Canada Labour Outlook
With Canadian unemployment rates being at an all-time low of 6.9%, we are seeing an unprecedented labour shortage that is impacting every level of our organization. In addition to the low availability of labour, the workers that are available have become more and more difficult to reach due to COVID-19. Spectrum’s Division 30 and our HR team have had to pivot from traditional means of hiring and recruiting. We had to get creative to ensure we have enough sustainable labour availability to staff our projects.
Recruiting – Virtual Job Fairs
At one time our HR team would travel to universities in British Columbia and Alberta to conduct job fairs to get the word out about what we do. Today, all of this has now gone virtual. We continue to try and find ways to make the virtual hiring fairs more meaningful.
Recruiting – Referrals and Incentives
The number of applicants for the many positions that we advertise has become very low and the competition for skilled workers is very high. In 2021, we implemented a referral bonus for existing employees and a hiring bonus for new hires into some of our more technical roles – something that, in the past, would never have been a consideration.
Partnerships – Colleges and Communities
The community of Mackenzie, British Columbia, has been particularly hard hit by mill closures in the forestry sector. Spectrum has a very active presence in this region and has partnered with the municipality, the regional college and the provincial government to create a skills based training program for displaced forestry workers. Working with WorkBC and College of New Caledonia, we successfully built a curriculum to help local workers develop the certifications and training required to work in fuel reduction, invasive plant and forest development roles. Training courses offered include chainsaw certification, first aid training, forest resource road driving certification, invasive species training, S100/S185 fire suppression, pesticide applicator training and certification, “in-field” technology training on iPads and GPS. We have now had two intakes for the program and are thrilled to report that in a 10-day period we are able to provide the training and opportunity for employment to potential employees that are actively engaged in finding employment. 10 program graduates began working for Spectrum immediately following graduation from the program. This has been a very successful program to date, and we hope to continue building upon this success while possibly expanding the program in the future. Our world is changing, and our team has begun adapting and finding new and creative ways to bring the resources to our door that will allow us to continue in our positive growth trajectory.