Recruiting the right employees top concern for Quebec businesses

39 per cent of small business leaders believe the labour shortage is the greatest threat to their company

As the country climbs out of the recession, small business leaders in Quebec are worried about finding quality employees in the face of a looming skilled labour shortage, according to a survey.

The survey of 206 small businesses in Quebec, conducted by TECHNOCompétences, the sector committee for the information and communication technology (ICT) workforce, found 48 per cent of them consider recruiting good employees to be the main issue in improving their management of human resources.

And for 39 per cent of respondents, the biggest threat in human resources is the shortage of qualified labour.

"It is interesting to see the point to which companies are concerned about the quality of recruiting and retention of employees," said Sylvie Gagnon, general manager of TECHNOCompétences.

"Qualified personnel are the sinews of war for Quebec small businesses, even more so against the backdrop of an economic recovery that must be carefully negotiated. Developing innovative recruiting practices and retaining skilled employees is a strategic competitive advantage."

Managers of larger small businesses also identified two other issues that merit their attention: Employee recognition (21 per cent) and employee retention (16 per cent).

"Many small businesses do not have a HR department," said Gagnon. "More often than not, the task falls to professionals who are competent in their field of activity but who are not necessarily trained to manage personnel."

Findings from the survey:

• 48 per cent of all respondents indicated recruiting good employees was the main area for improvement in managing their human resources (60 per cent of businesses with between five and 49 employees).

• 21 per cent of businesses with sales over $5 million are concerned about employee recognition and retention.

• 12 per cent of respondents will be keeping an eye on work-family balance

• Four per cent of respondents are concerned about intergenerational conflicts in the workplace.

• 39 per cent of all small business executives cite the shortage of qualified labour as the greatest threat facing small businesses (59 per cent for companies with five to 49 employees and 56 per cent of companies with sales between $1 million and $4.9 million).

• Nine per cent of all small business executives cite the retirement of baby boomers and changes to the workplace culture as a threat facing small businesses (22 per cent for businesses with 50 or more employees).

• Six per cent of managers surveyed see maternity and paternity leave as a threat facing small businesses.

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