BC Labour snapshot: businesses challenged with retention, recruitment and skills mismatches
Vancouver, August 31, 2018 – From labour shortages to significant skills mismatches, British Columbians will ring in Labour Day against a backdrop of labour challenges -- according to a recent BC Chamber MindReader™ survey done in partnership with the BC Government, which canvassed business leaders across BC.
"Our purpose is to know what's on BC's mind and when it comes to labour, recruiting and retaining quality staff is top of mind for employers of every size and sector across BC, according to our new data," said Val Litwin, President and CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce. "We are experiencing an exceptionally tight labour market but as the survey shows there are opportunities and areas where businesses can be more innovative in their approach to solve these challenges."
Employers in BC are also challenged with significant skills mismatches, with nearly three-quarters (72%) of employers indicating they routinely hire less-qualified employees and train them on-the-job. This indicates a clear need to improve the alignment of skilled labour supply and demand in BC.
Two-thirds of BC businesses had positions that were difficult-to-fill in the past year. A notable result is that the majority of difficult-to-fill positions were for higher skilled or senior positions, which outnumbered entry-level vacancies by a factor of two-to-one despite there being only about half as many managerial positions as front-line positions in the economy. Nearly one-quarter (24%) of businesses had middle or senior manager positions vacant for over six months, and only one-third of respondents (34%) indicated they had no difficult-to-fill positions.
There was a diversity of specific skills mismatches, ranging from the most common gaps in job-specific technical skills (57%) and other direct on- the-job experience (46%) for which education and training are only partial and/or long-term solutions, as employers require skilled workers with direct experience in these cases. Customer service experience gaps were common for over one-third (37%) of respondents while leadership skills mismatches were common for just under one-third (31%) of respondents.
More than half of respondents indicated they were increasing wages (56%) and/or benefits (52%) as a strategic tool to retain staff. However, working conditions and business culture are typically the main factors, and indeed are the case in BC, with nearly two-thirds (63%) focusing on improving working conditions to retain staff.
About the BC Chamber of Commerce
The BC Chamber is the province’s largest and most broadly-based business organization driving insights to its partners, government and Chamber network. With 36,000 members hailing from every nook and cranny of the province, the BC Chamber knows what’s on BC’s mind.
Director of Communications
BC Chamber of Commerce