Skilled labour shortages are still a prevailing issue for B.C and are expected to worsen in Q.2 2019 and beyond as a result of the retirement of the baby boomer generation, coupled with the market not matching the expected skills and needs of its employers.  According to the CPA B.C. Business Outlook Survey, 85% of respondents indicated that the ability to attract and retain top talent was a key deterrent to business success.

Reduction of Business Productivity

When employers are not able to recruit skilled talent, it lowers business productivity and places a higher dependence on existing staff to carry out duties beyond their job scope, which can potentially have a negative effect on business revenue and staff retention.

This is why it is imperative that the province, employers, recruitment agencies and post-secondary institutions work together to build sustainable long-term strategies that meet the needs of our current and future economy.

Work-integrated learning

To overcome the skills shortages implications, B.C’s workforce needs to be adaptable and have the skills that employers require both in the short and long term.  In addition, the  government has been asked to make work-integrated learning, such as co-op, a mandatory element of post-secondary education. This innovative approach would help to develop practical soft skills at an earlier stage.

Increasing our efforts in helping candidates to develop such skills, we have launched a temp in training program targeted at secondary level students (17+),  third level college and university students to help bridge the experience gap between the academic and professional world.

By partaking in this program, students have the opportunity to work in a number of flexible assignments depending on their skill sets and coursework. The soft skills that they acquire during these assignments further amplify their employment prospects.

While efforts are being made to enhance the skill sets of candidates, it is still vital that employers acknowledge the tight candidate-driven market and take the following points into account.

1. Act quickly

As an employer, if there is a candidate that you are particularly interested in, it is so important that you act now and keep the candidate engaged throughout the entire process. We are seeing an increase in the number of candidates going through several interview processes at once. Candidates have choices and employers are in a battle to ‘win’ the candidate. Don’t leave it several weeks to provide feedback to candidates as they will likely have gone elsewhere.

2. Communicate with your Recruitment Agency

If you are working with a recruitment agency, we can assure you that the best pool of talent has been presented to you once the candidate has expressed interest in a particular position. Recruitment Consultants will always invest time in advertising the role, tailoring the job specification, using specific search methodologies to find such candidates and then discussing the role with qualified candidates before any profiles are submitted to the client. It is important to be cognizant of the volume of work that has been put in to ensure you receive the best possible talent. Communicate with your agency if you are unsure of any profiles and they can discuss a candidate’s assets with you in further detail.

3. Think about your retention strategy

Replacing an employee is usually between 16-20% of an annual salary but can go as high as 50-60%. 52% of employees, however, indicate that a higher salary or a pay rise would increase their tolerance for undesirable aspects of their job. Although compensation is not necessarily what makes top talent stay, it does send a message to employees about their importance and value to the company.

Additionally, employee engagement is highest at the beginning of employment when the candidate is excited to join a new organization so make the most of it with a great onboarding program! 58% of employees who had a great onboarding experience are likely to stay with their organization for at least three years.

Above all, invest in your employees. Provide learning and mentoring opportunities to help your staff reach their goals and give them new job responsibilities as opportunities arise.

For over 32 years, AngusOne has served the professional recruitment needs of Vancouver, the wider British Columbia region and Western Canada. If you are an employer that is struggling with your staffing requirements, we can help!

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