Randstad Canada HR Blog

Where, oh where, have all the STEM-skilled employees gone?

Posted by Jason Delport on Thu, Jul 30, 2015 @ 11:22 AM

That’s the sad refrain of employers across Canada struggling to find employees trained and skilled in science, technology, engineering and math.

According to Randstad’s new whitepaper, “Confronting Canada’s Technical Talent Shortage”, even the experts can’t agree on whether or not there actually is a dearth of STEM-skilled workers. And if there is, what’s the impact on Canada’s ability to compete globally? How do we ensure we have a future supply of these individuals? And won’t that be too late? Isn’t it better to be proactive than reactive?

So if the experts can’t agree, where does that leave employers currently struggling to fill positions with qualified people who can push innovation and growth? Pundits say Canada’s record of business innovation compared to other nations is historically and sadly lacking. Maybe we’re just too polite.

Anyone running a business knows that if you’re standing still, you’re falling behind. That’s because your competitors are taking the necessary steps to ensure they lead, not follow the pack.

Our evidence-based findings – and the calls we get from frustrated employers – tell the story. And it’s a narrative we’re hearing again and again, and in increasingly higher pitched voice. Many Canadian businesses experience difficulties when it comes to filling positions for IT specialists and engineers left vacant by retirement, fewer new graduates into the field, or simply a skills mismatch.


All, or at least those organizations looking to increase their level of customer satisfaction, service and competitive advantage are embracing technology across all industries, and consequently, have a growing need for STEM-skilled workers. No business that wants to stay in business and thrive is immune. How has IBM, in business for over 100 years, remained a leader? Innovation, agility, adaptability.

With technology changing at warp speed, driving the demand for highly skilled technology experts, STEM students are preparing for jobs that, by the time they graduate, will likely be supplanted by positions that haven’t yet been invented. What’s a business to do?

In the next few weeks, we’ll be raising questions around that critical issue, and recommending strategies and solutions to the challenges of finding skilled tech and engineering, math and science specialists. We hope this conversation will spark ideas on how you can go about creating opportunities for the future. It doesn’t take a Ouija board, just the willingness and commitment to create a solid plan for growth that looks at the big picture


The future is now. Let’s talk.


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Do Canadians need to relearn how to recharge?

Posted by Marie-Noelle Morency on Thu, Jul 16, 2015 @ 03:55 PM

According to the recent Randstad Canada Workmonitor survey,  40% of Canadians say they choose to handle work related matters during their holidays because they like to stay involved. With summer vacation upon us, it’s important to remember the importance of unplugging and letting yourself recharge. Do you keep answering your emails while on vacation? 





Tags: workmonitor, Skills & People, employers, employees, holidays

Where the jobs are: Randstad Canada's mid-year labour market analysis

Posted by Marie-Noelle Morency on Fri, Jul 10, 2015 @ 10:17 AM


As Statistics Canada is releasing today its Labour Force Survey numbers for the month of June, Randstad Canada presents its mid-year analysis of Canada’s labour market. 


Ontario’s “under-employment” trend may be tailing off

As sectors that traditionally benefit from a weaker dollar and slumping oil prices, manufacturing and logistics are currently driving positive job growth in Ontario. Randstad Canada has seen significant quarter over quarter sequential gains in light industrial temporary roles, and staggering year over year gains in permanent direct hires throughout Ontario’s industrial sector. This suggests improving confidence in the long-term health of Ontario's economy. A large portion of those jobs are sitting in manufacturing, which benefits from government investment in major infrastructure projects.

In terms of skilled work, employers continue to seek out skilled trade workers such as maintenance mechanics and electricians, but are increasingly looking to add a greater number of permanent semi-skilled workers such as machine operators and machine setup operators as well as line workers and lift truck operators.

Finally, the white collar market in Ontario is starving for bilingual candidates, with the demand far outpacing the current supply. This is causing rapid salary gains for strong bilingual candidates across the province. With more and more organizations choosing to outsource the customer-facing service and administration elements of their business, contact centre roles in Ontario as well as Eastern Canada will continue to provide opportunities for workers with bilingual capabilities.


labour-force-albertaAlberta workers doing more, but not for less

Following nearly a decade of explosive growth, the steady slide in oil prices has led to significant change in Alberta’s employment sector. Randstad Canada is seeing much more job diversification than it has previously as workers are being asked to do more. From a clerical perspective, more and more administrative roles now include an accounting or customer service and sales component.

