Canadian Manufacturing

Quality of job candidates has slipped, Canadian small businesses say

Work ethnic, qualifications among leading concerns for business owners

September 1, 2015  by Canadian Staff

TORONTO—While new Statistics Canada data shows job vacancies remain high in spite of persistent unemployment levels, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business has released new insights into the minds of business owners who are looking to hire.

“Small businesses love their current group of workers, but struggle to find new candidates of the same quality and work ethic,” the CFIB said.

Though 65 per cent of small business owners surveyed said employees are the most important element to the success of their firm – more important than even their product or service, the majority express significant concerns about the quality of new hires and applicants. Nearly three-quarters of owners say the work ethic of new hires has deteriorated in recent years, and more than two-thirds say the quality of applicants has declined.

“Canada’s small businesses will be the first to tell you that their employees are their greatest strength,” Dan Kelly, president of CFIB, said. “But they are finding it increasingly difficult to find qualified applicants, especially workers prepared to consider entry-level jobs.”


Ultimately, business owners rely on their employees to get the job done, and while 90 per cent of small business owners feel they can trust their current employees, the same sentiment is not the case when it comes to new applicants. 88 per cent of employers said the biggest barrier to hiring was the lack of qualified candidates. In addition, half felt applicants’ wage expectations were too high while one-quarter reported no-show interviewees.

For employees on the job, the CFIB said the biggest complaints were of drags on productivity such as gossiping, personal web surfing and excessive lateness.

The study also collected nearly 4,500 tips from small business owners for those looking for work. Though many seem like commonsense tips, other responses surprised. Candidates, it turns out, should avoid letting their mothers speak for them during the interview process.

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