Current and Future Job Opportunities in the Three Ontario Counties
Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry
This Executive Summary is an overview of the final report submitted to the EOTB (Eastern Ontario Training Board) in response to a request for proposal to design, develop and carry out a comprehensive needs census of the Manufacturing sector in the Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry. The work was undertaken as original research with three primary objectives:
- to identify factories and other manufacturing operations that intend to add to their workforce over the next 12 to 24 months;
- to identify the skills required for the jobs that are expected to be created; and
- to provide the EOTB with all findings including an appropriate description of implications and recommendations.
The Census results are based on information gained from 86 manufacturing firms located in the three counties, which represents approximately half of the manufacturers currently in operation in the area. The research design, interviewer training and data analysis were supervised by Dr. S. J. Wilson, PhD, MBA., a specialist in statistics and research methods, to ensure that the census would provide accurate findings and meaningful conclusions to the EOTB.
Anticipated Workforce Expansion
- Over 60% of the companies interviewed plan to hire full-time employees in 1999, 2000 and/or 2001
- A greater proportion, 78.9%, of "large" companies (ie: 70 or more employees) intend to hire full-time employees, as compared to 64.1% of "medium sized" companies (ie: 11 to 69 employees) and 52.0% of "small" companies (ie: 1 to 10 employees)
- The data indicate that approximately 283 full-time jobs will be created in 1999, a further 259 in 2000 and an additional 130 in 2001, for a total of 672 new full-time jobs in the period up to 2001
- Far fewer companies anticipate hiring part-time, occasional or temporary workers during this period: 15.5% plan to hire part-time employees, 11.1% plan to hire occasional employees, and 25.5% plan to hire temporary employees
- The strongest job creation will be in production work. Approximately two-thirds of planned new full-time positions (ie: 443 positions with 31 companies) were identified in this category.
- Hiring of full-time staff is also planned in the categories of office clerical (ie: 55 positions with 17 companies), warehousing and distribution (ie: 45 positions with 14 companies), supervision and management (ie: 41 positions with 13 companies), and sales (ie: 35 positions with 12 companies)
- A small number (ie: less than 20) of new full-time jobs are also expected in the categories of product design; accounting, finance and administration; quality assurance; and other
Priority Skills and Attributes
- Forklift skills are a major priority for the Census participants, as over 60% of companies surveyed included forklift skills in their list of skill needs
- Basic computer literacy is another skill priority, as approximately half of companies listed office automation skills (ie: word processing, spreadsheet and internet capability) as key skills for office and clerical workers
- Over 70% of companies contacted indicated a strong interest in employees with good interpersonal and self-management skills. This emphasizes the desire of the surveyed manufacturers for employees who can work effectively in a team based situations as well as individuals who are motivated and able to work independently.
- Many companies indicated that they provide internal training in company specific product and process related areas; two companies inquired if there was funding available to support this type of training
- Two other companies were interested in the possibility of using more apprenticeship and co-op programs
Implications and Recommendations
After considerable job losses in recent years, the Census data indicates a fairly optimistic outlook for job creation in the manufacturing sector in the Three Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry. Over 60% of the companies who participated in the Census intend to hire additional employees in 1999, 2000 and/or 2001, as compared to an expected increase in hiring of only 33% for manufacturing companies in all of Ontario.¹ Furthermore, the majority of the newly created positions will be full-time, despite current employment trends toward more part-time, contract and temporary work.
The optimism created by the anticipated workforce expansion is tempered by many respondents' concerns about a lack of appropriately skilled employees. Specifically, a majority of the Census participants listed forklift skills as a need. Many companies also expressed a clear desire for employees who possess good computer skills, and many cited a grade 12 education as a prerequisite for employment. Interpersonal and self-management abilities were also identified as highly desirable in new employees. Moreover, many companies seemed unsure about the role government plays (or could play) in supporting the broad education and training needs of the manufacturing sector.
In conclusion, manufacturers in the Three Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry seem poised to grow and thrive. However, there is at least the perception that there are various barriers to achieving their goals of competitiveness and profitability. These barriers include a concern about the availability of adequate candidates to fill new positions, and continuous increases in employment-related taxes. The manufacturing industry in the Three Counties recognizes the importance of a broadly skilled, motivated workforce. Therefore, based on the raw data and anecdotal information collected in this Census, it is recommended that the EOTB and its sponsors strive to provide additional support in the following areas:
- Provide manufacturers with information on the training they need to be competitive and profitable;
- Provide information to manufacturing companies on government sponsored apprenticeship and similar co-op training programs;
- Assist employees who have the necessary technical, computer and interpersonal skills, to identify evolving employment opportunities in manufacturing sector
- Encourage support (in the form of funding and/or research) from local, provincial and/or federal governments that optimizes the link between the staffing and training needs of manufacturers and the training and employment initiatives of manufacturing based employees.
¹ "Manpower Employment Outlook Survey - Third Quarter 1999." Manpower News Announcement, May 25, 1999.