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Small businesses face biggest recruiting challenges


May 17, 2013
By Canadian Garden Centre & Nursery

May 17, 2013, Toronto — There were nearly 300,000 unfilled jobs across
Canada in the first quarter of the year and, according to data compiled
by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), small
businesses are facing the biggest recruiting challenges.

The CFIB reported that the percentage of unfilled private sector jobs remained steady at 2.5 per cent.

"As
the economy has improved and unemployment has come down, companies,
particularly smaller companies, have struggled to fill open jobs," said
Ted Mallett, CFIB's chief economist and vice-president. "While unfilled
jobs may seem harmless, they represent missed opportunity for business
and the economy."

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Businesses with fewer than 19 employees had the
highest vacancy rate (4.2 per cent), while businesses with 500 or more
employees had the lowest (1.6 per cent). Recently, the federal
government introduced changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW)
program that could make it even harder for smaller firms to find the
staff they need.

“Smaller businesses structurally have higher
vacancy rates,” added Mallett. “The TFW program has been one way for
these businesses to fill openings that they could not fill otherwise.
Ironically, it was problems at larger firms that prompted changes to the
program, yet it is smaller companies with legitimate challenges that
will bear the brunt of the impacts.”

By sector, Canada’s
construction industry has the country’s highest vacancy rate (3.6 per
cent), although that rate is dropping, while retail has a vacancy rate
of two per cent. The highest numbers of actual jobs available are in
hospitality, retail, construction and manufacturing – each sector has
30,000 to 40,000 openings across the country.

Saskatchewan now
has the highest vacancy rate in the country (3.9 per cent). Alberta (3.7
per cent) and Newfoundland and Labrador (2.9 per cent) also have above
average vacancy rates, and both continue to rise. British Columbia and
Quebec are right around the national average (2.5 per cent), while
Manitoba (2.3 per cent), Ontario (2.1 per cent) Nova Scotia and New
Brunswick (1.9 per cent) and Prince Edward Island (1.5 per cent) fall
short of the national rate.

Job vacancies are defined as openings
that have been vacant for at least four months because business owners
have been unable to find suitable employees. First quarter findings are
based on 2,909 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of
CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. The series is based on
78,792 responses going back to 2004.


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