Last Updated on January 24, 2019
Employers in the booming Western provinces are still doing what they can to overcome labour pressures, including looking abroad to find the skilled workers they need to keep pace with the demand.
That is the case for Jim Nowakowski, owner of Saskatchewan-based welding company JNE Welding. Though there are skilled welders in Canada, Nowakowski says that few of them are willing to leave behind family and friends, despite the benefits and wages they are able to receive in booming economies like Saskatchewan.
In a recent piece for The Globe and Mail, Nowakowski describes his firm’s recent efforts to recruit and retain skilled workers from abroad – offering integration assistance and accommodation to newcomers with the intent to help them build permanent ties to the Saskatoon community.
Though recent government policies have recognized the hiring challenges faced by employers, there still are many obstacles, including relocation costs, which amount to thousands of dollars per worker, as well as processing times which can be upwards of one or two years.
“Despite the challenges, I have seen the benefits of hiring internationally beyond filling the skills gap within my company,” writes Nowakowski. “Our employees are from India, Iran, the Philippines, South Africa, Israel, Ukraine, Poland, Ireland, Germany and of course, people originally from Canada. The multicultural background of our employees adds to the working experience and contributes to a rich employee culture —something that is extremely valuable.”
Though JNE Welding is just one company among many, Nowakowski’s story surely rings true for many employers in Western Canada. Nowakowski says that he fully intends to continue to recruit internationally, as it currently is the only way he can keep up with demand.
Source: Globe and Mail