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Employers say challenge is to find qualified staff

Businesses are challenged to hire qualified talent, according to a new Ontario Chamber of Commerce report, that includes data from the Prince Edward County, Belleville and Quinte West chambers of commerce.

The report ‘Talent in Transition: Addressing the Skills Mismatch in Ontario’ identifies 10 recommendations that will better align the skills acquired by Ontarians with those required by employers.

The report was developed in partnership with leading officials in the private and educational sectors, as well as with representatives from across Ontario. It includes exclusive, new research of both Ontario Chamber Network members as well as the general population on sentiment toward skills development.

Of the six in 10 of businesses who attempted to recruit staff in 2016, 82 per cent experienced a challenge in hiring someone with the proper qualifications.

“Ontario employers are finding it more and more challenging to recruit properly qualified talent. If improvements are not made, we will find ourselves in a situation where there are ‘people without jobs and jobs without people,” said Richard Koroscil, interim-President and CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “Our latest report identifies opportunities to improve alignment of skills, education, career opportunities.”

It is not just employers who are concerned with the growing skills mismatch. Of the general population, half of Ontarians are concerned their skills and expertise will no longer be useful or will become less valuable in the next decade.

The report states that as Ontarians move into the knowledge-based economy, with rapidly changing technological advancement, it is essential to leverage human capital.

Emily Cowan

“According to Skills Canada, approximately 40 per cent of the new jobs created over the next 10 years will be in the skilled trades,” said Emily Cowan, General Manager at the Prince Edward County Chamber of Commerce. “There needs to be a huge effort to educate parents and teachers about the great careers available in these areas as they play such an important role in guiding youth into their post-secondary and career choices.”

The report notes just 26 per cent of young people aged 13 to 24 are currently considering a career in these areas prompting belief the skills shortage will continue with the next generation of workers. The labour force participation rate for youth aged 20-24 has also dropped to 75.5 per cent in 2016, from 79 per cent in 2004. The drop is partially due to youth furthering their eduction, but also those who believe no suitable work is available.

The chamber report outlines a strategy for government and industry to work collaboratively for a skilled workforce. In working together on the recommendations presented in this report, Government and industry can:
● Improve the transition from school to the workplace (through the expansion of experiential learning opportunities).
● Improve the labour market outcomes (achieved through Employment Ontario programs).
● Develop a modernized apprenticeship system (reflective of the current business climate and focused on the integration of young people into the trades).

“Employers in the region are experiencing challenges to find qualified employees all the time,” said Cowan. “If we align government, employers and educators to find solutions to the skills mismatch, we can strengthen our economy and ensure there are meaningful career opportunities here in the Bay of Quinte Region. Until then, we’re fighting a losing battle of jobs without employees and employees without jobs.”

Ontario’s Chamber Network has been active on the skills issue since 2012. This report is part of larger advocacy work to ensure regions across Ontario have access to the skilled workforce that they require to compete in the global knowledge economy.

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  1. ADJ says:

    So Dennis, why are these companies leaving Ontario and setting up shop just over the US border? Pride in responsibility? I don’t see that! They move because it’s all about making the company as successful as possible and as cheaply as possible. Cash in on the startup benefits offered,cheaper labor some with no benefits for the employee, cheaper utility costs, and free property tax for an unlimited time. There’s no pride in responsibility…that’s a joke. I don’t think jacking the min. wage is going to solve anything. Maybe we should be encouraging more entrepeneurship and beat the rat race by taking a step back to the old fashioned mom + pop operation. It’s a puzzle!

  2. Jesse Parker says:

    Seasonality contributes to this problem. When tourism season winds down in the fall, what is an employee to do once they are laid off? Our annual recession causes employees to leave the area.

    We need to focus on businesses that are not seasonal – businesses that are not dependent on tourism.

  3. Dennis Fox says:

    I’m a little uncertain as to who the members of this consultation team are – “leading officials in private and educational sectors, as well as, representatives from across Ontario.” Not a very clear nor accurate description of those who wrote this report on the “skills mismatch” occurring in our society. What “they” (whoever they are) have failed to mention is what role can business play in solving this problem – that is if there is a problem at all.

    This topic is worthy of a full debate and investigation, so bear with me while I explain my point of view in big chunks…

    There is no doubt that knowledge and technology are leaping forward faster than most have ever believed possible -so how does anyone even begin to try and keep up to this pace? Well, no one can – so let’s face that fact. The education system, sure can’t either – so it is right for the system to have apprenticeship programs and partnerships with business, which is happening now – BUT even they experience change just as quickly. So what is the solution?

    I my opinion, there is a shared responsibility required to address this situation – between the education system(government) and business. The education system in this country has done a great job – believe it or not it is the number one reason why Canada has the high standard of living we do. The best any system can do is to prepare the students for the future by teaching them “How To Learn” – provide them with the skills to read, write, understand numbers, and most importantly to problem solve and to become critical thinkers. But to also expose students to the newest technology and to encourage them to be open to change AND to learn how to get along with people. Our education system has done a good job of doing the above – not perfect,but it has served our kids well. Our tax dollars have put to good use.

    As a society we have also provided business/industry with good communities with good roads, electrical and water supply, sewers and clean water treatment, schools and hospitals – AND a well educated and trained work force. Again, maybe not perfect, but far better than what most countries provide and our success is proof of this.

    There was a time, not long ago, when business and industry were prepared to train and educate new employees to their company’s way of doing things. There was a time when industry had their apprenticeship programs that taught people how to be pipe fitters, electricians, plumbers, etc… Now these same businesses get upset when they can’t find the trained help they need and they want cheap labour to boot and complain about $15/hour! I want to know what they are prepared to do to solve this ‘skill mismatch” they felt worthy of reporting on?

    Also, let’s not forget the tax breaks that these businesses get – something that was identified as a top disappointment by economists over the past 10 years- because these same businesses were identified as not investing money back into their companies to expand and to create new jobs, which was the purpose of the tax break – instead they pocketed their tax breaks.

    So until I hear a commitment by business and industry as what it is they are going to do to help train workers, I think we can all say we have done our part to help them – now it is their turn to step up and to reclaim some of the responsibility they once took pride in – training their workers and providing good jobs for our young people.

  4. ADJ says:

    Agreed it’s tough to live in this community on any less but let’s go a bit farther…$15.00 X 8 hrs.= $120.00\day
    Add to this the extras paid by the employer, I can sympathize with the small operators who try to make a part-time living in the market garden,seasonal shops and tourist facility. Now multiply this by say four employees.. No doubt it will result in fewer hours for the employee in that they have to have two jobs to save anything. Who benefits from all this?? Obviously the Provincial gov. collects, the Feds collect and the employee gets what is left. Really debateble. Will the overall cost of living go up at the same time? where are we then?

  5. Susan says:

    Yes. If you cannot afford a human being at $15.00 an hour you probably do not have a sustainable business

  6. Emily says:

    Want workers. Pay a fair wage!

  7. Jesse Parker says:

    The Temporary Foreign Workers Program has contributed to this gap. Why would a young person go into skilled trades when they know they will be competing with exploited labourers from around the world?

    No career is safe from the TFW program.

    End the TFW program! Immigration should come through the proper channels.

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