As the Whitby Chambers of Commerce Policy and Advocacy Advisor, I’m pleased to introduce myself and this role to all our members. As I settle in and dive into WCC’s rich and dynamic history, I acknowledge the unique and privileged role that WCC plays in connecting you, our members, with opportunities to adapt and expand in the ever-changing business landscape. Particularly in regard to drawing new and diverse talent to Whitby’s shores. To this effect, I’m honoured to invite you to attend Twisted System: Harsh Truths for Hiring Today on October 4th, hosted by WCC’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee.
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, many people reflected on and reassessed their career and employment. Much like me, people took the time as an opportunity to look ahead and decide what career and work environment was best not just for their pocket, but also their mental and physical well being. Industries like Science and Technology, Public Administration, Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate are attracting more workers; seeing an increase of 10.2% to 19.5% since 2019. Meanwhile, other industries like Accommodation and Food Services, Building and other support services, and Agriculture are seeing an exodus of workers at the same time, between 10.7% to 14.2%. Add to this the reality of inflation and the changing real estate market, and it is making it more costly and difficult to hire and sustain employees that are essential to the success of a business.
The Ontario Government has taken steps to mitigate labour shortfalls through recognition of foreign credentials, red tape reduction, and economic immigration, but workforce development strategies are still essential to address the gaps industries are experiencing. Work culture is a big part of this equation.
What the statistics tell me, is that there is movement of workers whose capacities and skills can either be proactively harnessed and fostered or lost. Employees are the face and the gears of our businesses and essential to their sustenance and growth. In our current economic and social realities, how we hire, train, and sustain our employees could define our business success. It has to go beyond the paycheque.
The population demographics in Whitby and the southern Ontario region show that we are becoming a more diverse population; whether it be our cultural background, race, socio-economic standing, or our physical disabilities. In fact, more than 3 in 10 Ontarians identify as visible minorities, while a bulk of this population resides in Toronto, businesses in Whitby are aptly positioned to draw workers east. In order to remain competitive as employers, this demands that our hiring process adapt to welcome our workers in a space that is conscious of their needs and our biases.
On October 4th, WCC will be attempting to bridge the gap between employees and employers. The event will host a panel of experts who will walk our members through a hiring process that is considerate, inclusive, and ultimately successful in finding and retaining employees who will help our businesses thrive. From creating the job post, interviewing candidates, on-boarding and most importantly, sustaining a conscientious, friendly, and welcoming work environment, the panel will aim to empower our members with skills that can give them an edge in the hiring market.
This is an event you want to attend.
Not only are the insights of our speakers illuminating and thought provoking, but their feedback may inspire you to adapt strategies that will ensure that a capable and strong workforce feels seen and welcome to work with our diverse group of businesses. The goal of developing a dynamic and robust business industry starts with small changes that listen to the pulse of the working force. So, I invite you to join us on October 4th; I look forward to meeting you and learning together.
– Preeti Sangwan, Policy and Advocacy Advisor, Whitby Chamber of Commerce