are not necessarily geographically close to the location of the job seekers among the unemployed workers,” he said.
For some companies, hiring is also an obstacle due to a shortage of affordable rental housing. 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 is causing the problem.
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“There’s not enough rental inventory for people to choose from,” Heather said.
He also said his latest kitchen rental couldn’t find a spot in the city and commutes by car — another hurdle when gas prices rise and regional public transport lags.
Rentals.ca, a Canadian apartment search website, said the average rent for all Canadian properties listed on the site rose 10.5% year over year to $1,888 a month in May. According to the Canadian Real Estate Association, the average national home price last month was $700,000, up 41 percent from two years earlier when Vancouver Island mortgages rocketed to Atlantic Canada.
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— With files from The Canadian Press
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