Advantage employee

An employer has to offer a lot to get the right talent in tight markets, but a company can take steps to protect its interests
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 06/01/2007

The much-talked about labour shortage means, in some markets and industries, employees hold most of the cards when it comes to negotiating employment contracts. That can put employers in a bind, making it difficult to strike the right balance between putting together an attractive offer and not giving away the farm.

When the employee has the higher negotiating position, it’s the employer who has to impress. Workers with unique skill sets are becoming more important to employers, particularly large organizations, said Steven Mendelssohn, president of Sage HR Solutions, an HR and labour relations consulting company in Oakville, Ont. These highly skilled employees are in demand and therefore have the freedom to pick and choose where they want to work.

To attract top workers, employers need to be flexible and open-minded, said Mendelssohn. An employer may have to improvise in order to seal the deal with the person it wants. If it sticks rigidly to traditional company rules, it may risk settling for inferior employees.