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Skills Gap Still Top of Mind Issue for Canadian Workers in 2014

 

TORONTO, February 25, 2014 – Addressing the skills gap continues to be top of mind with Canadian workers, according to a new study by Ipsos-Reid on behalf of Randstad Canada. In fact, more than nine-in-ten (91.2%) of working Canadians say they feel that the skills shortage/skills gap will continue to be an issue of importance in Canada in 2014.

The Randstad Canada Labour Trends Study 2014, polling 2,076 Canadian employees and managers across the country on their expectations for the coming year, revealed that a lack of skilled trades workers (16.3%), outsourcing of jobs or increases in numbers of international workers (15.2%) and a lack of skilled workers overall (9.9%) are the biggest issues that the country’s organizations are facing in 2014. Those in the Prairies (23.2%) and Alberta (21.6%) are most likely to feel that a lack of skilled trades workers is the single biggest issue in 2014.

"What we are seeing here is reflective of what we’ve seen in the field throughout the past year - organizations in the industrial and technical sectors are struggling to find highly skilled candidates,” says Tom Turpin, President, Randstad Canada. “This is especially true in the West, where oil & gas projects are booming, and in Quebec where we see growth in the IT and aerospace fields".

Skilled trades: the most promising industry for Canadians
Skilled trades is the area in which most Canadians see the greatest job opportunities for 2014. Nearly half (44.7%) see skilled trades as one of the top 3 industries for job opportunities in the coming year, with nearly one in four (23.8%) seeing it as the single best industry for opportunities in the coming year. Healthcare (38.2%), Oil & Gas (33.9%), Technology (26.9%), and Engineering and Construction (25.2%) were also amongst the top five for opportunities based on the opinions of those polled.

Men are more likely than women to believe that Oil & Gas and Engineering and Construction present the best/most opportunities in the coming year; however, women (48.5%) were more likely than men (42.3%) to see skilled trades as the industry offering the best/most job opportunities in 2014.

Industry sectors like Not for Profit, Academia, Arts, Entertainment and Recreation, Consumer Packaged Goods, and Security were the areas that the majority of respondents believed provided the least amount of opportunity in 2014. Additionally, three in ten (28.9%) respondents see trades skills (i.e. plumbing, electrical, etc.) as the most in demand skill set today. This is especially true west of Ontario and East of Quebec, signaling high demand on both coasts for skilled trades workers.


Are organizations doing enough to address the skills gaps?

Whether manager or employee, BCer or Quebecer, Canadian workers believe the responsibility to properly address the issue of the skills gap/shortage lies with companies, governments and educators, and not with hard working Canadians. According to those polled, promotion, compensation, and investment in skills training are critical to properly address the issue of the skills gap/shortage in both the short and long term.

Four out of ten say that companies need to invest more in skills training for their employees (40%), with another 38% saying that educators need to do more to promote to students industries and job roles that are likely to lead to careers addressing the skills shortage/gap.

One in three (32.9%) think that governments need to invest more in skills training for unemployed and underemployed workers, with one-quarter (25.7%) also believing governments need to provide better incentives for workers to move into positions that address the skills shortage/gap.

Young workers (18-34) are more likely to expect companies to provide better financial incentives (41.4%), while mature workers (55+) are especially critical of the role that educators have played in addressing the issue and promoting industries and job roles to students (44.9%), and incentivizing students to pursue these types of careers (33.7%). Women are more likely to feel that governments can have a large impact in the issue when compared to men, while men see the responsibility sitting with companies more so than women.

 

Lack of education, negative perceptions widening the gap

According to the study, Canadian workers believe that education and perception are core reasons that have led to today’s skills shortage. Four in five (79%) survey respondents stated they feel a lack of knowledge in skilled trades has led to less Canadians considering them a career option, while more than three-quarters (76.6%) felt that a perception of skilled trade work being less respected and more old fashioned in comparison to ‘white collar’ work has led to less interest for Canadians desiring these types of roles. 

Ontarians (69.4%) most frequently stated that they experienced pressure by family to pursue more traditional ‘white collar’ careers when in school, while Quebecers experienced the least amount of familial intervention (52.2%).

 

Future opportunities

More than one-third of those polled said that they would consider pursuing a career in skilled trades if there were good immediate and long term job prospects (37%), or if they presented better long-term job security than other fields (34.8%). Additionally, nearly one-third (31.8%) say that training programs readily available to help transition or begin in the field would entice them to pursue a career in skilled trades.

More than one-quarter of Quebecers (25.8%) and Canadians under the age of 35 (25.5%) said they would consider entering a skilled trade if they required less and/or lower cost pre-work education. Only one in six Canadians (16.7%) would not for any reason consider a career in skilled trades, including one in five women (20.6%).

"There is still a lot to be done to change perceived negative perceptions around skilled trades. Everyone, from organizations to schools, governments and placement agencies like us, need to do more to promote careers in skilled trades,” says Turpin. As companies use more sophisticated equipment and technologies, they need workers with specialized technical skills - and this translates into higher salaries. The opportunities are there for young Canadians who are open to a different academic and career path, and for organizations who are willing to invest in training and developing them through apprenticeships".   

