Manufacturing Sector Update
Completed October 2003
This report updates a labour market study commissioned by the Eastern Ontario Training Board in 1998 to answer some basic questions regarding manufacturing sector workforce market trends in S.D.& G, Prescott & Russell Counties.
Most of the manufacturing sector companies in the above five counties are not planning to hire full time employees within the next year or so.
Analysis of the information from Statistics Canada & Human Resources Development Canada plus discussion of todayÃ‚â€™s reality with Human Resources Managers, confirms that very few companies plan to hire full time employees over the next 24 months except to replace retiring employees or fill other types of vacancies. Hiring plans do not differ much according to major job categories. A few employers did indicate a need to fill office clerical positions and also suggested that they are always looking for qualified trades persons such as millwrights. Manufacturing employs the largest part of our labour force (16% of counties) but the long-term trends show it to be a shrinking sector in terms of employment.
Skills and Attributes
Employment related comments collected suggest that basic computer literacy continues to be a very high priority and suggested that office automation skills (i.e.: work processing, spreadsheet and Internet capability) are key for present and future production and clerical workers. Companies continue to indicate a strong interest in employees with good interpersonal and self-management skills. In other words, they want job applicants who could work well in team environments and who otherwise have the motivation and the ability to do the work with minimal supervision.
Fifty plus workforce
Many of the workers presently employed will reach the ripe young age of fifty over the next five to ten years. The need to replace these workers with qualified individuals is seen as a future requirement but numerous employers seem to be confident that they can fill their future needs without having to get too involved in training.
Most employers still indicate a limited interest in training. That confirms that employers have not substantially changed their approach to the development of their own workforce. There is still a feeling that they can continue to recruit (poach) their workforce needs from competitors.
Conclusions and Implications
1. The outlook for manufacturing in the Five Counties based on validated data indicates, that employers are still somewhat optimistic but anxiously watching the various pressures affecting the Canadian economy.
2. Most companies contacted do not intend to reduce or expand operations in the near future but that could change at any time. The optimism seems to be guarded.
3. Many respondents to this update are concerned with the lack of appropriately skilled employees and the uncertain economy.
4. Some employers are concerned that the system is and has been pushing the unemployed and unskilled back into the labour market and expecting employers to provide them with the skills.
5. Most continue to express a clear desire for employees who possess good, basic level computer and literacy skills along with the basic self-management skills.
6. Many employers wonder if their input ever gets to those on the frontlines responsible for helping workers get the training and education they require.
7. Employers confirm that employment in manufacturing is expected to continue to decline in the next few years and new technologies will have a significant impact on the level of skills required of workers who want employment in the sector.
8. Employers are confirming that workers will have to continue to find ways to increase their level of skills if they expect to continue to be employed.