The COVID-19 pandemic has led to many changes in society. Dating apps like Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge have seen a 15 to 25 percent increase in usage as people implement a ‘screening process’ before agreeing to meet someone in person. In Canada, three percent of households that did not own pets prior to the pandemic added a furry friend to their family due to seeking companionship in lockdown. This is great news for lotharios and canines, but for the small business owner COVID-19 has presented a new challenge – a significant labour shortage.
In many ways, COVID-19 was simply the straw that broke the camel’s back in Alberta, with the lockdowns merely pushing what was already happening to an extreme. In the oil and gas sector, for example, with business on a years-long downward trend, many workers were already contemplating a change in career. The complete closure of provincial borders simply convinced them to take the plunge, resulting in shutdowns and idle machinery. At the height of the pandemic in the summer of 2020, just six rigs were operating in all of Western Canada.
The ongoing labour shortage spans many other industries too. In fact, in September 2021, 55 percent of entrepreneurs in Canada reported problems securing adequate staffing. More specifically, in the hospitality industry, many have become tired of constant lockdowns and closures interfering with a steady paycheque (as well as lucrative tips) and have moved on to other careers.
We are feeling the knock-on effects of this shortage today, as local restaurants remain closed and the demand for energy continues to exceed supply. In October, the price of gasoline soared to all-time highs across Canada, and higher gas prices affect almost every industry.
But we are Albertans – and for every problem, we find a solution. Employers are simply having to get creative in luring workers back to their jobs. In a competitive market, raising wages is the obvious solution. But there are more ways to sweeten the deal. Offering health benefits, switching hourly workers onto guaranteed salaries, implementing profit-sharing schemes, or introducing a system of yearly bonuses have all seen positive results.
The bottom line is, of course, your bottom line. The extra money needed to pay employees extra has to come from somewhere. At RISE Capital, with clients operating in transportation, technology, manufacturing, and agriculture, our phone’s been ringing off the hook since the recovery began in earnest. Among our many other services, we help secure the right financial support that allows companies to boost the level of remuneration they can offer. Remember – spending money is a vital part of growth and expansion. Land the perfect team, and keep looking upwards.