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Survey Methodology: These are the results of a survey conducted by Ipsos-Reid Public Affairs on behalf of Randstad Canada. A total sample of 2,076 employed Canadians was interviewed via Ipsos’ online panel, including n= 800 managers/employers and n= 1,276 generally employed Canadians. The survey was conducted between December 20th and 29th, 2013. The survey is considered accurate to +/- 2.5 percentage points of all employed Canadians, +/-4 percentage points of all Canadians in a managerial role and +/-3.1 percentage points of all Canadians working in a non-managerial role.

 

About Randstad Canada: Randstad Canada is the Canadian leader for staffing, recruitment and HR Services. As the only fully integrated staffing company in the country, we understand the recruitment needs and demands of employers and job seekers across all levels and industries. Through our insightful knowledge of local markets, employment trends and global network of recruitment experts, we are shaping the Canadian world of work. Visit randstad.ca  

Date

February 25, 2014

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James Rubec
Marie-Noelle Morency

Telephone

416.962.9578 x2512
514.350.5309 x233

 

Canadian Workers Cautiously Optimistic About Job Market, Economy in 2014

 

TORONTO, January 23, 2014 – While 2013 ended on a down note, with the loss of 48,000 jobs across Canada in December, a new study conducted by Ipsos-Reid on behalf of Randstad Canada shows that Canadian workers are entering 2014 with a cautiously optimistic outlook for the job market and economy overall this year.

The Randstad Canada Labour Trends Study 2014, polling 2,076 Canadian employees and managers across the country on their expectations for the coming year, revealed that three-in-ten respondents (30%) said they feel more confident in the strength of the Canadian economy heading into 2014 than they were entering 2013, while another 50% said they felt about the same amount of confidence heading into this year as they did last. Those in Alberta (35%) and British Columbia (32%) were the most confident in the strength of the Canadian economy heading into 2014, while those in Quebec (27%) and Atlantic Canada (22%) were the least.

 

Canadians Split About Confidence in the Job Market

While nearly half (48%) of the 2,076 Canadians polled said they feel about the same amount of confidence in the job market in 2014 as they did in 2013, those that do feel differently than last year are decidedly split. While one-quarter (25%) of respondents felt more confident in the job market heading into this year, slightly more (27%) said they actually feel less confident this year than they did at the beginning of last year.

Respondents working in a managerial or executive position are significantly more confident (30.3%) than their below-manager counterparts (19.2%). Younger workers (under the age of 35) are also much more confident in the job market this year (30.5%) than those who are well into their careers (35-54 - 21.9%).

As with expectations for the strength of the economy, those living in Western Canada (British Columbia and Alberta) are substantially more confident in the job market this year (30.4% and 31.3% respectively) than those on the East Coast and in Quebec (18.1% and 23.3% respectively). In fact, those living in Atlantic Canada (33.8%) and Ontario (31.9%) are the most likely to feel less confident in the job market in 2014 than they were in 2013.

“While 2013 may not stand out in anyone’s mind as a banner year for the Canadian job market or the economy overall, it is encouraging to see even cautious optimism from both employees and employers about this year’s prospects on both fronts,” says Tom Turpin, President, Randstad Canada.

 

One-Third of Canadians Will Look for a New Job in 2014

Of those polled, one-third (33%) said they expect it will be more difficult to find a new job in 2014 than it was in 2013, with only one-in-five (20%) expecting it be an easier task than last year. Even so, three-in-ten (31%) currently employed Canadians say they are likely to personally look for a new job in 2014.

Women in particular are more concerned with ease of mobility between jobs this year – while nearly half feel that their prospects of finding a new job will be about the same as 2013, almost two-in–five (38%) feel it will be more difficult for job seekers to find a new job this year than it was last.

Regionally, Albertans are the most confident when it comes to finding new jobs, with one-third feeling it will be easier to do so in 2014 than it was in 2013. Ontarians are the most pessimistic in Canada, with more than 40% anticipating finding a new job in 2014 will be more difficult than last year.

Younger workers (under 35) are much more likely to look for a new job in 2014 – nearly half (46.5%) intend to look this year, compared to three-in-ten (31%) overall. Workers in Ontario (35%), Alberta (33%) and BC (33%) are the most likely to look for a new job in 2014, while those in Quebec (24%) are the least likely.

 

A Better Bottom-Line Expected in 2014 – for Companies and Employees Alike

Canadians are especially optimistic when it comes to their organizations’ performance in the coming year. Nearly nine-in-ten (89%) of those polled expect their company/employer to perform better (37%) or about the same (52%) financially this year when compared to 2013, with only 11% anticipating a worse year financially in 2014. Those in managerial and executive positions (45%) are much more likely to expect their organization’s to perform better financially in 2014 than employees (29%).

