More than half of Canadian employers are concerned about the growing skills gap, and 46% believe there is a significant gap between the skills their organization needs and the skills job candidates have, according to CareerBuilder.ca survey.

Thirty-seven percent say they currently have open positions for which they cannot find qualified candidates, up from 25% last year.

While 24% say vacancies typically go unfilled for less than a month due to a lack of qualified candidates, 38% of employers say they’ve had vacancies last three months or longer, and 11% have had them stretch on for at least six months while they searched for qualified candidates.

Long-lasting vacancies can have very real consequences. More employers are experiencing these effects, with 58% of employers saying they’ve seen a negative impact on their business due to extended job vacancies, up from 41% last year. Some of the most commonly cited consequences include the following:

  • productivity loss (30%);
  • lower morale (24%);
  • revenue loss (15%);
  • lower quality work (15%); and
  • inability to grow business (13%).

“Between the pressures from extended vacancies, measuring up to skilled candidates’ salary expectations and increases in spending on training, more employers are feeling the financial costs of the skills gap,” says Mark Bania, director of CareerBuilder Canada.

“New technologies, globalization and other factors are fundamentally changing businesses and the industries they operate in,” he adds. “There is a greater urgency for companies to re-skill existing employees, offer comprehensive training for new recruits and work with educators to prepare the next wave of workers for their evolving needs.”

One way some employers overcome the skills gap is by increasing compensation in order to attract skilled talent. More than half (57%) of employers say they’ve had a job candidate turn down an offer in the last year, with 20% saying they couldn’t meet the candidate’s salary demands. One-third of employers are planning to raise starting salaries for high-skill positions this year.

On-the-job training is another way employers can combat the growing skills gap. Fifty-nine percent of employers say they trained workers who didn’t have experience in their particular industry and hired them in 2013. Fifty-five percent are planning on doing so this year.

Training budgets have increased overall in the past year, with 61% of employers spending more than $50,000 on training, compared with 50% last year. Nearly half of employers (48%) spend more than $100,000 a year on training, up from 38% last year.

Many employers have also begun reaching out to young future job seekers to help prepare them for entry into the workforce. Thirty-one percent of employers say they’ve promoted careers at their organization to high school students, and 7% have reached out to grammar school students.

The national survey included a representative sample of 406 private sector hiring managers across industries and company sizes.

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Copyright © 2020 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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