Stewarding AI and cultural change: It’s everybody’s business
Brave New Work BlogWednesday November 27, 2019
“There are times we cannot find people regardless of what we do. We can raise wages, offer benefits, do what is necessary and members are still not getting the applicants required” (The Telegram, 2014)
Canadian Federation of Independent Business
Most industrialized countries are experiencing worker shortages and skill gaps due to low birthrates, aging populations, and new technologies that require workers with new skill sets. While Canada as a whole is experiencing these issues, Atlantic Canada is facing an even more serious situation. Current trends show a decline in the natural population with more deaths than births being recorded, and with the growing number of retiring baby boomers, the workforce in Atlantic Canada is likely to shrink. Academics, government, think tanks and economic development agencies are striving to understand how to better attract and retain newcomers and local residents alike – all part of broader regional economic development and the Atlantic Growth Strategy.
What’s projected in the rest of Atlantic Canada is already happening in Newfoundland and Labrador (NL). The province faces a shortage of skilled workers, especially in areas such as computer engineering, information technology, sustainable food safety, healthcare, social work, and bilingual services. This situation is particularly acute in rural communities.
NL has found it difficult to attract people from other provinces because of a perceived unstable economic situation and high unemployment rate. Similarly, it is difficult to attract immigrant workers because the immigration process and regulations are considered long and tedious, which discourages employers from hiring newcomers. Employers are also hesitant to hire immigrants out of concern that they may not fit culturally, that they won’t have adequate language skills, they aren’t well trained, and/or that they will leave soon after arriving. Many employers, particularly in information technology, are contracting business out, and some have moved their business to other provinces where it’s easier to find and hire skilled workers.
This report provides current data on the labour market in Newfoundland and Labrador and summarizes the results of the consultation in St. John’s with sector representatives, organized in partnership with Memorial University, which yielded the following key recommendations:
This report is part of PPF’s Immigration & Atlantic Revitalization project that is examining immigrant retention and skilled labour shortages across Atlantic Canada.