Labour shortage in Canada is nothing new and it shows no signs of letting up. As competition for high-quality candidates increases, your company must find new ways to refine the hiring process and retain existing workers.

There are many ways to maintain a productive workforce in a challenging labour market. Whether you want to expand your talent network or write job postings that attract quality candidates, our research-backed strategies can help.

1. upskill & train your employees

If your business is facing new or evolving market demands, consider ’quiet hiring’: upskilling and retraining existing employees to fill skills gaps. It's cheaper than hiring new employees and gives your company the agility to meet shifting business priorities. 

Upskilling also benefits your workforce. Our research shows that skills development and career advancement opportunities are two of the most important employee benefits for 2023. Offering training options can boost retention and improve recruitment in the future.

Two people having a conversation while sitting down in a lounge environment.
Two people having a conversation while sitting down in a lounge environment.

2. beware of biases and corporate jargon that will deter great talent

Sometimes, the best talent comes from outside your industry — and in a labour shortage, you want to cast the widest net possible

Avoid alienating nontraditional candidates by removing corporate jargon from job postings and recruitment materials. Phrases such as ’quarterback projects’ or ’coding ninja’ can be confusing or off-putting.

Then, check for biases that could narrow the talent pool. Instead of requesting candidates with a bachelor’s degree from a top university, you might simply request a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field.

3. adopt best practices for expanding your talent network

A broad talent network makes recruiting faster and cheaper, giving you an advantage in a tough job market. To expand your admin or industrial candidate pools, consider adopting the following best practices:

  • Be transparent about salary, benefits, schedule, location and company culture.
  • Avoid defining the ideal candidate's age, gender or professional background.
  • Eliminate unnecessary or optional job requirements and certifications to attract a wider group of applicants.
  • Focus on skills rather than years of experience.
  • Consider hiring less-experienced people and training them.

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4. recognize and reward

If your company already has a high-performing workforce, keep team members happy by recognizing and rewarding their efforts. Appreciation lets employees know that you notice and value their hard work, which can increase job satisfaction and retention.

Start small: thank employees for specific ideas, contributions or accomplishments. Then, add incentives such as cash bonuses, company-sponsored lunches or extra vacation days. 

You'll need to make room in the budget, but a recognition program is more affordable than the alternative — high turnover costs and lost productivity.

Take it a step further by learning about the benefits and perks employees are looking for today or the ten benefits you can offer that cost almost nothing.

5. find solutions to automate high-volume hiring

Tackle seasonal shifts in demand by automating the way you hire temporary workers. The right technology platform makes bringing on workers at scale easier, so you can fulfill staffing needs and minimize administrative overhead.

6. optimize the onboarding experience

Help your newest employees be productive with a solid onboarding process. In a recent survey with Ipsos, we found that just 20% of respondents rated their onboarding experience as ’very good’ or ’excellent.’ In particular, employees want a better introduction to the team, company culture and opportunities for training and advancement.

Comprehensive in-person and remote onboarding can help you hang onto hard-to-get new hires. Our research shows that nearly 40% of job seekers have quit a job within 1 month because they got a more appealing offer.

7. consider a wider range of candidates

When hiring, consider candidates whose age, gender, experience or educational background is different from that of your existing workforce.

That's easier said than done; the trick is to avoid assumptions. Don't assume an experienced worker won't accept a lower-level position, for example. They may be willing to accept a smaller salary when starting a new career path.

In particular, stay open to:

  • Older workers 
  • Younger workers with no experience
  • Immigrants with valuable international expertise
  • Career changers
  • People reentering the workforce

8. think about the big picture

If your job postings include specific experience requirements, you might be missing out on a range of solid candidates. Ask yourself: what soft skills are essential for the role? Can workers learn hard skills on the job?

Adjust your processes and job postings accordingly. 

If you can adapt your training process to work for entry-level workers, you may be able to require 1 year of experience instead of 5. This process opens up positions to more people.

9. know the labour trends in your markets

To succeed in a tight labour market, your business must keep up with the latest trends. Updated information helps you understand what job seekers expect, so you can stay competitive. It also makes it easier to anticipate future shifts and start preparing your operations.

Start with our articles about Canadian job market trends by sector. Each one explains the latest trends, from salary expectations to new technologies and remote work statistics.

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10. write appealing job postings

The language you use in a job posting can attract or repel candidates, often in surprising ways. Our research finds that 80% of job seekers are turned off by ’red flag’ phrases including:

  • ’Duties may vary’
  • ’We are family’
  • ’Industry-specific experience is a must’

While you're at it, make sure to include the details that help job seekers find the right fit: compensation, location and schedule flexibility. Without this information, people are less likely to apply.


11. know the do’s and don’t for your job postings

In a recent survey, we discovered exactly how Canadian job seekers evaluate job postings. Some of the results were surprising. For example, if you mention leadership responsibilities for a nonmanagerial role, 26% of people are less likely to apply.

What do job seekers want to see? Salary and work location are the top priorities, followed closely by company culture.

table showing must haves of job posting
table showing must haves of job posting

12. conduct an efficient hiring process

When you're hiring, efficiency is everything. Candidates prefer a 2-week process — stretch it out any longer, and you risk losing talent to competitors. Approximately 50% of job seekers in Canada have taken one job offer while in the hiring process for another.

Candidates also prefer that employers use a limited number of interviews. When it's essential, you might consider offering a remote video option to reduce the time commitment. 

13. be aware that one size does not fit all

Every type of candidate has different needs and wants in the hiring process. Women often prioritize schedule and location flexibility, while men are more likely to seek employers who recognize their accomplishments. Recent immigrants want to feel like part of a team, and job seekers of colour actively look for companies with diverse and inclusive workforces.

Keep these preferences in mind as you're developing recruiting materials and communicating with applicants. Learn more about how to reach a wider range of candidates by adapting your recruitment strategies

14. offer the best benefits and flexibility, of course!

Enhance your salary offerings with the most in-demand benefits and perks. Perks such as career advancement opportunities and skills development can attract motivated, ambitious candidates.

Flexibility, both in terms of schedule and location, is one of the most important benefits of 2023. In fact, 25% of Canadian workers won't even consider a job that doesn't offer remote work.

15. apply the salaries market data

The labour shortage has driven up salaries in many sectors. If your offerings aren't on par with the industry standard, your company automatically falls behind better-paying competitors.

To find the latest data on Canadian salaries, check out our 2023 salary guide. It breaks down salary information for different locations, industries and experience levels, giving you a solid foundation for creating attractive compensation packages.

16. trust the professionals

When you don't have the internal resources to manage a demanding hiring process, a staffing partner such as Randstad Canada can help. Our HR solutions team can help you find the best candidates for permanent contracts or temporary staffing.

Keep pace with the latest changes in the Canadian labour market by signing up to receive our latest workplace insights and resources. You can also connect with us on LinkedIn or chat with a recruiter to discuss your company's HR needs.

If you want to learn more about attracting candidates in a competitive market, download our guide on how to expand the talent pool to counter skills shortages.

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