Job training, immigrant workers, older workers key to access skilled labour: Survey

Quebec to hold consultations in 2011
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 02/01/2011

To access a skilled labour force in the coming years, most of Quebec’s employers agree on several initiatives that include job training, the integration of immigrant workers and retention of older workers.

Almost all (94 per cent) of 350 company managers and 25 employees surveyed said they agree every training program (professional, technical or university) must be combined, whenever possible, with a business internship course. And 88 per cent of those surveyed by the Quebec Employers Council are willing to have interns in their company, a ratio that increases to 97 per cent for companies with 100 to 249 employees and 100 per cent for companies with 250 or more employees. In addition, 62 per cent of company heads are willing to speak at high schools or serve as mentors to encourage entrepreneurial development.

"As the Québec government prepares to hold a series of consultations in 2011 on the issues related to the availability of skilled labour, the results of this survey allow us to provide avenues of thought and constructive solutions," said Yves-Thomas Dorval, president of the Quebec Employers Council.

From a training standpoint, 78 per cent of company managers who made significant investments in the business last year invested in training their labour force and 68 per cent expect to invest substantially over the next 24 months.

Two-thirds (67 per cent) of respondents said they are interested in hiring immigrant workers who have never previously worked in the province of Quebec. But 33 per cent of respondents were unreceptive to such a recommendation, which “might indicate a significant portion of companies still do not realize the urgency of the problem of being able to access a skilled labour force or do not believe resorting to immigrant workers is a way to solve the issue,” said the council.

These reluctant respondents cited an immigrant worker’s inability to understand the language (30 per cent) or the Quebec culture (20 per cent) and a lack of qualifications (23 per cent) or experience (12 per cent).

Almost three-quarters of company managers (73 per cent) felt measures to keep experienced workers aged 55 and older on the job is important for their company. These included reduced work hours (79 per cent) and greater flexibility of work hours (78 per cent). Almost eight in 10 respondents (79 per cent) agreed to the federal and provincial governments making changes to public pension plans to encourage experienced workers to prolong their stay on the job market.

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