April 8, 2012 – With an aging workforce, impending mass retirements, and a decrease in uptake of certain educational programs related to the electricity sector, the Electricity Sector Council (ESC) said immigrants will play an increasingly significant role in meeting the sector’s labour force needs.
According to the council, immigrants represent 13% of the total labour force in Canada’s utilities industry (of which the electricity and renewables sector is a key component) – which is below the national average of 19% of immigrants employed in all industries. This means other industries are facing similar challenges with skill shortages and are seeing Internationally Trained Workers (ITWs) as an attractive source of talent, it added.
According to the Conference Board of Canada, “those organizations with ‘immigrant-friendly’ policies and practices in place that address the needs and issues of international talent are the ones that will attract and retain the workers needed to succeed.”
In this context, the Electricity Sector Council (ESC) has developed a resource kit to help support employers to reach and leverage the talent pool. The kit provides pragmatic, accessible and user-friendly resources to enable employers to quickly become more effective at recruiting, hiring, integrating and retaining ITWs, said ESC.
“The ITW resource kit will be of huge help in terms of all of the processes with hiring International workers. With so much growth in this industry it is important to reach out to skilled workers all over the world,” said Lynn Meloney, project chair and HR specialist at Emera Utility Services. “This kit is not only a resource for industry but for workers as well, as it contains a collection of tried and tested ideas and resources from industry across Canada.”
ESC’s 2011 Labour Market Information report, Power in Motion, has revealed several reasons for employers in the electricity and renewable energy industry to employ Internationally Trained Workers including:
• Meeting labour needs
• Increasing competitiveness
• Helping develop new markets
• Making an organization more effective and innovative
• Connecting employers with other valuable workers and organizations
“Our recent LMI report has indicated that despite significant efforts from the sector to develop new and innovative ways to address staffing needs, the workforce shortage still exists,” said Michelle Branigan, executive director of ESC. “New Canadians, among others, will need to be part of the strategy to mitigate that shortage.”
Funded by the Foreign Credential Referral Office of Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the material is available in hard copy, and electronically with hyperlinks to other useful resources and websites at www.brightfutures.ca/international.
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