Employers divided on best way to cope with skills gap

71 per cent feel they should provide career management programs, but only 29 per cent actually offer them
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 01/21/2014

Canadian employers are still largely divided on how to address the skills gap, according to a survey by the Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling (CERIC).

Though the shortage of skilled workers has often been cited as arguably the biggest problem facing Canadian businesses at the moment, there is not much consensus among employers on best practices for recruiting, training and career management for employees, found the survey of 500 business leaders.

The skills shortage is a challenge for 68 per cent of businesses nationally, said CERIC.

"Clearly, Canadian business leaders are very concerned about their need for skilled people and the talent disconnect that is happening," said Mark Venning, chair of the CERIC board of directors.

"They need additional tools and expertise when it comes to recruiting new employees and helping all their employees achieve their career goals."

Most executives (72 per cent) feel there is a gap between the skills they are looking for and the skills candidates have, while 36 per cent of businesses feel that gap has grown, found the survey.

There is an even divide between employers who feel the employers themselves should provide more training to close the skills gap (43 per cent) and employers who feel prospective employees should better prepare themselves for the labour market (43 per cent).

Seven in 10 executives (71 per cent) feel employers have a responsibility to provide career management programs for their employees, but only three in 10 (29 per cent) actually offer such programs. Lack of time is reported as the biggest challenge, while lack of expertise is often cited by small businesses.

Willingness to provide training is high, said the survey, but 64 per cent of employers expressed concern about losing employees after investing in training.

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