TORONTO--()--One third of Canadian senior executives are prepared to deliver the gift of employment to job seekers in 2013, but the challenges of finding top talent and a gap between the expectations of employers and candidates threatens to derail the process. These and other findings of a Workopolis study surveying Canadian senior executives called Mind the Gap was released today.
“Our research reveals that while specific skills will always be crucial for some industries, it’s time to get back to basics and focus on soft skills.”
In addition to the 32 per cent of companies planning to grow their staff in 2013, nearly two thirds (65 per cent) of executives surveyed say they are planning to maintain their staff size, with just two per cent predicting a drop. These findings are in contrast to the 58 per cent of job seekers who responded to a Workopolis homepage poll with the prediction that it will be harder for them to find a job in 2013.
Despite the optimistic outlook of many employers, the study also underscores that businesses are struggling mightily to find suitable candidates, and this is creating a number of hardships for senior executives. Specifically:
- Source of stress: Two thirds (66 per cent) agree that sometimes finding the right candidate to fill an opening can be a source of stress.
- Something has to give: Six in ten business leaders (60 per cent) agree or strongly agree that spending too much time hunting for talent is reducing the amount of time they can dedicate to other strategic responsibilities.
- Too much time: Four in ten (38 per cent) said that it took longer than expected to fill positions over the past year.
“Senior executives are telling us that growing the workforce is in the plans for 2013, but finding the right candidates continues to be the x-factor,” said Kelly Dixon, President of Workopolis. “Our research reveals that while specific skills will always be crucial for some industries, it’s time to get back to basics and focus on soft skills.”
Two thirds of senior executives (67 per cent) cite a lack of soft skills among candidates, including positive attitude (mentioned by 37 per cent), communications skills (27 per cent) and strong work ethic (26 per cent). Candidates also recognize the need for soft skills, but Workopolis research reveals they mention communications skills far less frequently (17 per cent) than employers do - suggesting a misalignment of expectations that could be hurting their chances.
Workopolis data also reveals a number of areas where there is a significant gap between employers and candidates. For example:
- “Working environment” is the leading criteria overall that candidates use to evaluate a job offer (cited by 57 per cent of job seekers), yet just 27 per cent of employers say they’re taking steps to create a better working environment to attract and retain top talent.
- The factors that are most important to employees vary considerably depending on their age and career stage, yet fewer than six out of ten employers (59 per cent) say they make an effort to tailor their recruitment processes and messages to attract candidates from different age groups.
“Recruiting blind spots are masking access to candidates,” said Tara Talbot, Vice President of Human Resources, Workopolis. “Job seekers and eager employers are travelling on the same path but often times are just slightly out of sight of one another. Taking the time to understand each other’s needs and adopting a tailored approach will help to pull the challenges of today’s labour market into sharper focus.”
Talbot provides the following tips for employers and candidates in 2013:
Tips for Employers:
- Tailor job offers and recruitment processes to the likely career stage of your candidates
- The quality of your workplace is likely to be the leading factor in recruiting employees
- Look to the next generation of talent as young people bring new perspectives, energy and enthusiasm to an organization
Tips for Candidates:
- Don’t forget the importance of soft skills, like good communications abilities
- Strike while the iron is hot: one third of employers plan to hire in 2013
- Have realistic salary expectations: use online salary calculators, industry associations, etc.
Join the conversation on Twitter by following @workopolis. To download a PDF of the research findings or view an infographic depicting the gap between employers and job seekers please visit Workopolis.com/research. To see footage of what Canadians have to say on the matter please visit youtube.com/workopolis.
About the Research
The research summarized in the Mind the Gap report was conducted by Environics Research Group and involved custom survey conducted over the phone of 100 senior executives between September 26 and October 2, 2012. Respondents’ job titles included President, CEO, Human Resource Manager, General Manager and Director, among others.
Founded in 2000, Workopolis is Canada’s leading career site helping employers and candidates connect with each other online. In addition to the millions of monthly visitors to www.workopolis.com, Workopolis reaches users across the web through exclusive partnerships and community sites as well as through innovative use of social networking sites and mobile applications.
Canadian owned and operated, Workopolis is an equal partnership between Toronto Star Newspapers Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Torstar Corporation, and Square Victoria Digital Properties Inc, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Power Corporation of Canada.