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Central Okanagan manufacturers expecting to grow despite labour market challenges

Image Credit: Contributed
May 21, 2015 - 11:16 AM

KELOWNA - The fourth Central Okanagan Business Walk conducted April 27 to May 1 took a different approach from previous Business Walks with questioning focused on the human resources needs of Central Okanagan manufacturers.  Of the 50 manufacturers interviewed, 96% were optimistic about their growth with expectations of maintaining or increasing their number of employees over the next 3 years.

The Human Resources Business Walk was created in follow up to the significant HR issues Okanagan businesses in all sectors are expected to face as identified in the 2014 study, “Growing in the Okanagan – 2020 Labour Market Outlook.”  The manufacturing sector reported a number of issues from difficulty finding workers to training and succession planning. The Central Okanagan Business Walk program provided an opportunity to look more specifically at the HR needs of manufacturers throughout the Central Okanagan.

Diverse manufacturers producing products from baked goods and wine to composite plastics with employee sizes ranging from two to hundreds of employees were interviewed.

Other highlights from the Business Walk:

·       90% of manufacturers said they are already challenged in their efforts to recruit and retain workers and/or by HR related issues;

·       80% of the manufacturers said they were having difficulty finding employees with specific skill sets.  The most needed trades workers included fabricators, millwrights, electricians, break press operators, cabinet makers and finishers.  Management and administrations positions that are reportedly difficult to fill include plant managers/supervisors, accountants, engineers and sales representatives.   The need for “soft skills” such as a “positive attitude,” “the ability to relate to people” and “punctuality” were also mentioned.

·       Despite increased challenges around recruitment and retention, less than half (46%) of the manufacturers said they had a formal succession plan for their business.

·       Asked what they felt could help them overcome issues with employee recruitment, 10% of the manufacturers said they would benefit from assistance related to employee training.  Almost 50% said they had participated in a formal apprenticeship program and/or would consider participating in such a program.

Information from the HR Business Walk is communicated to civic and business stakeholders for consideration in the development of programs and services that can assist manufacturers.

“Despite the HR challenges many of our manufacturers are already experiencing, the optimism around employee growth underscores the economic potential for manufacturing in the Region and the need to continually support this sector,” says Corie Griffiths, Manager of Economic Development.

Read the full report.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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