Canadian Manufacturing

Canadian firms struggle to attract, retain critical-skill employees, Towers Watson survey finds

Survey also found employees experiencing high levels of stress

TORONTO—A growing number of Canadian companies continue to struggle with attracting and retaining the high-potential and critically-skilled employees necessary to increase their global competitiveness, according to a new survey.

The Towers Watson Global Talent Management and Rewards Survey, a study of 1,605 companies globally, found that nearly two-thirds of Canadian respondents (61 per cent) cite problems attracting critical-skill employees, while just over 40 per cent are having difficulty attracting high-potential talent.

According to the survey, 35 per cent are finding it hard to attract top-performing workers, and more than 30 per cent also reported difficulty retaining critical-skill, high-potential and top performing employees.

“The demand for the best talent is as strong as ever, especially given a challenging economy and ongoing growth in global competition,” Ofelia Isabel, Canadian leader for talent and rewards at Towers Watson, said in a statement.

“However, many employers are not taking advantages of opportunities to attract, retain and engage high-value employees by offering a work environment and total rewards programs that are most important to them.”

In fact, according to the survey, there appears to be a mismatch between what employers are offering and what employees are looking for.

Canadian employees, including top talent, are more focused on competitive base pay and job security.

Employers, on the other hand, are emphasizing other items such as challenging work and the organization’s reputation as a good employer.

The survey also found employees are experiencing high levels of stress, a trend that many employers and employees expect to continue for the next three years.

Close to half (47 per cent) of Canadian respondents indicate that employees often experience excessive pressure in their job and almost two-thirds of respondents (65 per cent) report their employees have been working more hours than normal during the past three years.

The majority (53 per cent) expect to maintain this trend for the next three years.

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