An ever-shrinking pool of skilled workers threatens to stifle Canada’s economic progress in the coming years. In this article, we’ll discuss why this is happening and what businesses, governments, and individuals can do to address it. We’ll also review why the federal government expects this problem to only get worse before it gets better, as well as strategies that experts have recommended to address the skilled worker shortage in Canada.
Use job boards with a local reach
If you’re looking for skilled workers, then job boards that target a specific region are ideal. By targeting local job seekers, you make it easier for them to be as close to your office or workplace as possible. This can help minimize commuting time and costs, which also results in higher productivity among employees. When deciding which job board to use, consider how many jobs there are and how easily you can narrow down those listings to regional ones. It’s also helpful if they offer flexibility when it comes to searching based on location; some will let you search by city or province while others only allow one option.
Go after companies where you know your skills are needed
If you’re a skilled worker and want to find out where there are opportunities for your services, check out existing or new companies. There’s no point trying to plug into an existing company that isn’t going to need your skills—or try to float from one job site position to another if it isn’t really what you want. If you have specific skills, focus on industries and sectors where those skills are needed. For example, if you’re a software developer looking for work, look at technology-focused businesses. If you’re skilled at managing finances but would rather be self-employed than working for someone else, find out what businesses could use your services and start pitching yourself as a private consultant.
Leverage your network
It’s not enough to just post a help wanted ad and hope that skilled workers will walk through your door; you have to go out and find them. Posting online isn’t enough either; you need to reach out beyond your immediate circles and make contact with organizations that know your industry inside and out. Tap into those networks, attend trade shows, send emails—do whatever it takes to get in front of people who can help with your hiring needs. Most importantly, leverage word-of-mouth marketing techniques whenever possible; they work!
Attend networking events
One way to find skilled workers is through networking. It’s a tried-and-true method for meeting potential employees, especially if you want to hire people who are already located in Canada. Attend industry or business networking events or visit other businesses as part of community outreach initiatives (for example, volunteer at a local charity). When you meet someone with relevant experience, ask if they’re available for work—you never know what will transpire. Just be sure not to come across as desperate; rather than asking Do you have any openings? consider getting creative and saying something like You seem like an awesome candidate!
Ask people if they know someone who might be hiring
It’s easy to get discouraged when you’re job hunting. And if you find yourself asking people if they know anyone who might have a job for you, it might be time to re-evaluate your search strategy. Instead of relying on word of mouth, try looking at Canada Jobs or other sites that list available jobs. You can also try visiting local businesses and asking them if they need help with anything—you never know what opportunities will present themselves! When you do find a job opening that seems like a good fit, apply immediately and don’t forget to follow up after an interview—even if you didn’t land the gig!
Connect on LinkedIn and Facebook groups
Use these two platforms to find groups and connections around your topic. Join relevant groups on LinkedIn, and search for Canadian business pages on Facebook to connect with people with similar interests to you. Don’t worry about knowing anyone at first; what really matters is that you build a strong relationship from there. Once you’ve posted a question or comment, introduce yourself, tell them why you think they’re important, ask if they know of any opportunities and follow up! If you do all of these things right, people will start following your updates and connecting with you so that it becomes easier over time to reach out directly when an opportunity arises.
Look for ways to volunteer or intern
As an entrepreneur, it’s important to be able to wear many hats. But if you really want to get your business off of the ground, you might have to learn new skills. And that means either taking courses or finding another way to get hands-on experience. One of my favourite ways is by volunteering or interning for a company that I admire or want to emulate. Chances are they’ll take interns and volunteers—and it’s a great opportunity for both parties: you get real-world work experience while they get free help!
Offer free services to get exposure
As you’re getting your business off the ground, consider offering some free services to get exposure—for example, if you want to start a freelance web development business, offer to build websites for non-profits and local businesses for free. You could also think about offering a lower rate for entry-level clients who will help you establish your portfolio. The more work you can do before entering into contracts with paying clients, the better.
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