For about as long as I have worked in the Recruiting and Career Development fields, Human Resource departments and organizations have been battling what seems to be a never ending fight – the fight to find people to fill jobs. Sadly, the landscape of our labour market has remained largely unchanged, despite having gone through a global recession which has been called by economists one of the largest economic crashes in the last 20 years. While the Canadian Government has been applauded for having sound fiscal and monetary policies which had contributed to our economic recovery, one would think that at some point during this time that labour market supply and demand would have come together in peace and harmony? Or at least come to a mutual understanding? Unfortunately, this appears to not be the case. Ongoing cited labour shortages and the looming max exodus of our Baby Boomers have had organizations scrambling to find employees for years. Educational institutions have been trying catch up to the needs of business by pumping out more and more graduates each year which has resulted in high tuition costs and people being trained in occupations that are no longer in high demand. All the while in the background the Government continues to struggle with an ill conceived and poorly thought out plan called the Temporary Foreign Workers Program, a controversial attempt to remedy ongoing labour market issues. I cant help but feel that we are overlooking the solution.
As I reflect on my experience as a job seeker and what I have put into practice over the last 15 years as a professional in the field, and when I compare the trends of hiring practices dating back to the industrial revolution to now, I am met with a great deal of disappointment. Don’t get me wrong, I mean in the last few hundred years we have most certainly come a long way in how we value people? Right? The fact of the matter is we have done very little to change the way people are perceived and valued in society not only as workers but as our grandparents, parents, uncles/aunts, siblings, nephews/nieces, neighbors. My colleague Samantha Grabinsky recently wrote a blog about the continued existence of racial discrimination in the workforce and the use of discriminatory screening practices by recruiters. Now tell me how far we have come? It is easy for corporations to create policy however, being accountable and following through seems to be much more difficult. The 2013 Evaluation of Employment Equity Programs highlighted how much work still needs to be done; a great deal of national companies are still neglecting to uphold their mandated diversity strategies. While corporations can create policies on diversity and Government can uphold the charter of Human Rights, the standard of practice has not changed. Stay tuned for my ongoing discussion of this controversial recruitment issue.