On the industrial side, the slowdown in the energy sector has resulted in more tradespeople available to work, but there seems to be reluctance among non-oil companies to hire candidates at wages lower than offered by the energy companies for fear of losing their employees back to the energy sector when it regains its footing. Job demand is likely to shift to infrastructure projects in nearby BC, which is expected to lead the country in new infrastructure construction jobs in the coming years.


labour-force-quebec.enQuebec welding a stronger job market together

Significant investment in infrastructure projects is beginning to spur job growth in Quebec’s manufacturing sector. Labour demand began to grow in the Quebec region in April and May, prompting a surge in STIM-based manufacturing jobs. In particular, the welding trade is enjoying a strong first half in 2015 and shows no sign of slowing.

Since last year, Randstad has seen growth of 56% in temporary welding placements and 27% increase in permanent placements in the second quarter alone, compared to last year. Most recently, current welding job postings have doubled from just a month ago.

According to ReNew Canada, three of the country’s top 10 public infrastructure mega-projects are in Quebec (Romaine Complex, St. Lawrence Corridor Bridge, Turcot Interchange). As well, the 2015 commercial agreement between the government of Quebec and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec to implement major infrastructure projects may help keep the sector moving.

Technically speaking

In the tech sector, specialty developer and development operations roles continue to be in high demand, with employers looking for candidates who are fluent in platforms like Java, .NET, opensource, mobile (android and iOS) and the like. New grads and those who are actively upgrading skills will have more jobs to choose from as Randstad Canada is seeing emerging demand for developers and implementors with knowledge of new Freeware technologies, Opensource languages and databases, as well as those with fluency in Cloud programming.

Tags: Canadian Workforce Trends, Jobs and economy, Jobs Canada

Happy Canada Day: Randstad Canada’s half-year review in 5 Canadian-focused articles

Posted by Marie-Noelle M on Wed, Jul 01, 2015 @ 08:30 AM

Happy Canada Day:  Randstad Canada’s half-year review in 5 Canadian-focused articles

At Randstad, we are very proud of connecting employers and job seekers all over the country and discussing various year-long trends that affect the Canadian workplace.  As July 1st wraps up the first half of the year, we thought it would be a great opportunity to share some of our best and most popular content on how the first half of 2015 is shaping up.

We wish a happy Canada Day to all workers and employers across the country!


When it comes to recruiting, are employers putting the wrong things in the window?

Our 2015 Randstad Award survey, polling over 9,000 Canadians, revealed how job seekers perceive organizations and what makes them choose an employer over another.

While job seekers are quick to cite financial health, strong management and good training as the attributes they associate with the country’s largest employer brands, these are not the things they appreciate when looking for the right fit. Read more


5 questions to IBM, Canada’s most attractive employer brand

Our 2015 Randstad Award winner, IBM, talks about how they built such a powerful brand and a strong community.  Learn some great insights on how to nurture an authentic and compelling employer brand.


Why Randstad is one of the best workplaces in the country

Randstad Canada has been recognized as a “Best Workplace in Canada” by the Great Place to Work Institute for the 9th consecutive year in 2015. For the first time, we also won Best workplace to work for women. This recognition speaks volumes and emphasizes all the work we have done to empower female leaders through our Women Shaping Business program. Learn more about what makes Randstad Canada a great place to work for.



Is innovation the silver bullet for Canada’s skills gap?

Many of today’s job seekers have grown up in a high tech, dynamic era where the first and fastest to market are rewarded. We believe that very innovation – and the chance to work within a team of innovators – is appealing to a new crop of Canadian workers, as revealed in our Randstad Award 2015 survey. A great piece from our President Tom Turpin.


Are you ready for Gen Z?

While you may have been distracted by watching Gen Y-ers firmly establish themselves in the workplace as a force to be reckoned with, you might have missed the tide of a new generation moving up right behind them. Introducing Generation Z, born between 1995 and 2010. Coming to a workplace near you very soon, twenty million strong in the United States, with seven million of their peers in Canada, Gen Z is poised to make their mark in business. So who are these future workers?  Learn more. 

6 Roles keeping race cars on the track

Posted by Marie-Noelle Morency on Tue, May 12, 2015 @ 08:30 AM

Formula 1 represents the forefront of engineering, logistics and teamwork; supporting it are professionals of every kind, working simultaneously behind the scenes to make sure the car stays on track.

Roles like Welder Fitters, Executive Assistants and Aerospace Engineers all have their place and all work together, striving for perfection, just like the team at Randstad Canada. At Randstad, we are proud to support Williams Martini Racing and you can count on us to bring the same level of professionalism to you that race teams bring to the F1.

