11 October 2021

How to Address the Worsening Workforce Shortage in North America

Wayne Burgess
Wayne Burgess

The workforce shortage is set to continue for a while yet, and may even get worse across the US and Canada as we move through the remainder of 2021 and into 2022, according to various studies. 

So what exactly is the impact of the workforce shortage, why is there a shortage of workers and can a well-strategized contingent workforce management program address the challenges in today’s workforce?

We answer all those questions in this blog, but let’s start with a quick outlook on the current workforce environment across North America. 

Canadian companies, according to an article from the Financial Post, are still struggling to find workers - and they think it’s only going to get worse from here.

The survey from The Harris Poll finds Canadian firms remain desperate for workers, and are finding it increasingly difficult to fill vacant roles.

In fact, 84 percent of companies say they expect to face problems hiring this year, with almost one-third reporting they currently have open positions they can’t find anyone to fill.

Meanwhile, the ‘great resignation’ is continuing in the US, with many Americans expecting to look for a new job as the pandemic continues. 

According to Bankrate's August jobseeker survey, some 55 percent of people in the workforce (meaning that they’re currently working or actively looking for employment) said they are likely to look for a new job in the next 12 months.

The survey of 2,452 adults confirms trends seen in the workforce across North America in recent months. Despite millions of workers remaining unemployed, a variety of industries are struggling to find workers to fill positions. 

Job openings in the US surged to an all-time high of 10.1 million at the end of June, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Why is there such a shortage of workers right now?

In the US, Bankrate’s survey found a variety of reasons that Americans are looking to find new work. Some 56 percent of those surveyed said that flexibility was their primary reason to look for a new job, topping higher pay and job security (a trend that applied to even the lowest paid workers). 

Mark Hamrick, Senior Economic Analyst at Bankrate, commented: “There have been a lot of epiphanies and reckonings that have occurred during the time with respect to how we’re ultimately prioritizing our values, and of course how work fits into that.”

Meanwhile, in Canada, according to The Harris Poll survey, problems with assessing potential employees’ skills, more competition in the job market, a skills gap with people lacking experience and both hard and soft skills, and no applications were the top reasons that employers cited for their difficulty in finding workers.

With the workforce crisis deepening across North America, can the contingent workforce provide the answer?

With businesses competing fiercely with one another to fill open positions, what options are out there for companies to fulfill their workforce requirements without dramatically overpaying their workers? 

The increased use of the contingent workforce, including temporary and contract workers, and staffing agencies can help some businesses address the shortage that many sectors are experiencing right now. 

While the contingent workforce may not be the panacea for all of your organization's workforce challenges, it certainly will go some way in offering relief to the workforce problem that’s now almost reaching crisis levels.

By using staffing agencies to source contingent workers, your business is able to fill gaps in your workforce both cost-effectively and quickly. And with many employees now looking for flexibility as their main priority, it’s likely that in the coming months the contingent workforce pool will grow significantly larger than it has been before. 

Contingent workers provide your organization with the opportunity to access on-demand expertise at a moment’s notice, all for a significantly lower price than you would have to pay full-time employees. 

Are you interested in learning how you can better manage your contingent workforce using a vendor management system to better strategically fill open positions?

Get in touch with Conexis VMS today. We would love to show you how our innovative software solution works.

Conexis VMS Case Study

Wayne Burgess

Wayne Burgess

Prior to starting Conexis, Wayne was a tireless champion for clients within Accenture’s Procurement practice with specific experience across the Services and Contingent Labour spectrum. Wayne has run programs from as small as $5m to as big as $2bn. Wayne has deep consulting and operational delivery experience. He is a talented leader of organizations and has a proven track record of driving significant customer value.

Subscribe to the Conexis Blog