A new survey reveals that more than half of Canada’s adult workforce is unwilling to relocate for pursuing employment opportunities, which also throws light on why many Canadian companies have to hire temporary foreign workers because of the shortage of local skills.
The survey, conducted by Ipsos Reid for the Canadian Employee Relocation Council (CERC), checked with more than 2,000 Canadian workers whether they would be willing to move to a job that either operated from elsewhere within their current provinces or from other parts of the country. Experts consider the CERC survey to be accurate to within 2.5 percentage points.
Only 10 percent of the Canadians surveyed expressed their willingness to move, while a third expressed their reservations about the movement, even though they mentioned that with the right levels of persuasion and incentives, they would be willing to relocate for the job.
Reviewing the results of the survey, the head of the Canadian Employee Relocation Council, Stephen Cryne, said that the findings were disturbing. The Council said that the observations from the survey emphasised some of the challenges that businesses, which are looking to attract highly skilled labour, continue to face.
Respondents, who were willing to move to another part of the country for a job, wanted a top incentive of a 20 percent pay hike, in addition to the employer bearing all the expenses related to the relocation.
More than half of the respondents also mentioned that the government could play a vital role in making the relocation more attractive by permitting employers to provide a tax-free housing allowance for up to six months. This would not only help the relocating employees avoid unnecessary accommodation worries that come with a relocation for a new job, it would also enable the employees to settle themselves in the new location.
Half of the respondents also said that the government must permit employers to provide employees with non-taxable, interest-free loans of up to $100,000, so that the relocating employees could purchase a home in the new location.
A 2013 report from Statistics Canada and Haver Analytics shows that the percentage of Canadians moving between provinces has declined steadily over the years since 1977, from 1.5 percent in 1977 to under one percent in 2012.
While the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development has recommended that Canada reduce barriers to geographical and occupational mobility, Council head Cryne felt that the government needed to promote the benefits of labour mobility in Canada more vocally.
Source: The Canadian Press
In one of his first public appearances since becoming the new Immigration Minister, Chris Alexander echoed the concerns of his predecessor when he lamented against looming labour shortages.
During a recent trip to Vancouver Alexander stopped to speak at an event hosted by the National Bank of Canada. Many of the approximately 100 guests reportedly showed up specifically to ask the new Minister about his view on immigration issues.
Alexander welcomed the input and the chance to build communication between his department and stakeholders in one of Canada’s most popular cities for newcomers.
“The reality is, Canada will not have enough people to satisfy the economic demand here,” said Alexander, citing low birth rates and booming industry. “[Canada’s] need is to find immigrants who are ready and willing to integrate into local communities, and contribute immediately in those fields with existing current needs.”
Alexander called upon local businesses to communicate their needs to his department so they can accurately assess and cater to labour market needs.
He publicly renewed his government’s commitment to provincial nominee programs, which allow provinces to select and fast-track applications from immigrants’ whose skills are deemed to be in high demand. He also championed their commitment to economic immigration streams, which he says helps build and sustain a strong economy to benefit all Canadians.
Furthermore, Alexander noted the work that his predecessors have done to reduce waiting times and immigration backlogs, both of which serve to make Canada more competitive in the global market for talent.
Source: Ottawa Citizen
Officials in Saskatchewan are looking to Alberta as an example of how to deal with labour shortages as the province continues to negotiate the challenges of an economy growing more rapidly than its labour force.
In a recent editorial for the Regina Leader-Post, Canadian Home Builders’ Association – Saskatchewan president and CEO Alan Thomarat argues that the province should focus more on training and development programs rather than recruitment strategies if it hopes to be able to keep up with demand – particularly in the booming construction sector where skilled workers are particularly scarce.
Thomarat points out that the majority of workers in the trades are now over the age of 50 and will therefore be retiring in the next decade or so. There should already be replacement workers in training programs and apprentice positions but the numbers are lacking and more needs to be done to attract workers.
There are several possible courses of action, Thomarat argues, and they can and should all be pursued as soon as possible. For instance, small business owners now can start taking steps to implement succession plans where younger workers learn how to run and eventually take over the business. Additionally, both the federal and provincial levels of government should do more to promote careers in the trades.
From his perspective, Saskatchewan is in a prime position to attract and retain the workers needed to sustain the strong economic position it now occupies. Now it remains more critical than ever for all invested parties to do what they can to ensure that this does, in fact, happen.
Source: Regina Leader-Post