How do you find allies in the war for talent?
Two-thirds of Canada’s senior executives are finding it difficult to find the qualified employees they need. A third say that shortages of skilled labour are preventing the growth of their businesses, while almost half are taking their talent searches beyond Canada.
These trends, revealed in the latest C-Suite Survey by the Gandalf Group, illustrate the growing difficulty faced by Canadian enterprises to grow strong, competitive businesses. The pain is particularly acute in the technical and engineering fields, finance and management, and, given Canada’s strong resource sector, geology and mining.
This may come as a surprise, considering that employers and jobseekers alike have more online tools at their disposal than ever before to connect ambition with opportunity. The problem, however, may be that there are too many tools.
John Mehrmann, CEO of Zylog Systems (Canada) Ltd., says it’s often difficult for employers to rise above the noise of so many social media and career websites with a clear and engaging message that will catch the attention of the right individuals.
“In addition, when you have crucial roles to fill within your organization, your talent search must also reach out those individuals who are not actively seeking a new job,” he said.
Since 1995, Zylog has provided IT and engineering professional services, human capital resource management applications, and technology solutions that help employers and jobseekers alike achieve the outcomes they need in order to thrive.
“A new hire is an investment that must provide a quick return,” Mehrmann said. “You need someone who knows your industry and will be a fit with your team, your environment and the culture of your organization.”
Addressing these criteria requires much more than simply looking at a resume. It is a specialized, labour-intensive effort; many employers simply do not have the in-house resources to carry it out effectively.
Employers will instead turn to a staffing agency, particularly to fill positions in technical and engineering fields that are in high demand and require candidates with current certifications, such as in SAP, ITIL, business analysis and project management.
But Mehrmann warns that not all staffing agencies are equal. What distinguishes a mediocre agency from an effective one? Relationships matter “The size of the agency isn’t important,” Mehrmann said. “What matters is what kind of rapport does the agency have with its candidates? This tells you a lot about the caliber of candidates that agency will put forward.”
This isn’t difficult to assess. It’s demonstrated by how knowledgeable the agency is about the individual jobseekers with whom it works. This is, after all, a relationship-based business. To match the right candidate with the right job requires a deep understanding of that individual’s personality, character and long-term goals in addition to their work experience and expertise.
Perks pay off
Another key indicator is to look at what the agency does to attract jobseekers and support those individuals who typically move from employer to employer on a contract basis. In today’s competitive environment, many agencies have come to offer perks that are comparable to a benefits plan offered by an employer. This can include discounted group rates on health and disability insurance, office equipment, travel and accommodation, and even training and certification.
“We see the obligation of an agency is to reach out and make up for all those things which contractors and freelancers have lost over the years,” Mehrmann said. “Providing these kinds of benefits as an agency attracts and retains the top talent which employers need most.”
And this applies regardless of whether an employer needs to fill a full-time permanent position or a shortterm contract. An effective agency is one which acts like a destination employer.
“The reason why you are hiring an agency is to get the top talent that is going to provide the best return on your investment,” Mehrmann said.
John Mehrmann, CEO, Zylog Systems (Canada) Ltd.