Find out more about the roles keeping race cars on track.


  apply to jobs now

Tags: F1

5 questions to IBM, Canada’s most attractive employer brand at Randstad Award 2015

Posted by Marie-Noelle Morency on Wed, May 06, 2015 @ 09:00 AM

A closer look at IBM Canada’s successful community-building, social media presence and employer branding development efforts

At our recent Randstad Award ceremony held on April 22nd, IBM was voted the best employer brand of 2015, based on an independent employer branding research polling 9,500 Canadians. The organization has been perceived as having the best salary and employee benefits, career progression opportunities and training. Over the years, IBM has time and again innovated in technology. But to Pat Horgan, VP, Manufacturing, Development & Operations, IBM’s true innovation resides in the tight, proud community they created: the IBMers. I had the chance to see that community in action, when we announced their big win online on Wednesday night. A flood of IBMers tweeted their support and pride.  And it struck me that this was in no way a one-time thing.  To build such a strong community, you need to nurture it.


Why do you think IBM is such a powerful brand in Canada?

Over the last 100 years, IBM moved from making cheese slicers, clocks, scales, card punches to innovating in areas like cloud, analytics and mobile technology to help make the world work better.

IBM stands for progress. We want to be essential to the clients we serve, and the best way to do that is have our employees – our IBMers –take the lead in bringing our values to life and adapting them to a changing world.

We believe, as an innovation-based company, in the importance of open exchange — between IBM and its clients, and among the many constituents of the emerging business and societal ecosystem.

We make important contributions to the world, to the future of business and technology, and to public dialogue on a broad range of societal issues. It is important for IBM and IBMers to share with the world the exciting things we're learning and doing.




How do you foster employee engagement?

We believe that,  at the center of our communities should be IBMers—as the greatest source of influence to build belief, not only in our products and services, but in our role as the agenda setter for the industry.

As  the IBM brand is primarily experienced and embodied through IBMers , we give them a set of practices that define how we behave (practices that were developed from IBMers own ideas of what really mattered), and we are providing an internal framework for brand stewardship as experienced by the IBMer.

These practices are reinforced with seminars, education, and unnumerable blogs written by IBMers on how they are living the practices in their daily lives, to help others understand how to embody the practices.


What initiatives and tools have you launched to encourage exchange and interaction?

We use video blogs. Our CEO, on her second day on the job, posted a video blog for all employees. She had 205,000 visits, 751 comments, and 175 likes.  Half of IBM saw that video within 48 hours.  

IBM’s Think Academy is another relatively new initiative, supported by a community. It’s IBM's social/digital platform to educate employees, clients, partners and friends on growth topics critical to our success.

We recently launched ThinkFridays where once a month the Corporation focuses on a strategic initiative and encourages all employees globally to participate in 2 hour learning module.

Our IBM Expertise Locator, allows us to reach out to IBM experts for internal collaboration and external engagement.


How social is IBM?

IBM has been “social” in the online sense of the word for decades. In 1997, IBM actively recommended that its employees use the Internet —when many others were seeking to restrict employees' Internet access. We actively share brand experiences on social media – designed for employees internally and also for them to amplify externally.

In 2003, we made a strategic decision to embrace the blogosphere and to encourage IBMers to participate. We also undertook the first reexamination of its values in nearly 100 years. Through "Values-Jam," an unprecedented 72-hour discussion on IBM's global intranet, IBMers came together to define the essence of the company. The result?  A set of core values, defined by IBMers for IBMers, that shape the way we lead, the way we decide, and the way we act.

Since then we’ve continued to advocate IBMers' responsible involvement in social media, internally in applications like IBM Connections, and externally via third party applications (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube), for sales, communication, marketing and recruiting efforts.

The most recent example is Canada’s “country twitter” handle -- @IBMer_CA , a new way to engage IBMers we just launched in January of this year.


What would you say to other organizations who want to develop a strong employer brand? 

Don’t divide brand and culture: one of our senior leaders, Sandy Carter, likes to say “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”

Listen –crowd-sourcing employees ideas have helped us strengthen the brand and given employees a real stake in its success.

Stay authentic – don’t base success on a product or technology but on the reflection of your corporate character – and define that first before you expand brand responsibility outside marketing.

Don’t be afraid to ‘give up’ some control of the brand in favour of having employees take a greater ownership stake in its success.

Collaborate even more than what you think is required.

Trust your colleagues and employees to be interested in maintaining brand health and help them understand what that means and the role they can play in the brand’s success – if required.



