Recruiting will remain a challenge for years to come

Despite layoffs in many sectors, Canadian recruiters shouldn’t be resting, as finding the right people for key positions will require sustained effort, a new report shows.

Employers and governments in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom have been slow to react to demographic changes that will leave the western democracies chronically short of workers, a study by the C.D. Howe Institute warns.

“It will take a long time for public policies, such as pension regulations, to catch up with new realities,” said William Robson, C.D. Howe’s vice-president and director of research. “Employers need to push governments harder to makes changes businesses need to retain people that are critical to a company’s and a country’s growth.”

The workforce will be smaller, older and more female and many employer practices — such as hiring and contracting strategies, work scheduling, staff development, compensation and business structures — will need to be revamped, Robson said. On the pension front, changes that recognize the need to accommodate older workers must be made. Taxation changes are also necessary to make it attractive for older employees to remain in the workforce.

In the short-term, as employers would expect, hiring is expected to drop. Manpower Inc.’s end of November forecast shows the five-year trend of employment expansion will come to an end in the first quarter of 2002.

Of nearly 1,700 Canadian organizations polled, 16 per cent said they plan staff additions in the new year, 17 per cent expect a staffing level decline, 59 per cent anticipate no change and eight per cent were undecided.

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