Friday, July 20, 2012

Sask. labour shortage 'worst in history,' most non-union employers can't hang on to workers

read the full article at Calgary Herald: More than 80 per cent of Saskatchewan's non-union contractors believe the current labour shortage is the worst in the province's history, with nearly three out of four unable to hire a journeyperson within three months and four out of 10 unable to hire at all.

Merit Contractors Association Saskatchewan, which represent 225 "open-shop'' or non-unionized contractors employing more than 4,000 workers in the province, also said 85 per cent of its member-companies are having difficulty retaining employees.

The association recently commissioned a survey of its members to determine the extent of the labour shortage and its impact on construction activity. Karen Low, executive director of the association, said the survey indicated that the labour shortage was a much bigger problem than previously thought.

"(Until) the last year, even our sector didn't realize how dire it had become,'' Low said. "I don't think anybody anticipated (the growth in construction activity)."

With two-thirds of companies having difficulty retaining skilled employees, combined with the cost of finding and training new employees, the labour shortage is delaying some projects and driving up the cost of construction, she said.

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