More par­tic­i­pa­tion sought for Em­ployer One Sur­vey

The Chatham Daily News - - NEWS - TOM MOR­RI­SON

The Chatham-Kent Work­force Plan­ning Board is en­cour­ag­ing busi­nesses to par­tic­i­pate in a sur­vey that will help the board iden­tify bar­ri­ers in the lo­cal work­force.

The 2019 Em­ployer One Sur­vey can be filled out un­til Jan. 31. It asks busi­nesses about the de­mo­graph­ics of their work­force, their staffing lev­els, how many jobs they ex­pect to fill and chal­lenges they have faced in find­ing em­ploy­ees.

Kristy Ja­cobs, project man­ager with the plan­ning board, said this will be an im­por­tant year for the sur­vey since they will now have five years of data avail­able.

“Each year it tells us a lit­tle bit of a snap­shot of what’s go­ing on, but with the five years look­ing back, we’re go­ing to be able to see some pretty solid trends,” she said.

“If it’s show­ing us some­thing that could be fix­able, then it’s some­thing that we could mo­bi­lize the com­mu­nity on and start look­ing at ei­ther train­ing or what­ever we might need to do to ad­dress that short­fall.”

Last year, 284 em­ploy­ers filled out the sur­vey, which rep­re­sents about nine per cent of busi­nesses in the com­mu­nity.

In or­der to be “sta­tis­ti­cally sig­nif­i­cant,” said Ja­cobs, the sur­vey needs re­sponses from 12 per cent of lo­cal busi­nesses, which would have been 365 em­ploy­ers in 2018.

Ja­cobs said they have changed their ap­proach some­what this year to try to bring in more re­sponses. In De­cem­ber, they in­vited fre­quent re­spon­ders to fill out the sur­vey early.

“We have done some mail-outs this year, which is some­thing we have never done be­fore, hit­ting some of the com­pa­nies and the or­ga­ni­za­tions that we haven’t seen touch our sur­vey,” she said. “We sent them out some in­for­ma­tion to kind of get them think­ing about it and then, in the next two weeks, we’re go­ing to start with the fol­low up and touch them again and see if they need some help to com­plete it.”

This “per­sonal touch” seems to have the most suc­cess, although there will con­tinue to be ad­ver­tis­ing through so­cial me­dia, the movie the­atre, ra­dio and news­pa­pers, she said.

Ja­cobs said some of the in­for­ma­tion they are look­ing for does not have to be ex­act.

“We just want to get a flavour and over­all the num­ber of peo­ple they em­ploy,” she said. “Those would be the hard­est things for them to kind of pull up, but then they’re go­ing to be asked about things like, ‘Did you post jobs last year? Were you able to fill those?’”

So far the board seems to be re­ceiv­ing a high num­ber of re­sponses, she said.

“We are look­ing for 300 re­sponses this year,” said Ja­cobs. “We are sit­ting at just about 100 right now, so we’re re­ally ex­cited, but we don’t want to get too cocky be­cause it is still pretty early.”

The sur­vey is avail­able at www.sur­vey­mon­key.com/r/ WV3PFFV.

Ja­cobs

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