We are still feeling the effects of what has been coined the "Great Resignation", a trend where workers are quitting at historic rates. At the height of resignations, employers struggled to replace those workers as many had changed careers, revised life priorities, relocated, or simply left the workforce. During that time, according to Statistics Canada, job vacancies across all sectors reached an all-time high in the third quarter of 2021, up over 62% from a year earlier. And while the situation has improved over the last two years—with Statistics Canada reporting that the job vacancy rate fell by 0.3 percentage points to 4.4% in the second quarter of 2023—employers still need to consider strategies to combat labour shortages as part of their overall risk-management planning.
Triggered by the pandemic, factors such as, poor work-life balance, lack of flexibility at work, unstable childcare, created a lasting impression on employees who continue to rethink where—and how—they want to work. While pressures have eased across the labour market, certain sectors are still experiencing incredible challenges with recruiting and retaining talent. According to an analysis on labour challenges in Canada for the second quarter of 2023 by Statistic Canada, businesses in accommodation and food services remained the most likely to expect a shortage in labour for the remainder of the year, followed by businesses in manufacturing, administrative and support, waste management and remediation services, and health care and social assistance.
This global competition for talent is clearly still alive and well and continues to empower workers and give job seekers tremendous opportunities. Attracting and retaining talent still requires employers to find ways to do things differently or risk losing their people and the ability to attract new ones.
The changes businesses continue to make to attract and retain their workforce are innovative and exciting. However, they also come with major organizational risks including, cyber and corporate security, reputational and brand impacts, and demands on corporate governance. Business leaders must continue to re-assess their risk profile and invest in internal frameworks to identify, measure, and respond to the risks.
Below we outline some of the areas that pose the greatest risks to your business stemming from labour shortages and our new way of working.