New report says businesses investing more in training, take part in more student co-op programs and expect more of new graduates

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Mario ToneguzziRecruiting and retaining young talent has become increasingly difficult for Canadian companies in a very competitive labour market, according to a new report by human resource services and technology company Morneau Shepell and the Business Council of Canada.

Here’s what the report found:

  • Eighty-three per cent of the 95 companies surveyed participate in co-op programs and other forms of work-integrated learning initiatives that help them identify potential new employees. In a similar survey two years ago, 76 per cent of employers said they were participating in such programs.
  • Compared to two years ago, companies are investing more in training. Fifty-one per cent said their firms spend more than $1,000 per employee a year on average, while 30 per cent spend between $500 and $1,000 per worker. In the 2016 edition of the survey, the comparable numbers were 46 and 24 per cent respectively.
  • Fifty-seven per cent of respondents said that a shortage of skilled workers is having either a moderate (40 per cent) or severe (17 per cent) impact on their industry. The top five areas where companies reported skill shortages were: information technology; skilled trades; analytics, statistics and quantitative analysis; engineering; and leadership/management.
  • Seventy per cent of respondents said their expectations of new graduates are higher now than five years ago, attributing those increased expectations to a changing work environment resulting from rapid technological advancements.

“Businesses today operate in a highly complex, rapidly changing environment,” said John Manley, president and chief executive officer of the Business Council of Canada. “The survey shows that Canadian companies are stepping up their efforts to hire graduates with a high level of technical capabilities as well as strong human skills such as the ability to collaborate and work in teams.”

Respected business writer Mario Toneguzzi is a veteran Calgary-based journalist who worked for 35 years for the Calgary Herald in various capacities, including 12 years as a senior business writer.


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