Who knows who will be voted Top employer brand at next year’s Randstad Award. Will IBM replicate West Jet’s extraordinary winning streak with three consecutive wins? One thing is for sure, IBM has all intentions to continue to strive for innovation… and to keep their employees tweet, share, and promote their pride of being IBMers.


Tags: Randstad Award

Make them stay: 7 ways to improve your employees’ experience

Posted by Marie-Noelle M on Thu, Apr 30, 2015 @ 09:56 AM

Make them stay: 7 ways to improve your employees’ experience

In our most recent Employer branding report, we asked over 9,500 Canadians to share their expectations and perceptions on today’s workplaces. The results were crystal clear: if money attracts them, it won’t be enough to keep them happy and engaged.  When asked what motivates them to stay with their employers, Canadians said work-life balance is the top factor, followed by salary and flexible working arrangements. More women than men are likely to stay if they feel they’re recognized for their work. Young workers are motivated by different factors, such as career growth opportunities (8% above average) and strong relationships with direct manager (6% above average). 

To begin to impact your employer brand, you need to look at ways to improve the employee experience. Here are seven ideas to start conversation in your company.


7 Ways to Improve your Employees' Experience

1. Internal polling: Companies with effective employer brands poll their organizations asking about the mood of their employees, gauging the success of management and the engagement of teams. Measure by department, region, division and as the company at a whole. If you represent a large organization, it is unlikely that you’ll have a one size fits all solution. Be ready to take action on the recommendations or on the scoring of the polls and try to do this regularly.

2. New tools: New equipment or technologies makes everyone feel better about where they work. There are newer and more efficient ways to work investing in these advances increases the value employees feel they receive from their organization. If your teams have reasonable requests for new equipment make the investment – the purchase may be what it takes to keep them over the long term.

3. More training: Canadian companies in many industries are investing in half the value of training as our southern neighbours. We’re behind Sweden, Austria, most of the OECD in non-formal training. Now is the time to invest in your people, training their skills, bring them new certifications and upskill them for today’s world of work. These investments will reap dividends in the quality of work and the engagement of your teams and over the long term the quality of their lives.

4. Opportunities for growth and advancement: In our Employer branding report, we have found that salary and benefits, workplace flexibility and opportunities for growth are keys to attracting great people. We also find that those opportunities are the leading reason why people stay at a job over the long term. If you have a department where there is little in the way of skyward or lateral growth, there will be lower retention. Build layers of seniority or management to add those opportunities and give your teams new things to do and learn. Assign your top performers to cross-departmental projects, where they will have the possibility to gain valuable insights from other teams and functional experts and to develop their leadership skills.

5. Cognitive and personality testing: When you are hiring new team members, it is important to understand who is who on a team. Through personality and cognitive testing, you can gauge the work style and strengths of your team. This will make it easier to make hiring decisions and move people within an organization.

6. Customized benefits: Some people don’t want a deal on a gym membership, or a cell phone plan. They might want better dental care or care days for family. Allowing people to pick and choose the benefits they want and leave behind the ones they don’t will give them more control of an important part of their compensation package, this will also increase engagement in your total rewards programming.

7. Idea sharing platforms: With the immediacy and omnipresence of social media, people are used to share feedback and connect. Encourage people to share information and ideas through platforms like Google + for example, or develop your own in-house solution, like Indigo and their virtual community sharing platform Galileo. Feeling part of a community is very important to the next generations of workers, so organizations should provide them with the tools that allow them to develop strong ties with their colleagues and management.

Want to learn more about employer branding? Visit, www.randstadaward.ca to learn about the 2015 Randstad Award and a survey conducted of 9,500 Canadian workers and job seekers. Find out what attracts them to companies, what helps them stay and how to build your employer brand.

Want to learn more about leading strategies to recruit or retain? Ask us anything on Twitter @RandstadCanada #RandstadAward.

Tags: Randstad Award, Employer branding, employees

And The Winners of the 2015 Randstad Award Are...

Posted by Marie-Noelle M on Thu, Apr 23, 2015 @ 09:53 AM

Celebrating the Best Employer Brands in Canada

Randstad Award 2015

Yesterday at the Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto, we celebrated the best employer brands in Canada, with business leaders from across the country. 9,500 Canadians picked the most attractive employers in 2015 as part of our Randstad Award survey, the largest piece of independent employer branding research.

To know more, visit 

Congratulations to all winners, they all exemplify how important it is to cultivate a strong and compelling organizational culture.



