MONTREAL, Jan. 12 /CNW Telbec/ - Overcoming the challenge posed by being
able to access a skilled labour force in the coming years would seem to
be one of the major factors in business success according to a survey
of 350 company managers which Léger Marketing conducted for the Quebec
Employers Council, the province's largest employers' association.
The results of the survey indicate most Québec companies are ready to
support a number of recommendations aimed at improving job training,
encouraging the integration of immigrant workers into the workplace,
and retaining experienced workers aged 55 and older. The managers also
express their desire, in the survey, to invest in their own company and
thereby help create the conditions in Québec that are needed for the
emergence of a more prosperous society.
"As the Québec government prepares to hold a series of consultations in
2011 on the issues related to the availability of skilled labour, the
results of this survey allow us to provide avenues of thought and
constructive solutions in light of the employers' position on these
questions," remarked Yves-Thomas Dorval, the president of the Quebec
Improving training and access to the job market
In response to the series of recommendations submitted to them, almost
all (94%) of the company managers say they agree with the suggestion
that every training program (professional, technical or university)
must be combined, whenever possible, with a business internship course.
On the other hand, 88% of those surveyed say they are willing to have
interns in their company, a ratio that increases to 97% for companies
with 100 to 249 employees and to 100% for companies with 250 or more
employees. Meanwhile, a majority (62%) of company heads also expressed
a willingness to speak at high schools and Cégeps or serve as mentors
to encourage entrepreneurial development.
From a training standpoint, 78% of company managers who considered they
had made significant investments in the business last year (89% of
respondents) invested in training their labour force, while the
percentage rises to 68% for those expecting to invest substantially
over the next 24 months (84% of respondents).
Expressing their view on three measures that might provide students with
faster access to the labour force and a fair balance between the
students themselves and better use of the government's financial
resources, 79% of the company managers believe the college or
university-level students who take supplementary terms beyond what is
set out in the program should be entitled to an extra semester on the
same financial conditions, but they would have to pay the actual cost
for any additional terms they take. Three-quarters (77%) of those
surveyed feel that university tuition fees should be adjusted in
relation to the actual cost of the course in the various disciplines,
and 88% agree that, should there be a substantial hike in tuition fees,
increased financial assistance should be made available to students in
need, and a portion of this aid would then be repaid by the students,
in relation to their employment income.1
New arrivals and experienced workers
Resorting to immigrant workers and maintaining the employment of an
experienced labour force aged 55 and older are two pivotal strategies
to confront a shortage of skilled workers.
The survey, in this regard, shows that two-thirds (67%) of company
manager respondents express an interest in hiring immigrant workers who
have never previously worked in the province of Québec. But the fact
33% of respondents are unreceptive to such a recommendation might
indicate a significant portion of companies still do not realize the
urgency of the problem of being able to access a skilled labour force
or do not believe resorting to immigrant workers is a way to solve the
issue. Among the reluctance to hiring immigrant workers, the
respondents cited an inability to understand the language (30%) or the
Québec culture (20%), and the lack of qualifications (23%) or
Close to three of every four company managers (73%) consider the
implementing of measures to keep experienced workers aged 55 and older
on the job is important for their company. As a result, 79% of the
managers surveyed showed a willingness to reduce work hours and 78% are
ready to offer greater flexibility in terms of work hours to hold on to
their experienced labour force. Almost 8 in 10 respondents (79%) would
agree to the federal and provincial governments making changes to
public pension plans to encourage experienced workers to prolong their
stay on the job market.
Private investment in Québec
W hile Québec is the province that has had the lowest rate of private
investment in the country2 — a determining success factor — 89% of companies say they have made
significant investments in the past year, and 84% of them expect to
make substantial investments over the course of the next 24 months.
Besides the investment made in training, the companies have mainly
invested or expect to invest in equipment (66% over the past year and
56% over the next 24 months), and in information technologies or
communications (38% and 34% respectively). It should be noted, however,
that the investment in information technologies or communications is
relatively light and undoubtedly needed to be increased considering the
link made by numerous studies3 between company investments in this area and overall productivity. In
2007, Québec ranked third in a reference group of four Canadian
provinces, behind Ontario and Alberta, but ahead of British Columbia,
with an investment of $2,963 per worker in this sector.4
This Léger Marketing survey was conducted by telephone from November
8-26, 2010 among 350 managers of companies of 25 employees or more. Its
margin of error is 5.24%, 19 times out of 20. The complete report (in
French) is available on the Quebec Employers Council website (www.cpq.qc.ca).
The Quebec Employers Council brings together many of Québec's largest
companies and the vast majority of sector-based employers' groups, making it Québec's sole employer federation.
1 As part of another Léger Marketing survey conducted in November 2010
by the Quebec Employers Council among 500 university students, the
respondents express agreement with these latter three recommendations
in a respective ratio of 41%, 46% and 82%.
2 Over the last 25 years, the portion of private investment in the GDP
was, on average, 14% in Québec compared to 17% in the rest of Canada.
3 Benoit A. Aubert et al. Productivité et technologies de l'information, Centre sur la productivité et la prospérité, HEC Montréal, 2009.
4 Quebec Employers Council. Report Card on Quebec Prosperity, 2010, pgs. 43 and 44.
SOURCE CONSEIL DU PATRONAT DU QUEBEC
For further information:
Advisor - Communications
Cell. : 438 886 9804