Canadian employers are using a mix of perks and upskilling training to attract and retain talent amid a tight labour market, according to a new survey by ManpowerGroup Canada.

The survey, which polled more than 1,000 employers across the country, found more than half (59 per cent) reported having some difficulty filling jobs due to a lack of skilled talent.

To offset the talent shortage, 41 per cent of respondents said they’re offering a mix of incentives to attract and retain talent, including adopting more flexible work schedules (41 per cent); increasing training, skills development or mentoring (40 per cent); increasing wages (32 per cent); allowing more flexible working locations (32 per cent); providing more non-financial benefits, such as vacation (20 per cent); using incentives such as signing bonuses (19 per cent) and lowering required job skills or experience (19 per cent).

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Human resources teams are also addressing the talent shortage with a focus on upskilling, according to the survey. Beyond those already offering these types of programs, more than half said they intend to invest in technical skills (57 per cent) and soft skills, such as time management and communication (56 per cent) in the next six months. In addition, 22 per cent said they’ll invest in career coaching, followed by compulsory training, such as compliance (23 per cent); manager and leader development training (24 per cent) and diversity and inclusion training (23 per cent).

“With the majority of employers reporting some difficulty hiring due to talent shortages, we are seeing a new level of amenability towards job flexibility and a strong commitment to technical and soft skills training,” said Darlene Minatel, country manager of ManpowerGroup Canada, in a press release. “Understanding what workers want and providing a culture of learnability are key to filling the talent gap.”

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However, these employers also reported the barriers to upskilling workers, including money (25 per cent), time (15 per cent) and access to the right training partners (15 per cent).

As well, half (50 per cent) of survey respondents said they plan to increase their staffing levels in the fourth quarter of 2021, while just 11 per cent said they anticipate cutbacks. In fact, employers in all four regions of the country and nine industry sectors surveyed said they expect to add to their payroll next quarter.