Shannon Baikie, regional manager, community and labour market services with NIEFS, says there are more jobs out there right now than there are qualified people to fill them, leading to an almost 25 per cent increase in job postings last quarter over the same period last year. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror

NIEFS: More jobs than people to fill them creates new set of issues

Summer labour market study shows almost 25 per cent increase in postings over same time last year

The North Island Emplyment Foundations Society (NIEFS) has released its most recent set of jobs numbers, showing an almost 25 per cent increase in postings over the same period last year due, in part, to the fact that there seem to be more jobs out there than there are qualified people to fill them.

From July 1 through Sept. 30 of this year, NIEFS posted 1,028 jobs on its job board, up 244 from last summer. This increases the total number of postings for the year through the end of September to be up 870 from 2016 and up over 1,000 over 2015 numbers.

The report also shows that over 60 per cent of the job postings during the summer period were categorized as “full-time,” with 24 per cent being listed as “part time,” six per cent being categorized as “seasonal,” four per cent “casual” and three per cent “contract.”

Regional manager of community and labour market services with NIEFS, Shannon Baikie, who prepared the report, says that summer-over-summer increase is huge.

“I had to expand my charts,” Baikie says with a laugh. “I think, overall, we’re seeing a pretty strong economy across the province, across the Island and certainly here in Campbell River we’ve been seeing very strong economic indicators over the past couple of years.”

And while Baikie says industries like forestry and natural resources, as usual, are showing very strong numbers, the growth is happening elsewhere, as well.

“Really, the interesting thing is that it’s not any one particular industry, it’s across most industries that we’re seeing that increase,” Baikie says.

But while that may be good news for those looking for work, the same can’t be said for businesses or organizations looking for employees.

“When you’ve got a hot labour market such as ours, you see employers struggling to find qualified employees to fill their positions,” Baikie says. “Certainly the service sector is feeling that pinch, but other industries are, as well.”

One of the solutions for that, Baikie suggests, is that employers look at their recruitment, training and retention strategies and see if those strategies are “progressive” enough.

“The employers that are weathering that recruitment struggle successfully have progressive human resources practices and do a really good job of recruiting, training and retaining their staff,” Baikie says. “When you have shifting demographics and more opportunities than there are people to fill those opportunities – which often goes hand-in-hand with growth – along with mismatches in terms of skills within the community versus what those opportunities might be…we also need to listen to employers in the community in terms of what types of skills they’re looking for so that when we’re working with clients we can provide them with that labour market information that supports training decisions to hopefully be able to connect them to the kind of work that is available within the community.”

For anyone looking for work, Baikie says, it’s out there and NIEFS’ upcoming career fair would be a great place to go looking for it.

“We’ve got our big career fair coming up on Oct. 24 at the Community Centre where, again, there’s going to be over 40 exhibitors – employers who are going to be on-site actively recruiting – from a range of industries, from tourism to natural resources to some of the training institutions, so it’ll be quite diverse,” Baikie says.

In terms of whether this trend will continue, that’s not something Baikie is willing to speculate on.

“We’ll have to see,” she says. “It’s certainly been a trend that has been ongoing over the past few years, and we’ll continue to monitor what those trends look like. There’s a lot of continued activity with the mine re-opening and around some of the technology and film opportunities developing. It’s a very exciting time for Campbell River. Anecdotally, we’ve seen a lot of people coming through our doors who are new to the area and many are coming mid-career … so there has to be, for many of those folks and families, there need to be career opportunities, and what we’re seeing is that those opportunities exist.”

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