Québec, the laboratory of a rarity announced

Photo: Renaud Philippe The Duty

The quebec economy is facing a growing problem of scarcity of labor. In order to cope, she will have to learn how to better train and benefit from the workers which it already has, in addition to attract new ones from abroad. A good way to get an idea of what to expect in the next few years is to go for a ride on the side of the capital, Quebec.

The headcount reductions announced in the québec public service will not be that of the unfortunate, even in a region that has as many employees as the National Capital.


“With a little luck, it will perhaps help to put a little of labor on the market, “hopes Valérie Marier, vice-president, marketing and communications, for the firm of it consultants of Quebec Effenti. “There are so many beautiful projects to come in our field. But as the available human resources are all already used, the only ones that will enjoy it are those who will find the manpower needed. “


It’s been a long time already that the experts warned developed countries against the demographic shock and its impact on the amount of labor available to fuel their economies. Particularly exposed to this problem, Quebec has seen, for the first time last year, to reduce the absolute number of its citizens aged 15 to 64 years of age.


Faced with an ageing even more rapidly and its population, coupled with a nice economic growth, which amounted to 8.6 % between 2008 and 2013 (compared to a provincial average of 5.6 %), the greater Quebec city region is at the forefront of this phenomenon. High of an unemployment rate of just 5.3 % in 2014 (against a provincial average of 7.7 %), and 4.3 % among 25-54 year-olds (from 6.7% in Quebec), it could do the office of trip in the future with respect to the growing problem of scarcity of labour in Quebec.


A bad real property, which extends


The problem began to be felt as early as 2007 in the sector of information technology, explains Line Lagacé, vice-president, Québec international, the economic development agency and international of the region. “We started to hear companies say that the shortage of labor could become a constraint to their development. “The concern has spread gradually to other economic sectors, such as insurance, manufacturing, health, restoration… people are complaining about the shortage of university graduates who are specialized, but also of welders, labourers and cooks.


It’s hard to find official statistics are sufficiently detailed to measure the problem, but it is no less real, and growing, assured that this was the president and chief executive officer of the Chamber of commerce and industry of Québec, Alain Kirouac, just before being appointed deputy minister responsible for the Secrétariat à la Capitale-Nationale. “We hear more and more companies say that they have had to refuse contracts or waive create another shift because they do not find the labor necessary. “


Top private employers in the region, after the sector of the restoration, the 11 insurance companies had their head offices in Quebec have passed in addition to the competition that opposes them to have a common agency with a mission to take care of the problem by actions with the workers, youth and training institutions. “We must be able, good year, bad year, about 3000 items per year, including 400 to 500 new. There is talk of very good jobs to conditions well above the average. We do not always find what we seek, but we managed to adapt and this does not constitute a brake to our development, “said René Hamel, ceo of SSQ financial Group.


It sometimes happens, however, that they will be resolved, in the absence of bilingual candidates, which will be assigned to offices in Toronto some of the tasks we would have wanted to keep in Quebec city. “Mastering English is essential in some positions,says the insurer. Nearly 40 % of our business is now done outside Quebec, and this proportion will continue to increase. “


Skills required


Our insurers say they are happy with the support provided by the universities and colleges that offer specialized training programmes, have helped to create an online training program in English, specializing in insurance. Also rather see a good eye the staff cuts announced in the public sector. “It is sure that it will not interfere. The public sector is our biggest competitor for labour in Quebec, “says René Hamel.


It was nice to find in a region where employers complain of a lack of manpower, it does not mean that everyone finds work. “We see immigrants as people who were born in Quebec. There are those who have not completed their secondary 5 and others who have degrees in sectors that are less in demand or who lack only experience, “explains Catherine Marquis, employment counsellor at Option-work, a center based in Sainte-Foy who accompanied the young people from 16 to 35 in their efforts of social and economic insertion. Some only need a little bit of time and support to do their CV or to prepare for their interviews, ” she said. Others need to develop basic skills, such as punctuality, or questioning their career choice in the light of supply and demand. “It is not easy to answer without stops not when we see others being so much sought after in other sectors. “


Offer more to the workers


The hunt for workers, encouraged among other companies in Quebec to offer average salaries (24,05 $/hour) similar to, if not superior, to those offered in the Montreal area (23,83 $/hour) despite a cost of living lower. But some do more than this and to rethink completely their approach to managing their human resources. “This is not only a question of wage or number of vacation days. It involves presenting the best offer in terms of working conditions, professional experience and personal development “, says the president of Effenti, Stéphane Bernier, who has decided to make it a distinctive mark of its company. Its employees are, among others, invited to participate in all kinds of social activities, some of which are the subject of videos on the social networks. It is also moving to test a new it platform that will provide clients with the experienced professionals they expect, while giving the chance for new recruits to learn the trade.


Effenti, like other companies, also participates in overseas missions to recruit the manpower which is lacking to him. Québec international is to close to twenty missions general or sectoral in France, Belgium and Spain, but also in the United States, in North Africa and in Latin America. “On our last mission in Europe, we received 13 000 applications for 350 positions, tells Line Lagacé. The region has much to offer in terms of economic prospects and quality of life, but it continues to attract less than our share of workers and foreign investors. It is a work of long breath. We are in a world war, the war of resources and employment. “


Rise the eyes


Alain Kirouac has, however, confidence in the capacity of adaptation of companies in the region of Quebec. The scarcity of labor will, according to him, willingly or by force, to find ways to more effectively manage their human resources, to improve their productivity and to innovate in their business practice. “Business leaders are often consumed by their problems in the short term and fail to notice a phenomenon that when it hurts them. It has long been held that the availability of labour for granted. We realize today that this is no longer the case, and one begins to seek solutions. I am confident that it will. We know that they exist. “

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