Opinion

Muskens: Matching skills to where the jobs are

I had quite a few emails on my column about the Alberta career fair that I thought I would follow-up on opportunities on accessing jobs and education.

Another type of exhibitor that I saw at the career fair were companies helping other companies find workers—in other words, they are employment brokers.

Companies often pay a fee to these human resource firms who then find them the kind of employees they are looking for.

This often includes finding those workers with particular skills and education.

Some of these firms also offer services to employees, which includes career planning, resume writing, computer training and coaching in interview techniques.

But most large companies have their own recruitment personnel and some spend a lot of time building a strategy to attract workers.

This is especially important for oil companies who are trying to recruit workers to remote locations and at the same time require specific skills and technical qualifications.

Besides sending recruiters to career fairs these companies look at a number of ways to find and a attract workers.

Today, any large organization in need of workers should have a website tailored to sell their company to potential employees.

These websites should be comprehensive enough to provide browsers with information about what jobs are available, what skills these jobs require and where are they located.

Although not all companies do this, they should include an approximate salary for each position.

On top of this, any company in a competitive cluster such as the oil sands and facing a shortage of workers should advertise any incentives they have to attract workers. These should include benefits, vacation time, pensions, profit sharing and much more.

Beside companies, there are organizations such as the Petroleum Human Resources Council of Canada that try to help companies secure a stable work force.

One of the goals of this organization is to help the oil industry attract skilled talent.

According to the Petroleum Human Resources Council of Canada they expect a 73 per cent increase in the number jobs in the oil sands by 2021.

Today, there are 20,304 people employed in the oil sands—this number is expected to reach 35,000 by 2021.

Eighty-five per cent of these workers are actually on-site, which means they are probably living in a camp.

It is this type of growth which makes it important that the oil sands companies receive the support they need from organizations such as the council.

Their website provides information to companies on how to attract and retain workers, and develop and implement human resource strategies.

And lastly, governments both provincial and federal play a huge role.

This support comes through by ensuring that programs at both colleges and universities are providing the right education and training to meet current demands.

At the federal level it includes making it easier for workers outside of Canada to come here and work and to provide retraining opportunities for the unemployed.

It takes a lot of work and collaboration to get the right people with the right skills to go where the jobs are, that’s what makes this such a daunting task.

 

 

Jane Muskens is the registrar at Okanagan College.

jmuskens@okanagan.bc.ca

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