Majority of Canadian employers report skills gaps
By Adam FreillConstruction Labour Skills Development
More than half of Canadian businesses reported their workforce was not fully proficient to perform at the required level.
The construction sector did not lead the list of Canadian businesses reporting skills gaps in its workforce, but it was above the national average. In 2021, more than half (56.1 per cent) of Canadian businesses reported that their overall workforce was not fully proficient to perform their job at the required level. The construction sector landed just shy of 64 per cent.
Leading the list was the accommodation and food services sector, where employers reported skills gaps in almost 80 per cent of their workforce. The second-highest was in the utilities sector (69 per cent), closely followed by retail trade (67.8 per cent), manufacturing (67.3 per cent), educational services (64.8 per cent), wholesale trade (64.4 per cent) and construction (63.6 per cent). In contrast, the lowest rate was posted in the professional, scientific and technical services sector (34.3 per cent).
Of the businesses that reported skills gaps in their workforce in 2021, 57.5 per cent reported that the skills that need the most improvement were technical, practical or job-specific skills, followed by problem-solving skills (46.2 per cent).
In 2021, more than two-fifths of businesses experienced difficulties finding candidates who possessed the skills needed to do the job at the required level. Businesses in the accommodation and food services, manufacturing and construction sectors posted rates of recruitment difficulties in excess of 50 per cent.
On the positive side, more than 70 per cent of 10 businesses provided training to their employees in 2021, a figure that jumped to 98 per cent for companies with more than 100 employees.