Staffing challenges for B.C. businesses: poll

Poll by Mustel Group finds staffing challenges vary depending on business size.

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Mustel Group finds responses vary depending on company size

In September, on behalf of BCBusiness, Mustel Group surveyed 101 businesses across the province about whether they were affected by staffing shortages. The questions were based on takeaways from a BC Chamber of Commerce poll conducted last spring, but the results have been broken down differently.

Business size was a factor in responses to the question: “In the past year, have you had positions you were unable to fill for six months or more?” Although nearly 30 percent of respondents overall replied yes, that rose to 47.5 percent for businesses with five or more employees, compared to just 18 percent with four or fewer.

“The smaller the business, the less likely they are to be doing hiring, so they don’t come across those issues as much,” principal Evi Mustel says. “The more people you need to hire, the more problems you’re going to have. Those under five may not even have been hiring in the last six months or could be sole proprietors.”

Size also affected challenges finding applicants for the offered pay: nearly half (47.5 percent) of those with five or more employees said this was an issue, versus 16.4 percent with four or fewer. Other difficulties were similar across the board, with 54.5 percent overall citing not enough qualified applicants, 28.7 percent having trouble due to housing/location issues and 14.9 percent encountering a lack of appropriate education for the position.

Our third question asked, “Where do you recruit new employees?” Not surprisingly, 85 percent or more of both groups searched locally, with larger businesses (five or more employees) more likely to look farther afield: 42.5 percent versus 9.8 percent regionally, 20 percent versus 11.5 percent from other provinces and 15 percent versus 3.3 percent internationally.

Responses to all three questions were also analyzed by area of residence:

1. In the past year, have you had positions you were unable to fill?
Metro Vancouver: 29.9% yes
Other B.C.: 29.4% yes

2. What are your main challenges in finding qualified staff?

Lack of qualified applicants
Metro Vancouver 52.2%
Other B.C. 58.8%

Lack of applicants for offered pay
Metro Vancouver: 29.9%
Other B.C. 26.5%

Housing/location issues
Metro Vancouver: 28.4%
Other B.C.: 29.4%

Lack of appropriate education for the position
Metro Vancouver: 16.4%
Other B.C.: 11.8%

Metro Vancouver: 7.5%
Other B.C.: 2.9%

3. Where do you recruit new employees?

Metro Vancouver: 89.6%
Other B.C.: 79.4%

Metro Vancouver: 26.9%
Other B.C.: 14.7%

Metro Vancouver: 13.4%
Other B.C.: 17.6%

From other provinces
Metro Vancouver: 7.5%
Other B.C.: 8.8%

Metro Vancouver: 3.0%
Other B.C.: N/A