Job fair in London highlights challenges in today's market
'There's definitely a shortage in the workforce', one employer says
Rising costs of living and record-high inflation are posing challenges for both job seekers struggling to secure work that pays well, and employers who are finding it hard to fill positions.
With a shortage of workers in certain sectors like the trades, employers are having to get creative and offer incentives to get people to expand their horizons and work jobs outside of their scope.
"There's definitely a shortage in the workforce for these types of positions and that's currently our biggest challenge. Right now we have more jobs available than people to fill them," said Jason Robertson of Clintar Commercial Services in London, Ont.
Robertson was looking to recruit more snow removal labourers and equipment operators for his business at the London and Area Work' job fair at White Oaks Mall on Tuesday. More than 45 employers from various industries were at the fair to network with job seekers.
Clintar is adding more part-time positions to provide flexibility to potential employees, Roberston said.
A lack of part-time jobs has been the biggest obstacle for Himil and Dhrumil Patel, who are both international students at Fanshawe College. The two were at the job fair in search of any work that aligns with their busy school schedule.
"It's definitely hard to find a job, especially part-time," Dhrumil said. "Studies are also important, so we need to do both to be stable both financially and with our studies."
The pair said that most job postings they encounter are only full-time which is why restaurant and retail jobs seem to be the best option for them so they can focus on school while also earning a living.
Demand for higher wages
Roberston said the biggest concerns he hears from workers are about hourly wages not being enough. And the economy's current state limits employers in how much they can help, he said.
"These entry level positions can sometimes be felt the hardest, so we try to do what we can as a company, but at the same time we also have to remain competitive with our pricing, so it's kind of a catch-22 for us."
Sukhman Bath, of aviation manufacturer Diamond Aircraft, has noticed a reduction in applications for manufacturing labour positions. She believes this is due the demand for higher paying jobs.
"People are moving abroad now more than ever," Bath said. "The aircraft industry is booming a lot after the pandemic, so we are hiring but we're also having a shortage of qualified candidates because they're getting more wages with bigger corporations".
In addition to offering more benefits to its staff, Bath said Diamond is also adding internships to students from all sorts of educational backgrounds looking to gain work experience.
"We're not entirely pushing away experience and talent because we know not everyone has those. Some people have it from other countries, so working with them is a win-win for all of us," she said.
No shortage of opportunities and competition
Daniela Martinez wants to work in human resources. She believes there are plenty of job opportunities and the market is quite competitive, describing it as a "fight for the talent".
Although high cost of living is the norm for Martinez, who arrived in London from Mexico in January, she's heard from many of her friends that their current wages don't reflect inflation, she said.
"It's challenging but I think you need to keep searching to have more income," she said.
Sally Amini finds that although the job market's competitive nature makes it hard to land a job for newcomers like herself, it's not impossible, she said. However, Amini believes that employers need to be more flexible in their job requirements.
"They want somebody with a background and experience, so that's why people don't give their resumes, but if employers can give them a chance for a few months of training, maybe those people have potential to flourish and show their performance," she added.
Both Amini and Martinez say they're open to any type of job that gets their foot in the door, and if those jobs can't make ends meet, they would take on an extra job.