Thousands of Canadian jobs in small business continue to go unfilled: CFIB estimates 251,000 positions vacant for more than four months in 2006



    TORONTO, March 13 /CNW/ - The long-term vacancy rate among Canada's small
businesses continues to grow, according to the latest research by the Canadian
Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). CFIB estimates that there were
251,000 full- and part-time positions in small- and medium-sized businesses
unfilled for at least four months in 2006. This is up from 233,000 in 2005.
    "While the level of concern over the shortage of labour has been
alarmingly high for the past few years, in 2006 it reached an all-time high in
many provinces," said CFIB vice-president Dan Kelly. "Roughly one in four
Canadian businesses experienced at least one long-term vacancy at their firm
last year. That is a lot of lost productivity for our economy."
    Kelly said the study looked at the number of businesses that had at least
one job vacant for four months or more, and at the overall number of long-term
job vacancies. The research found that 3.6 per cent of all positions in small-
and medium-sized firms in Canada had been unfilled for at least four months in
2006, compared to 3.2 per cent in 2005.
    Based on this data, CFIB estimated a total of 251,000 long-term vacancies
in small- and medium-sized businesses across Canada. The provincial estimates
broke down as follows:

    
    British Columbia            30,000    Quebec                      32,000
    Alberta                     62,000    New Brunswick               11,000
    Saskatchewan                15,000    Nova Scotia                 14,000
    Manitoba                    11,000    Prince Edward Island         3,000
    Ontario                     70,000    Newfoundland and Labrador    3,000
    

    Long-term vacancies were common in businesses in all sectors, but smaller
firms in the construction, agriculture and hospitality sectors were
particularly hard hit. Firms in the hospitality industry experienced the
highest jump in the vacancy rate since 2005, going from 2.7 per cent to 4.3 in
2006.
    When asked for which types of skill they had the greatest need, small
firms were most desperate to find medium-skilled trades employees. Four in ten
respondents said they need employees with a college-level education, or
apprenticeship training, such as carpenters, chefs, or plumbers. About one
third of employers need staff with secondary school or specialized,
occupation-specific training like drivers, childcare workers or machine
operators. Another important finding is that firms are increasingly short of
entry-level workers, with 17 per cent reporting they most needed workers to
fill positions requiring no formal education.
    "Knowing where the shortages are being felt most keenly is an important
step in making sure our education and training programs, as well as the
immigration system, are attuned to the actual opportunities in the
work-force," said Kelly. Late last year, CFIB released a major study on
Canada's immigration system. "CFIB is pleased government has made progress on
some of our recommendations and urges further action to find solutions that
would improve the long-term workings of the labour market."





For further information:

For further information: Judy Langford or Gisele Lumsden at (416)
222-8022; CFIB's report entitled "Help Wanted" can be found at www.cfib.ca.


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