Labor Market Up, Labor Supply Down

The change is increasingly noticeable.  Newspapers, signs, employee search agencies and all other recruitment activities are all increasingly active.  For Hire, Job Opportunity, Wanted, Employment Opportunities, Required Immediately, Dynamic and Challenging positions available, Now Hiring, Full-time Staff needed. 
    Many businesses haven’t realized or accepted the fact that the competition for staff in all industry sectors is on the rise. Or if they have, they aren’t sure what to do about it.  As the future unfolds, the sustainability of their business will be tied to their ability to access and retain the people with the skills they need. 
    Ms. Kristen Cumming, Instructor with the University of Alberta and consultant with Cantos Performance Management attended the Wetaskiwin Lunch & Learn session on January 30, 2014. Cumming’s presentation, The Future Work Force in Alberta, described to the approximately 50 participants how serious the labor shortage is. “Alberta’s labour market (need for employees) is predicted to grow at an annual rate of 2.4%, while its labour supply (employees available) grows at an annual rate of 1.9%.  The bottom line is that by 2021, Alberta predicts a cumulative shortage of approximately 114 000 workers.”
    There continues to be an increasing cause for concern. Labor shortages that were experienced in the mid-2000’s were cyclical in nature, meaning the demand for employees was directly related to rapid industrial growth.  Today, the rapid industrial growth, especially in Alberta, has created another labor shortage that has become more complex due to demographic shifts. Cummings explained that because the size of families declined 20, 30, 40 years ago, there aren’t as many people entering the workforce today. This is further compounded by the huge number of baby boomers who are reaching retirement age and leaving the workforce creating a demographic shift that is deeper and longer-lasting. 
    In a nutshell, if Company A finds itself losing employees, whether it be through attrition (retirement) or to other companies, there is a limit to how much adjustment can be made by downsizing the business, demanding more production from existing employees or attracting employees from other provinces. At the same time Alberta is experiencing an improved economy fueling an increased demand for products and services and the growing need for more employees to satisfy that need.  
Cumming suggests two under-tapped sources of labor
    Cumming suggested a potential solution to the labor shortage is to engage underutilized segments of the population such as aboriginals and immigrants.  She shared stats illustrating how this untapped aboriginal labor source is available to employers now, and in the future. “The increase of the aboriginal population and potential labour supply between 2006 and 2011 was 20.1% compared to an increase of 5.2% non-aboriginal.  Plus the aboriginal population is comparatively younger. Looking into the future, aboriginal youth between the ages of 15 to 24 is 28% compared to non-aboriginal at 16.5%. Children 14 years of age and under make up 28 % of the aboriginal population while non-aboriginal children only account for 16.5%.  There will be a smaller percentage of aboriginal seniors retiring. They make up 6% of the population while only 14.2 % of the non-aboriginal population is over 65.” She pointed out that considering the close proximity to Maskwacis Cree Nation, Wetaskiwin has a unique opportunity to help build a future skilled workforce. 
    “Alberta’s share of new immigrants increased from 6.5% (2001) to 12.4% (2011)”, were the stats identifying the second source of employees for consideration.  “Immigrants account for 20% of the working age population in Alberta. They have the highest rate of participation or the lowest rate of unemployment in Alberta compared to other provinces.” Although Cummings suggested stats show “immigrants have a higher percentage working full time than other Albertans”, she was quick to qualify her statement by explaining that a majority were not employed full-time in one position that offered the same advantages enjoyed by Canadians.
    Immigrants will play an important role filling the labor shortage hole. But employers hiring foreign workers will have additional responsibilities. The employer’s ability to attract and retain foreign workers is directly related to the degree to which they are integrated into the workplace and the community.  Now is the time to plan ahead by answering questions such as: where will they live? How will they access health care? Banking, insurance? Additional language and skills training? Are the present company employees prepared to accept immigrants?    
    Although recent immigrants are often highly educated, they are not enjoying the same lifestyle as Canadian born workers.  Many immigrants are underemployed (teachers in the fast food industry), in part-time, in part-year, low paying jobs. As Cummings stated, although often well qualified, they have a difficult time getting meaningful employment and management positions. 
    Instead the reality they find is one of disappointment. A poll conducted by Environics Research Group in July 4, 2011 found that 49% of newcomers who have been in Canada less than a year feel they are underemployed. Additionally, 12% felt stuck in a job that would not eventually lead to their desired occupation. Only 42% of those polled had researched labour market conditions before coming to Canada, while just 24% had researched whether they would need to be recertified in order to continue working in their field. 
    In her closing remarks, Cummings summed her presentation by saying, “Employers must find ways to match supply with demand in such a way that employment opportunities are provided and communities are strengthened economically and socially. This includes providing employability supports, creating proposals for training and building industry partnerships. “
    Now is the time to prepare a strategy to ensure Alberta has the skilled labour force it requires in the future.  Now is the time to establish a clear understanding with both employers and workers to clearly know what is expected of them. Only then, will the economic growth of Alberta not be restricted by a labor shortage. 
    The Lunch & Learn workshop was hosted by JEDI in partnership with Wetaskiwin and District Chamber of Commerce, Wetaskiwin Composite High School and Alberta Works. To be added to the distribution list announcing future workshops email espagrud@jedialberta.com 

