Labour Shortage Bigger Challenge Than Ever: Edmonton Journal
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Labour shortage bigger challenge than ever
EDMONTON – An executive from a big-name construction company drew laughs at a recent business conference when he urged everyone in the room to go home and make babies — so dire is the need for workers in Alberta.
It’s no joke for employers; The labour shortage that plagued Albertans with long lines for service and inflated costs for purchases from burgers to upgraders is back. The underlying factors never went away even when the economy tanked in late 2008 and 2009, argues Mike Corbett, senior vice-president of David Aplin Recruiting. In fact, things may be worse this time around given an expected wave of retirements in 2011 — the year when baby boomers start turning 65, and healthy economies in regions, which traditionally send labour to Alberta.
“We don’t have the access to human capital that we did in the past,” Corbett says. “We may not see the economic expansion that we saw, but we’ll find it more difficult to find those key resources. “People are three or four years older and the stock market is almost at 14,000 and they’ve recovered a lot of what they’ve lost so their appetite to retire is probably stronger today than it was in ’08 or ’09.” Corbett warned of a labour shortage as early as January 2010. “Although the unemployment rate is up, we haven’t done anything to solve the labour shortage problem that we experienced back in ’07,” he said at the time.
Now, the Alberta government forecasts a shortage of at least 77,000 workers within the next decade…