Ottawa Citizen

Profession­al staff scarce, poll finds

Engineers, nurses, accountant­s enjoying higher pay as bosses compete to hold them

- BY ERIC BEAUCHESNE

A shortage of profession­al workers is forcing Canadian employers to boost salaries to attract and retain qualified staff, survey results suggest.

Just more than one- quarter of Canadian employers are having difficulty filling permanent profession­al positions due to a lack of available talent, which they say is threatenin­g their growth plans, according to a survey by Manpower Canada, an employment services firm.

And just under one- quarter say that due to the shortage they are paying higher wages than a year ago for the same positions.

“ Employers are telling us that it is becoming increasing­ly difficult to find qualified profession­al talent,” said Lori Rogers, vice- president of operations for Manpower Canada. “ With competitio­n for talent ever more fierce, in many cases employers are forced to offer higher compensati­on to attract and retain staff.”

Nor is the shortage of profession­al workers — usually those with a degree, such as engineers, accountant­s or nurses — most severe in the West, where overall labour shortages have been widely reported.

The summer survey of 960 Canadian firms found that almost four in 10 employers in Atlantic Canada indicated they would have hired more profes- sional staff if they could have found them, the highest proportion of any region, followed by just more than one- quarter in Western Canada and Quebec and just under one- quarter in Ontario.

Just more than half of Quebec employers also said they were paying more for the same job to attract and retain such workers, the most of any region, followed by 32 per cent of those in Atlantic Canada and just under 20 per cent in Western Canada and Ontario.

“ Talent shortages for profession­al- level positions are growing, and this trend is beginning to impact the bottom line,” said Ms. Rogers.

The problem is not limited to Canada, according to results of the internatio­nal survey covering 32,000 companies in 26 countries by the Canadian agency’s parent, Manpower Inc.

It found that 29 per cent of employers in the industrial­ized countries surveyed would have hired more staff if they could have found qualified profession­al talent, and that 25 per cent indicated that talent shortages were causing them to pay higher wages.

The surveys were conducted to determine the availabili­ty of suitable permanent profession­al candidates in the marketplac­e and the impact of available talent on wage inflation. It followed survey findings earlier this year which revealed that many of the hardest to fill positions globally were profession­al roles, such as accountant­s, informatio­n technology programmer­s and developers, management and executives, and experience­d sales representa­tives.

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