Tags: Randstad Award, Employer branding

Is Innovation the Silver Bullet for Canada’s Skills Gap?

Posted by Marie-Noelle M on Tue, Apr 21, 2015 @ 12:52 PM

Randstad Canada's Point of View in the Financial Post

Tom Turpin, President of Randstad CanadaThis week, we will hold in Toronto the 5th edition of our Annual Randstad Award ceremony.Unique to Canada, the Randstad Award identifies the most attractive places to work among 150 of Canada’s largest employers (by employee size), based on the opinions of more than 9,500 job seekers and workers in Canada.

What's more, job seekers share their opinions on a variety of questions: what values and attributes are the most important to them when choosing an employer, which social media platforms they use to in their job hunt, and which sectors they would like to work in. 

What Attracts Job Seekers?

The results show that job seekers are driven by innovation, and attracted to companies who require engineers, computer scientists, data architects and other highly skilled, technical professionals. Maybe that is good news for the looming skills gap that we are seeing in Canada right now in technical and skilled trade fields? 

Read the editorial piece from our President Tom Turpin in the Financial Post to know more. 


Is innovation a driving factor when looking for a company to work for? Share your thoughts on Twitter @randstadcanada!

Tags: Canadian employment, Employer branding

Growth Hacking: What is it, How is it Helping Companies?

Posted by Mark Rosenzweig on Mon, Apr 13, 2015 @ 02:15 PM

Growth Hacking: What is it, How is it Helping Companies?

Jeff Goldenberg Founder of HackologyGet ready for the digital marketing buzzword of 2015: growth hacking. If you haven’t heard it yet here’s your brief.

“Growth hacking is about using data to drive decisions, obtaining low-cost acquisition, and achieving massive scalable growth for a company,” says Jeff Goldenberg, founder of HackologyTO a workshop series designed to teach marketers without technical skills like programming how to be a successful growth hacker. People agree on that definition but there is a split on what people assume a growth hacker to be.

Who are the Growth Hackers?

On one hand there are technically minded people; the coders and developers who know how to link APIs (Application Programming Interface which specifies how software components should interact) and databases to create webpages and web applications that generate explosive growth. The other group is the traditional marketers now living in a digital world.

An API is the structure of how a digital machine, like an operating system, search engine or App work. Having access to one lets someone plug different types of data into it and get different types of output.

These people are finding that new marketing techniques require skills that weren’t taught to them in schools or large corporations. There is a skills gap that is plaguing marketing, and it is costing companies more and more every year. In a 2014 study by International Data Corporation about CMO predictions for 2015, 25% of CMO’s and CIO’s will have a shared roadmap for marketing technology.


Hackology Growth Hacking for Non-Technical Marketers


The Fire Hose of Data a Challenge For Most

To make matters worse when attempting to dip your toe into the growth hacking waters you will inevitably be hit by a fire hose of data, metrics, and “hacks”.

“People fail to realize if you stick with it and set up systems to capture the right data, the right metrics to focus on, and the right “hacks” then making decisions becomes easier,” said Goldenberg, who through his talk helps marketers be less terrified of all of the information coming at them. “Marketers hear of the technical demands and think their skills are eroding, we want to help fix it.”

For marketers looking for jobs today, skills like, data analysis, design or Photoshop, basic web publishing like HTML 5, or using content management systems. For the non-technical marketer, these skills can create a barrier for them, preventing otherwise capable marketing professionals from applying to these jobs. “Most of these skills have easy to use tools or relatively low learning curves." 

Tools you Can Learn Today

Jeff outlined some tools you can use today to improve your digital marketing, whether it is to market your company’s jobs, or to promote your employer brand. Software as a Service (SaaS) has been key to giving people the right tools to be a successful digital marketer. SaaS allows non-technical people to do technical things such as creating a landing page using Unbounce instead of learning HTML, CSS, and graphic design.

Companies are starting to realize the versatility of SaaS and marketing departments are changing to become more data driven. “We need to become growth hackers blending data, testing, and content to achieve growth. If you aren’t then you are at a competitive disadvantage,” states Jeff as data driven decisions become more important.

At Hackology you can expect to walk out of a workshop with tangible and topical growth hacks to take home. Think of it like being given the tools and a set of instructions. With the right tools and the right instructions any digital marketer can pull off incredible things.

Learn more abouHackologyTO: a workshop series that will show you the tools to be a growth hacker, no programming required. Use the code hackologyjeff to get 25% off tickets.

Tags: Skills Shortage, Digital Marketing

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