 

More Stories:
  • Crystal Blue Eyes - A Moving Story Describing his music style at the Wetaskiwin Waterworks Theatre on October 18th, 2014, Rev K (Kerry Klontz) stated, “Sharing my music is sharing a part of myself and I love the connection that is made with other people through ...
  • Spirit of Giving Strong In Leduc On Friday, November 14, the Leduc & District Chamber of Commerce hosted its Annual ‘Spirit Of Giving’ Luncheon. Close to three hundred regional business people gathered to celebrate the Festive Season and to collectively ...
  • Falun East Beef 4-H Club Update On September 24, 2014, 15 members of the Falun East 4-H Beef Club met up for their first meeting of the year. 15 bright, and joyful members met up in hopes of having a great season with their steer and also their club. The ...
  • Wetaskiwin Youth Respect Veterans When I (Barry McDonald) met Lindsay Yargeau, representative of the youth of Wetaskiwin, at the Remembrance Day ceremonies and chatted with her about her views of Remembrance Day and what the event meant to youth in Wetaskiwin ...
  • Millet Remembers With 400 Strong The Honour Guard led the parade through Millet streets down to the Cenotaph, after a meaningful Remembrance Day Service which filled the Griffiths-Scott school gymnasium. Participants included the Wetaskiwin Air Cadets, RCMP ...
  • Stories Of Remembrance - Warburg The 2014 Royal Canadian Legion Branch # 205—Warburg Remembrance Day Service was held in the Community Hall with Legion President Ralph van Assen, Pastor Glen McBride, Pianist Caroline McDonald, Service Officer Frank Moar, ...
  • Telford House Christmas Craft Sale The Annual Telford House Christmas Craft Sale was held on Saturday and Sunday, November 15th and 16th. Telford House was filled with booths and displays of various artisans from Leduc and area. Quilting, woodcrafts, toques ...
  • 2 Accounts Of Leduc’s Remembrance Day Tom Dirsa It was just before 11am when Iain Weikl, President of the Leduc Canadian Legion Post #108, stood in front of the Cenotaph and invited the large standing crowd to participate in remembering those who served and are ...
  • Flags Of Remembrance In Sylvan Lake In Sylvan Lake, a thriving community south of Leduc, an event was created this year by Veteran Voices of Canada (VVC) and its founder Al Cameron, to honor Canadian veterans. The Flags of Remembrance was a proud display of ...
  • Edmonton Icon Gone Forever Since January 1958, the Edmonton Petroleum Club has been a shiny, chic element of the capital’s cultural fabric. An imposing structure, it sits on a large property near Kingsway Garden Mall, rich in tall spruce trees and ...
  • Breton Edged By Caroline The Breton Cougars 6-Man Football team saw their season come to an end one game too soon on Friday, November 14th, when they squared off for the third time against the Caroline Cougars. Breton had qualified to play in the ...
  • Council Notes From All Over Thorsby Village Acting Mayor Rick Hart opened the meeting with a few words about the meaning of Remembrance Day and asked that all present join him in observing a few moments of silence. Don Erechuck with DMJ Environmental, ...
  • Water Conservation In Leduc One Leduc City councillor thinks increasing water rates will aid in water conservation but another says education and encouraging responsible use is the way to go. Following a presentation on the City of Leduc’s Water Conservation, ...
  • Leduc Long Term Finance City of Leduc council endorsed a plan that will help provide a framework for council when it comes to making strategic financial decisions as the city continues to grow. At the Nov. 10 council meeting, Craig Binning of Hemson ...
  • 7th Annual Christmas In Mulhurst Bay On December 6th and 7th, 2014 Mulhurst Bay will be holding the 7th year of ‘Christmas in Mulhurst Bay’. This event involves five homes on the Christmas tour and a Christmas craft sale. The craft sale is held at the Mulhurst ...
  • Letter To The Editor Dear Editor: Thank you County of Wetaskiwin employee. On November 7, 2014, a County of Wetaskiwin employee came and cleaned up the road slope and ditch by our residence, removing grass sods and gravel which the grader operator ...
  • Wetaskiwin FCSS Women’s Conference The well attended 8th Annual City of Wetaskiwin Women’s Conference once again provided an interesting and informative day covering a number of areas that contribute to health and a sense of well-being. The seating at round ...
  • Wetaskiwin Firefighters Social Club Lit Up Main Street — Santa Claus Parade At 6:15 pm on Friday, November 14th, 2014, vehicles and people began converging on 50 Avenue (Main Street) in Wetaskiwin and spectators began lining the entire parade route stretching from 53rd Street to 47th Street. All ...
  • Canadian Tire’s Festival Of Trees Canadian Tire’s Festival of Trees was held at the Leduc Recreation Centre (LRC) on Saturday, November 15th and Sunday, November 16th. Over 30 trees were on display from various business and community organizations. Patrons ...
  • 2014 Wetaskiwin Football Banquet & Awards Night On Thursday night, November 13th, a swarm of young football players, coaches, volunteers and guests descended on the Wetaskiwin Memorial Centre to celebrate a stellar year of WDAFA Football. One of the phrases thrown out ...




 
  • Leduc Radio Ad
  • Industrial Netmedia
  • Industrial Netmedia
  • Industrial Netmedia