PEI

Companies need to up their recruitment game amid labour shortage, says research group

Prince Edward Island and the rest of Atlantic Canada are facing a labour shortage, and companies will need to think in new ways about recruiting staff, says the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council.

Atlantic Provinces Economic Council says a good reputation will be key

It's not enough to just advertise a job any more, says the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council. (Rich Kareckas/The Associated Press)

Prince Edward Island and the rest of Atlantic Canada are facing a labour shortage, and companies will need to think in new ways about recruiting staff, says the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council.

APEC issued a report on the problem last week. A wide range of industries are facing shortages, said senior researcher Patrick Brannon — from hospitality to construction to health care to IT to retail.

The problem is particularly acute in rural areas, said Brannon.

"We've had a little bit stronger population growth, more immigration, into the cities. In rural areas there's not as much immigration," said Brannon.

The pandemic has made the problem worse but didn't start it. Older people are retiring more quickly than younger people are coming into the workforce, and that has inevitably led to a shortage. The pandemic accelerated the trend for some lower-paid industries and prompted people to reconsider their options for careers.

In this environment, said Brannon, companies are not going to be able to simply advertise a job and then sort through the resumés as they roll in.

""There's fewer employees out there for new jobs so they have to be a little bit more dynamic in terms of their strategies," he said.

"Creating your company as a company of choice that has a good reputation, is good to work for, that's going to be really important to help your company stand out."

That will mean different things in different sectors. Companies should consider work-life balance for their employees, perhaps allowing them to work from home if possible. Wage increases may be required.

Governments can help in some traditional ways, said Brannon, such as encouraging immigration and offering training. They might also offer human-resource support to smaller companies that may not have an HR department, to help them better plan for recruiting new talent.

With files from Angela Walker

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