Written by Chris George, CG&A Communications and CKCA Communications Advisor
We have all become too familiar with the realities of Canada’s skilled labour shortages. Two-thirds of Canadian businesses struggle to hire workers and a quarter have difficulties retaining employees. Skills Canada documents a 40 per cent shortage in skilled trades today and this is projected to grow as workers age and retire.
Certainly, the country’s skilled labour shortage is impacting all areas of Canada’s business community. Given its critical importance, CKCA is actively supporting its membership by keeping a pulse on the issues at play and by providing tools for members to profile their businesses and attract new employees.
CKCA keeps its members abreast of the latest news, whether it is the data from Statistics Canada Labour Report or a new government program for skilled trades. For example, recently a 2022 StatsCan study was shared that provided current insights into private sector business strategies to deal with personnel recruitment, retention and training.
A 3M Canada survey tells us that there is much work to still be done to attract students to consider a career in skilled trades. Even though 96 per cent agree that the country’s workforce needs more skilled trades workers, three in four Canadians (76 per cent) say they would never pursue a skilled trade for themselves.
This 3M survey also revealed that nine in 10 (92 per cent) believe there is a lot of opportunity in skilled trades, and 91 per cent trust vocational or trade schools to give them the education needed to have a successful career. Eight in 10 (81 per cent) believe they would earn as much money in a skilled trade as they would in a career that requires a university degree.
With this appreciation for skilled trades, it remains a wonder why young people do not consider a career in a trades business. In a recent Forbes Magazine interview, CEO Mark Perna of consulting firm TFS urged employers to target messaging about the value of skilled trade careers to young workers, their parents, friends, classmates and teachers. Also, Perna asserts young people need to know more about the significant financial incentives in pursuing a career in the skilled trades.
On this point, CKCA is supporting its members by developing materials that better describes our businesses and the varied career opportunities within our industry. The Communications Committee is developing presentations for business and community meetings, for student tours, school visits and to share with guidance and career counsellors.
Statistics tell us that skilled labour challenges will be with all trades, manufacturers and retailers for years to come. We must all plan accordingly. CKCA’s efforts on this issue are aimed to give members a competitive advantage when dealing with the attraction and retention of employees.