Employers eager to fill full-time, permanent jobs left empty from pandemic, labour analyst says

The labout market in Sudbury has undergone a lot of change over the past two years. When the pandemic began, many people lost their jobs as businesses closed. As the crisis has continued, many have made life decisions about career changes, or left the workforce altogether.

The Workforce Planning Council for Sudbury-Manitoulin, which conducts research and notes trends in the labour market, is now seeing 2,500 new job postings a month on its online job board — and those aren't part-time positions.

"On our job board — compared to other data that we had — there are, more full-time jobs and more permanent jobs," said executive director Reggie Caverson.

"Before there were a lot more part-time jobs and now it seems that employers are scrambling and wanting to keep people and not just put people in part-time employment."

If employers are having a hard time filling certain positions, Caverson suggests it may be due to the wages or hours they're offering.

"We've heard this from other employers saying that if you pay well and treat your staff well, you generally can get staff," she said.

"So it really does depend on what you, as an employer, want to do in terms of your hiring wages and what kind of hours you're giving people and the kind of job security that you're giving people as well."

Caverson notes that people who were laid off or lost their jobs because of the pandemic have moved on or gone into training or found new careers.

"So now there's been a large vacancy in those entry-level jobs. That's always existed, but not to the extent that we're seeing right now," she added.

High demand jobs

According to employment data from Statistics Canada, labour shortages increased across the country in most sectors. The data shows the number of job vacancies in Canada reached an all-time high of 912,600 in the third quarter of 2021.

Jobs in high demand on the Workforce Planning Council's job board include posting for health care professions like nurses or personal support workers (PSWs), transport truck drivers, or positions in hospitality or retail-sales.

Employers eager to fill full-time, permanent jobs left empty from pandemic, labour analyst says

Those are similar to what Shelly Vanhorn has been seeing on the job board at the YMCA Northeastern Employment Services. She is the business development manager and keeps a close eye on the local labour market.

The jobs in high demand on the YMCA's board includes all types of drivers (Class A and Z), information technology (IT), retail-sales, hospitality and again anything in health care, especially PSWs.

"[PSWs] are always in short demand and the pandemic has caused a bigger shortage in this field," she said.

Hidden job market

Vanhorn says many job seekers don't realize there is a hidden job market, where most full-time jobs are posted.

She explains that most part-time and minimum wage jobs are posted on national job banks, but local employers with full-time and permanent positions want to be more selective so they turn to an employment service provider.

"The employer would not post on Indeed or the [Canadian] Job Bank for the whole world to see," Vanhorn explains. Instead they contact an employment service provider, like the YMCA, to post exclusively on their various platforms or job boards.

Vanhorn added that the employment service provider will also screen all the applicants.

"So this would never hit the other internet sites; we would keep this posting and we would navigate that process for the employer," she said.

Vanhorn said the YMCA Northeastern Employment Services office saw a lot of clients early on in the pandemic because of layoffs.

"They had to do a quick pivot and decide, am I willing to ride this wave — the uncertainty of opening and closing, opening and closing or can I put my focus into something that is more sustainable and more secure?"

There was also the added pressure of wondering if they should wait to see if their employer would call them back to work.

"How long can someone last without making their wage, without having a wage coming in? Being loyal is a wonderful thing, but at the end of the day, you have bills to pay," Vanhorn said.

Both Vanhorn and Caverson suggest job seekers take a look at their skills, the education they have, and what they bring to the table, and then look at what's available on their respective job boards.

"I would say reach out to us to get the support that you need," Vanhorn said.

"In addition, let friends and family know that you're looking. We're all on social media sites. Word of mouth is your best way to get the word out."

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