60% of businesses in the Red Deer area are experiencing a moderate to severe labor shortage – Red Deer Advocate


High operating costs due to inflation, labor shortages and supply chain issues are causing the most pain for Red Deer and area businesses, survey results show of the Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce in late September.

The results showed that 60% of companies are experiencing a moderate to severe labor shortage, with 82% of companies experiencing a labor shortage at some level.

The top three barriers to hiring for companies were skills and experience (73%), small pool of hires (56%) and actual wages vs. expected wages (44%).

But over the next 12 months, 51% of respondents expect their business to grow. Another 44% expect their business to stay the same, and 4.5% expect it to contract.

“We know there are headwinds across the economy in Canada that could create a downturn. However, Alberta is being identified as a province that will experience either a lot less downturn or maybe none at all due to industries doing really well,” said chamber CEO Scott Robinson.

He said oil and gas and agriculture are two examples of strong sectors in Alberta, which will fuel other parts of the economy, leading to optimism in the business community.

He said the shortage of skilled labor is a recurring theme across all industries and across the country.

According to Statistics Canada, employers across all sectors in Canada were actively seeking to fill nearly one million (997,000) job vacancies in the second quarter, the highest quarterly number on record.

“It’s a systematic problem. The reality is that we have created a business ecosystem that requires a number of workers and we have an aging population.

He said the main driver of labor shortages is retirement. The largest group in Canada is baby boomers, born between 1948 and 1964, and rising retirements have put a focus on immigration and how to accommodate older workers who will still be working. part time.

Chambers of Commerce across Canada, including Red Deer, are advocating for policies to increase labor mobility, immigration and flexibility for international student workers.

Provincially, chambers are pushing for more support through Alberta Jobs & Employment for additional resources to support employment-focused initiatives, such as wage subsidies for jobs less well paid.

Robinson said the provincial government knows that if employers don’t have enough staff to do the job, it has a negative impact on the economy.

“So if we want to continue to grow as a province, we have to find solutions to some of these problems, so (the province) is definitely at the table. It’s about trying to find the right programs and services that increase employability and the employees who come here.

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