Shomporko Online News Desk: Businesses in Canada have battled with staffing, and as provinces reopen following COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns, employers are taking to great pains to find and retain employees.
According to a July survey by recruiting firm Robert Half, employers are indeed going above and beyond to acquire talent. More than one-third of respondents said they’re paying signing incentives, with 40% saying they’re offering extra paid vacation, 37% hoping to attract new workers with better job titles, and 40% saying they’re offering an extra paid vacation.
Thirty-year-old Ian Blechta’s first foray into homeownership is a three-bedroom, 1,550 square-foot house in Stayner, Ont. The plan is to move in, with his girlfriend, in September. Ian purchased the house pre-construction for about $500,000 and he says similar units now go for $640,000.
The engineer-in-training tells Global News he’s “excited” and “grateful” to reach this milestone that he’s dreamed about, thanks to the home purchasing program announced by his employer, land development firm Crozier and Associates.
The company offers up to $20,000 to employees who have been with Crozier for at least a year and requires them to commit to the firm for three years.
“We needed to prove to the bank that we could have 20 per cent down and it was the money from Crozier that made it possible,” Blechta said.
This is a significant incentive for residents, like Blechta, who live in the Collingwood, Ont., area, which has seen home prices climb 40 per cent from May 2020 to May 2021, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).
Cash for homes is just one example of the creative lengths that employers are willing to go to keep workers and attract new hires during a labor shortage. Recruitment experts say the balance of power has shifted to workers in high-demand industries such as technology, food services, and retail, who have plenty of job options to choose from.
Crozier President Nick Mocan told Global News his firm wanted to offer something that would make a meaningful difference.
“I was hearing stories of struggles, of frustration, and the leadership team put our heads together to figure out how we can help our employees in their personal lives and solidify their ability to come to work day to day and really focus on their career,” he said.
The co-founder of Toronto-based software firm Lazer Technologies says it has to offer something unique to stand out in the tech world because there’s a global labor shortage for the types of workers it hopes to attract.
“It’s one of the toughest labor markets to hire great engineers and what makes it tougher for us is we’re looking for the top one per cent within that pool,” Arif Bhanji told Global News. “Our team of 60 people gets multiple offers from Square, Shopify, Facebook, constantly, with numbers that are astronomical. But beyond that, what they really care about is flexibility.”
Bhanji says Lazer’s hybrid work model allows employees to work remotely from anywhere in the world, while also having the option to work in a “traveling office.” The plan is to keep the company headquartered in Toronto but move its secondary office to a new location four times a year.
“Our first country is Costa Rica because we have a couple of team members that live there today. In addition, we’re planning on Uruguay, the U.A.E., and several other places in the U.S.,” he said.
Employees in high-demand areas, he said, are looking for organizations that provide more than simply higher pay.
“At some point, the extra $30,000 to $50,000 you give an engineer isn’t going to be a strong enough motivator for them to move,” he added.
Flexible work arrangements, a solid work culture, and the possibility to learn from more experienced coworkers on the job, according to Bhanji, are all essential.