As Canadians expect their companies to perform better, they also expect to receive a bigger paycheck themselves. More than half (51%) of those polled said they expect to receive a raise in 2014, with those in Quebec (58%) and Alberta (57%) feeling much more confident in receiving a salary increase than those in Ontario (46%) or British Columbia (48%).

Both employers and employees expect to ask more of each other in 2014

Canadian employers (managers and executives) say that, in order for them to contribute to their organization’s success in 2014, their employees need to expect greater demands on productivity (65%), greater expectations for better results with budgets similar to or below 2013 levels (64%) and greater expectations for new tasks as a part of their everyday roles (61%). Those in Atlantic Canada (77%) and Alberta (72%) especially expect increased productivity by their employees to be in greater demand in the coming year.

While managers and executives will expect more from their employees in 2014, workers are also expecting employers to bring more to the table this year. Those polled said that, in order to contribute to their employees’ job satisfaction, employers will need to provide better performance incentives and financial rewards (45%), better work-life balance (42%), and better training and development opportunities for employees (39%) in 2014.

‘’What these results tell us is that both employees and managers keep a watchful eye on the market’s progress this year, and how it will contribute to better their professional and personal lives,” says Turpin. “Given the opportunities and challenges they perceive, it will be critical for job seekers, employees, and employers to set clear expectations on their needs and requirements in order to foster productivity, growth and engagement in Canadian workplaces.’’

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Survey Methodology: These are the results of a survey conducted by Ipsos-Reid Public Affairs on behalf of Randstad Canada. A total sample of 2,076 employed Canadians was interviewed via Ipsos’ online panel, including n= 800 managers/employers and n= 1,276 generally employed Canadians. The survey was conducted between December 20th and 29th, 2013. The survey is considered accurate to +/- 2.5 percentage points of all employed Canadians, +/-4 percentage points of all Canadians in a managerial role and +/-3.1 percentage points of all Canadians working in a non-managerial role.

 

About Randstad Canada: Randstad Canada is the Canadian leader for staffing, recruitment and HR Services. As the only fully integrated staffing company in the country, we understand the recruitment needs and demands of employers and job seekers across all levels and industries. Through our insightful knowledge of local markets, employment trends and global network of recruitment experts, we are shaping the Canadian world of work. Visit randstad.ca  

Survey Says: Canadians Expect Employers to Foot the Bill for Skills Training

 

TORONTO, November 26, 2013:  Canada’s skills gap was a major element of the last Federal budget, with the launch of programs such as the Canada Job Grant that share the cost of training and upgrading workforce skills with employers. But when it comes to an up-to-date skill set, who is responsible – the employer or the employee?

According to the most recent WorkMonitor study by Randstad, the country’s largest human resources and staffing company, 91 per cent of Canadian workers hold the employer responsible for ensuring the skills and competences of employees correspond with job requirements.

“This may in part be related to the fact that the study also revealed that more than eight in ten Canadian workers feel that the demands on employees are higher than five years ago,” said Tom Turpin, President, Randstad Canada.

This has significant implications for Canada’s skills shortage, as employed Canadians would be less likely to pursue advanced training on their own.

“Canadians already have the highest rate of tertiary college education in the world,” says Turpin, citing a recent OECD report evaluating global education. “After years in school, for many there is an expectation that they should be able to get a good job and a strong career. That’s simply an unrealistic impression in many professions.”

However, while Canadians workers are among the most likely to expect their employers to ensure their skills and competences are maintained, they are also amongst the least likely in the world to believe that formal education will become more important in their position, with only 57% agreeing.

“Education and training is a serious investment for either a company or an individual.  It isn’t an easy thing for a job seeker or worker to do on their own, but many professions require it,” says Turpin, speaking about retraining requirements for technologies professions, or further advancement required for financial designations like a CPA. “Canadians who are looking for opportunities for training within their workplace, or through their employer, need to start that discussion today.”

Implementation of programs like the Canada Job Grant can take time, and the Job Grant program announced earlier this year won’t be instituted fully instituted until 2017. However, the advantages of training and promoting from within are very real.

“When you train someone and bring them up through the ranks it can be beneficial to your employer brand. It can also be a very beneficial cost savings, removing the need to engage in a more complex hiring process, or train new employees on your internal processes,” said Turpin.

 To ensure they are bridging the skills gap accordingly, employers need to evaluate what processes or strategies will help them meet their long term hiring and skills management goals. At the same time, Canadian job seekers and workers need to plan for ongoing skills development to both ensure they are prepared to meet the requirements of future job opportunities, as well as to advance within the companies they currently work for.

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About Randstad Canada: Randstad Canada is the Canadian leader for staffing, recruitment and HR Services. As the only fully integrated staffing company in the country, we understand the recruitment needs and demands of employers and job seekers across all levels and industries. Through our insightful knowledge of local markets, employment trends and global network of recruitment experts, we are shaping the Canadian world of work. Visit randstad.ca  

 

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