Canadian companies are working harder to recruit, retain young talent, report finds
Canadian employers are working harder and spending more to recruit and retain recent post-secondary graduates in an increasingly competitive labour market, a new report indicates.
Based on responses from hiring managers at 95 of Canada's largest companies, the study by Morneau Shepell found that:
• Eighty-three per cent of the companies surveyed participate in co-op programs and other forms of work-integrated learning initiatives that help them identify potential new employees. In a similar survey two years ago, 76 per cent of employers said they were participating in such programs.
• Compared to two years ago, companies are investing more in training. Fifty-one per cent said their firms spend more than $1000 per employee per year on average, while 30 per cent spend between $500 and $1000 per worker. In the 2016 edition of the survey, the comparable numbers were 46 and 24 per cent respectively.
• Fifty-seven per cent of respondents said that a shortage of skilled workers is having either a moderate (40 per cent) or severe (17 per cent) impact on their industry. The top five areas where companies reported skill shortages were: information technology; skilled trades; analytics, statistics and quantitative analysis; engineering; and leadership/management.
• Seventy per cent of respondents said their expectations of new graduates are higher now than five years ago, attributing those increased expectations to a changing work environment resulting from rapid technological advancements.
• By the same token, employers say that new graduates typically expect more from the workplace than their predecessors did five years ago. "Recent graduates are looking for more money, challenging assignments, increased flexibility and mobility, and quicker advancement," the report says. "Managing these expectations can be a challenge for employers."
• Despite current anxieties about the impact of disruptive technology on employment, the companies that took part in the study do not anticipate widespread job losses. Forty-six per cent expect that artificial intelligence and automation will result in an increase to their workforces, while 41 per cent predict a decrease.
The findings are based on a survey of 95 leading Canadian companies by Morneau Shepell in cooperation with the Business Council of Canada. Copies of the report — "Navigating Change: 2018 Business Council Skills Survey" — are available here.
"Businesses today operate in a highly complex, rapidly changing environment," said The Honourable John Manley, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Business Council of Canada. "The survey shows that Canadian companies are stepping up their efforts to hire graduates with a high level of technical capabilities as well as strong human skills such as the ability to collaborate and work in teams."
"Companies are facing unprecedented competition and disruption," said Stephen Liptrap, President and CEO of Morneau Shepell. "They either adapt or they die. The 2018 Business Council of Canada Skills Survey clearly points to the importance of a diverse workforce that's well-equipped with the human skills required to succeed in this rapidly changing economy. I'm very pleased to see Canadian companies supporting employees during this time of change by investing in workplace training programs and committing to healthier workplaces."