A lot expected even of entry-level workers in Peel, Halton

December 4, 2013 - All News

Staff Report
Employers in the Peel-Halton regions can be an exacting lot. That’s the bad news — though that isn’t exactly new.
But the good news is: newcomers are being increasingly accepted in the workplace. Especially in the manufacturing sector.
Which of course can be either a good or bad thing, depending on your point of view, and what a job in manufacturing today entails.
These are some of the results of a 2013 survey of Peel and Halton employers. The presentation was due to made earlier this week (after press deadline) by Peel Halton Workforce Development Group.
SAF had obtained a copy of the results earlier.
“Anyone looking for work or advising someone looking for work wants to know what employers are thinking,” explained Shalini da Cunha, Executive Director of the Peel Halton Workforce Development Group.
“We had around 400 employers complete our survey, representing a wide cross-section of employers, by size of establishment, industry and location. The results provide a concrete and timely insight into the views of employers.”
The employer survey was conducted in partnership with local Boards of Trade, Chambers of Commerce, Economic Development Offices and business organizations.
Among its key findings:
• Some employers express fairly high expectations of job candidates even for entry-level jobs, when measured by levels of educational attainment and prior work experience. This is particularly the case among employers in the knowledge sector.
• Employers express much greater concern about recruiting and retaining senior-level staff as opposed to entry-level staff — although the latter is a greater concern for very small firms.
• Smaller firms are more likely to feel that addressing their workforce issues would reap greater positive impacts.
• Assessment of soft skills remain the most important factor when it comes to employers making hiring decisions.
• Training issues and having the workforce system work together are the biggest workforce development priorities for employers.
• Newcomers have already become an important source of new hires for a third of the employers surveyed, particularly so among manufacturing firms and larger firms.
• Employers express some concerns regarding the job readiness of newcomers, primarily in terms of their English language skills; however, employers who already rely on newcomers as a significant source of new hires express lower levels of concerns compared to other employers who have not hired newcomers in significant numbers. There is also a small proportion of employers who expect to be relying less on newcomers, likely because they had a bad experience.
• Employers were largely in agreement that youth could benefit from getting more work experience, and they also felt that youth exhibited an exaggerated sense of entitlement. Employers were also less likely to affirm that youth had the right attitude toward work or that they had the right soft skills.
• Starting wages for entry-level positions vary considerably across employers, with more service sector employers tending to pay at the low end of the scale, and more knowledge sector employers paying at the higher end. The proportion of employers paying at the low end drops considerably as the size of establishment increases, only to rise again for firms with more than 100 employees.
Among the labour market issues that were to be discussed during the presentation: the basis on which employers screen and hire job candidates; their methods of searching for candidates; employer hiring intentions regarding youth; their intentions and barriers they face regarding workplace training; and the occupations they find most difficult to fill.
Added da Cunhu: “This information will be useful not only to job-seekers and to employment counsellors, but also to employers themselves, to see broad industry-wide patterns and to benchmark their practices against those of their competitors.”
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