Labour Shortage or Dated Recruitment and Retention Practices?

The regional unemployment rate for Vancouver Island is about 5.0%. The outlook for the BC Labour Market for 2019-2029 is comprised of:

  • 37,600 new jobs due to economic growth

  • 106,200 replacement jobs due to retiring workers

Top occupations include:

  • Retail salesperson

  • Registered nurses

  • Retail and wholesale managers

  • Nurse aides

  • Administrative officers

  • Social and community service workers

  • Janitors, caretakers and building superintendents

  • Food counter attendants

  • Teachers

The greatest factors attributing to the labour shortage include:

  • Lack of affordable housing

  • Poor transit options

  • Cost of living

  • CRB/EI Options

  • Work from home options

With many organizations, institutions and sectors facing challenges related to recruitment and retention of workers, it is necessary that employers tap into creative solutions to address these challenges. For example, in the United States, the construction sector has been tapping into rehabilitating and re-entering prisoners into the workforce. Other solutions include modifying work arrangements to allow parents to return to work on part-time or partial basis. The biggest untapped potential is attracting, recruiting and retaining young Indigenous workers. On the other end, less extreme measures and solutions, ranging from practical, attainable and competitive include:

  • Modifying organizational policies to be more flexible, inclusive and accommodating (e.g., sick days, vacation, hours of work, benefits, insurance, pension etc.)

  • Adopting the 4-day work week

  • Reducing hours or days of work

  • Shifting the workplace to be more task/project-oriented versus hour oriented

  • Promoting job enrichment/sharing through the creation of base-line positions and awarding projects and tasks based on a bidding/expression of interest process (accompanied by an increase in pay and responsibility for a specified duration)

  • Partnering with other organizations and create/establish work sharing options, education and training

  • Engaging with referral bonuses and recruiting agencies

  • Shortening and streamlining the recruitment process

  • Embracing remote work opportunities to target and reach a better pool of candidates

  • Developing pathways to employment and career development

In terms of tapping into the Indigenous labour pool consider the following tactics:

  • Learning about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action, The Final Report on MMIWG and BC's Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act

  • Decolonizing/Indigenizing policies, procedures, the built environment and ways of doing things

  • Committing to developing and fostering Indigenous talent of all ages and all levels of the organization

  • Establishing Indigenous recruitment, inclusion and retention strategies throughout all levels of the organization, not specific to a role, person or department

  • Promoting Indigenous leadership positions

  • Creating learning opportunities for non-Indigenous people to engage and learn Indigenous ways of being

  • Incorporating history, land, art and language into the workplace

  • Supporting Indigenous organizations, businesses, relationships, programs and services

  • Embedding culture and protocol into organizational practices when appropriate

All and all, the labor market is proving to be a competitive landscape and it is becoming more apparent and necessary to think outside of the box, and implement innovative and forward thinking solutions. It is also necessary to incorporate and embed reconciliation and Indigenization into current work practices, structures and systems. Not only will it help you meet your current operational needs, but Indigenization and reconciliation has the ability to expand your business into the Indigenous economy.


*Please note these are only ideas and suggestions and are not to be considered legal or formal recommendations

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