Labour shortage putting pressure on local businesses

·3 min read

The economic effects from the COVID-19 pandemic continue to place pressure on business around the country as ongoing labour shortages are causing some business to run in neutral.

Both big business and small businesses report they are struggling to find staff.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business says that only 40 per cent of small businesses are making normal sales during the current time, so offering a wage increase is something that is just not possible.

On top of that are older workers who are nearing or have reached retirement age and have no intention of returning to work.

The current unemployment rate is around 7 per cent, and with those numbers employers should have no problem filling positions, but even with many people not working, companies can’t find people to fill their job openings. W

ith a shortage of workers, many business are running behind on the jobs they need to complete. On top of that, businesses have been turning down work because they haven’t got the manpower to get the extra jobs done.

This stymies a company’s growth and keeps them from expanding.

According to Stats Canada, there were 731,900 vacancies across the county in the second quarter of 2021.

A drive down any well travelled road in Simcoe County and the surrounding region reveals a lot of advertising from companies seeking to fill positions.

Tottenham’s Flex- n-Gate manufacturing plant has openings for 50 new people and has a plan for a new assembly line in the coming months, yet they are struggling to fill those positions.

The plant produces car jacks for various automotive manufacturers.

“Everyone is hiring,” said plant HR manager Linda Carr. “F&P is hiring, Honda is hiring. Right now, Honda is looking for 700 people. We’re a tier 1 supplier. We supply directly to the auto makers.”

Even though the jobs are available, Ms. Carr said the struggle to find employees has been on-going since the start of the pandemic.

“It’s been on-going over the last year and a-half. We typically hire from time to time, as we have a natural attrition like retirements. We’ve probably had ten people retire just due to housing prices when they realized they could sell their homes for over the asking price.”

The positions at Flex-N-Gate are entry level assembly line jobs.

Mr. Carr said the mentality of job seekers has changed with some people applying for jobs, but expecting to be able to work remotely at home rather than show up at their place of employment.

Flex-N-Gate has advertised all over the region telling people that they have positions open.

“All the jobs we have are full time,” Ms. Carr said. “We put out flyers in the mail. We have three billboards up. There’s a mobile billboard. We post on-line – wherever we can post, we post. We’ve implemented a referral program so if an employee refers someone and they stay for 90 days, they each get $500. We also have a signing bonus. If we hire you from the street and you stay 90 days, you get $500.”

Currently employees at the plant live in several towns around the region and come in from as far away as Barrie. With so many companies looking to hire, some job seekers are now placing resumés with several companies and holding out for the most money.

This makes it difficult for some places that can’t compete with wages at larger companies in the region.

Brian Lockhart, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, New Tecumseth Times

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