Employers look for new ways to recruit as aging workers contribute to ongoing labour shortage


Lee Valley Tools put up a recruitment sign exterior its headquarters in Ottawa a number of months in the past with a line reflecting a company shift: “No Experience Needed.”

The firm, which has retail shops throughout Canada, as nicely as an Ottawa-based manufacturing arm that builds its instruments, desperately wanted workers. 

Known for attracting older workers on the retail facet, Lee Valley had seen a wave of retirements throughout COVID-19. But with demand up for its merchandise as individuals embraced hobbies like gardening and woodworking throughout the pandemic, CEO Jason Tasse initially resorted to hiring members of an area lacrosse workforce he coaches to fill orders. 

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As restrictions lifted, the corporate selected a long-term technique. They would pay extra, supply higher advantages, improve flexibility round shifts and spend money on coaching these whose abilities weren’t but developed within the areas required. 

“We deserted most conventional hiring practices and protocols,” stated Tasse. In the previous, they’d inform potential workers what sort of schedule to anticipate, together with requiring particular abilities and references. Now, Tasse stated, “all of that was out the window.”

Similar conversations are taking place at organizations throughout Canada, in accordance to Bank of Montreal senior economist Robert Kavcic, with corporations in lots of sectors remodeling their hiring practices as they face excessive post-lockdown demand for providers and a decent labour market. 

BMO senior economist Robert Kavcic says retirements are the one greatest issue contributing to the labour shortage in Canada. (Sarah Bridge/CBC)

Kavcic stated labour participation “is just about again to the place it was pre-COVID, if not increased, throughout all ages class. So, it is not a case of individuals not wanting to work.” 

Kavcic acknowledges there are a variety of various causes behind the labour crunch, however the single greatest issue, he stated, is that Canada’s boomer technology has began to retire en masse. Pandemic working situations and a powerful stock market might have incentivized some individuals to go away sooner than deliberate, he stated, “however whether or not it was now or over the following few years, this was one thing that was coming anyway.”

Indeed, greater than 300,000 Canadians have already retired to this point in 2022, in accordance to Statistics Canada — up from 233,000 final 12 months. What’s extra, the variety of individuals nearing retirement age is increased than ever earlier than, with round one in 5 Canadians of working age between 55 and 64 years outdated. With the common age of retirement sitting at 64, meaning many extra Canadians are set to go away their jobs.

Even employers who have not seen massive numbers of retirements occur but are starting to plan forward. 

Recruiting by way of TikTok and Instagram

With will increase in condominium and different constructing initiatives, the City of Toronto wants engineers, metropolis planners and different workers now. 

Last month, the municipality ran a recruitment drive, pushing out movies on TikTok and Instagram, calling for candidates for roles at Toronto Water in areas such as wastewater remedy.

The City of Toronto wants workers now, like these engineers, to assist sustain with metropolis constructing initiatives, however it’s also trying forward to looming retirements. (Ousama Farag/CBC)

Gord Mitchell, who runs the R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant within the Beaches neighbourhood, stated retirement numbers have remained minimal at his location to this point. 

“But, , you see the oncoming tsunami,” he stated.

“We have lots of workers over 30 years of service, perhaps 35. Luckily it is an incredible place to work [and] individuals don’t need to go away,” he stated, “however eventually everybody leaves.”

WATCH | Aging workers including to Canada’s labour shortage:

Employers face wave of retirements whereas battling labour shortages

Baby boomers are retiring in enormous numbers, placing extra strain on an already-tight labour market. Now, employers are attempting to keep forward of the curve and even carry some again to work.

City spokesperson Brad Ross stated upcoming retirements are at all times high of thoughts as of late.

“People are going to retire, individuals are going to transfer. So we’d like to proceed to preserve that pipeline open,” he stated.

Other methods

Beyond the recruitment drive on social media, he stated, town has carried out different methods to entice and retain new workers.

Those embody partnering with native universities to rent engineering graduates and tapping into underemployed populations by working with non-profit companies that concentrate on inclusive hiring, something to “entice youthful new expertise who could be prepared to then keep after which develop within the group,” Ross stated.

Back at Lee Valley, Tasse stated their new hiring insurance policies have helped entice 232 new workers over the previous 12 months — a quantity that’s serving to them broaden operations. 

On the retail facet, versatile work choices and elevated wages have even allowed the shops to entice some people who’ve just lately retired from different organizations. 

Offering “individuals alternatives to come again on their very own phrases” whereas aligning with their private pursuits round instruments, Tasse stated, means retiring boomers are literally “an excellent match” for the corporate.

With the financial system anticipated to cool within the coming months, Kavcic stated the depth of the competitors round jobs in Canada might reduce. But with the nation’s inhabitants persevering with to age, retirements are all however assured to proceed to climb.


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