There have been a lot of changes in Western Canada over the last 3 years which have impacted recruitment and retention in the agriculture industry! It was not that long ago that there was a labour shortage in the western provinces, due in part to a thriving economy. There were more high-paying jobs than people and people were flocking to Alberta in droves from other provinces.
Fast forward a few years and oh how things have changed! Lower oil prices have halted/slowed oilsands production, putting many out of work, and driving unemployment. Many agriculture employers were initially optimistic that they would have more candidates, which initially did appear to be the case.
However, many employers have been hesitant to hire those from other industries, worried that as soon as the price of oil and gas rises, they will lose those employees and be back to square one. The reality is that there are now more jobseekers in western provinces, but are they the potential employees that agribusinesses want to hire?
This is one of the big challenges, and here are some tips and things to consider when trying to hire in western Canada:
Strategy: Where have you traditionally tried to find candidates? Maybe it is time to try adding new recruitment tools such as social media. Candidates are using social media more and more to engage with potential employers and career services providers, such as AgCareers.com
Job postings: Are you saying/doing enough to entice candidates to want to work for you? Are you highlighting all the benefits you offer as an employer?
Qualifications: Examine your open positions, what are essential skills and what would be “nice to have”? Maybe it is time to re-examine what you are looking for in candidates. Excellent candidates could be slipping through your fingers because of advertised requirements that are not essential to your business.
Sourcing: After examining your job requirements, could you look at sourcing candidates from different industries? Could you hire a new grad, as opposed to an experienced professional? If so, maybe contact an employer liaison at a college/university near you.
Compensation: Have you benchmarked what you offer in compensation compared to other businesses in the industry? Could candidates be aware that you may not pay as high a wage as your competitors? An analysis of your compensation strategy can let you know where you stand both within and outside of your industry and help you stay competitive.
Employee turnover is a costly process! Whether you are looking to fill a role that was vacated recently or fill an entirely new role, there are steps and changes you can make that can hopefully help you find that candidate more quickly.
For more information that can help you with your recruitment strategy, please check out our 2016 Agribusiness Job Outlook report or contact me at Carolyn.firstname.lastname@example.org.