In the Personnel Market, companies present their bids at the gigantic job fair

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Hundreds of job seekers descended on White Oaks Mall Tuesday, looking forward to taking part in the city’s largest job fair that has drawn more than 50 companies looking for talent as labor shortages affect businesses across the region. Jonathan Juha spoke to some of the employers at the show about the jobs they are trying to fill and the biggest challenges they face in hiring workers.

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Dylan Hash, Area Manager, Auto Parts Center (APC)

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For APC, which was participating for the first time in a job fair organized by London Economic Development Corp. (LEDC), one of the biggest challenges when it comes to hiring workers is having enough people apply for available jobs, Hache said.

“We are a growing company. Our main goal is to try and get more bodies into us… and the biggest thing right now is trying to find people to apply that want to join.”

Despite being a specialist in the automotive sector, the types of vacancies at APC are broad and require different levels of experience, Hache said. These positions include information technology, warehousing and delivery.

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The ability to explain this to job seekers, Hashem said, is one of the reasons why APC participated in the show.

“We are looking to expand and do different things to attract workers. We want to tell people what we do and how we do things and explain how people can grow and advance through the company.” “So having this one-on-one conversation that we think helps us do that.”

On Tuesday, the company was looking for candidates to fill five positions in London and another six in the broader region.

Laura Froggett, Regional Recruiter, Cintas

Across the London area, Cintas is looking to fill 15 to 20 positions, including drivers, sales, manufacturing and service managers.

But Froggett said the pool of talent in the region appears so limited that the company is having a hard time recruiting even recent graduates for management training programmes.

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“I would definitely say it’s been an ongoing problem, but it was definitely something we’ve found very successful in the London market,” she said. “The quality and quantity of talent, it just isn’t there now.”

Froggett said the company is also having a hard time filling entry-level positions, adding that in some cases not enough people apply for the jobs.

“Even today, people are very frustrated that we only offer full-time opportunities and are looking for part-time work,” she said, adding that the company is looking at different ways to approach potential workers.

“We are already working on developing the talent acquisition department so that we can proactively go out and identify candidates . . . “Put on their shoulders and actively recruit people,” she said.

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Karen Rampersad, Recruiter, Clinical Research Dentistry (CRD)

Rampersad described the London area labor market as a “staff market”, which means that people are more selective in the jobs they are willing to fill.

That’s why, she says, for companies like CRD, a company that distributes equipment and technology to dental clinics in the region, talent retention is becoming increasingly more important.

“We’ve found that the best people (who work for us) are often referrals, so that’s one of the reasons we’re here, to show that we’re a great employer,” Rampersad said.

She said CRD was looking to fill about 10 positions in areas such as marketing, account management, graphic design and warehousing. The presence in the exhibition also allowed the company to know the candidates who are serious about joining their company.

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“We want to make sure that the people we hire are personable, that they are real, and we believe that if they take the time to come to the job fair, they are certainly interested in the position,” she said.

It's often the first stop for people looking for work and newcomers to Canada, says Ariana Pilolli, right, of Pathways to Employment Help Center.  Pilolli speaks to people attending the job fair Tuesday, September 20, 2022, at the White Oaks Mall organized by the London Economic Development Corp.  Mike Hensen / The London Free Press
It’s often the first stop for people looking for work and newcomers to Canada, says Ariana Pilolli, right, of Pathways to Employment Help Center. Pilolli speaks to people attending the job fair Tuesday, September 20, 2022, at the White Oaks Mall organized by the London Economic Development Corp. Mike Hensen / The London Free Press

Melissa Atkinson, Human Resources, Timberland Equipment Ltd.

Although located in Woodstock, a shortage of skilled workers across the region is one of the reasons Timberland Equipment Ltd. to participate in Tuesday’s fair, Atkinson said.

“We’re trying to get more people,” she said. “For some of the positions that we have, we just need a larger group to get the right candidate . . . in this way, I think you are reaching a diverse group of people rather than throwing an advertisement online.”

Among the jobs available at a company that designs and manufactures specialized handling equipment for the construction and energy sectors are welders, mechanics and senior design engineers.

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Atkinson said that the specialized training or experience required for some of these jobs can sometimes make filling vacancies more difficult.

“We always get new projects, so the bottom line is we need people, for current projects and future projects. But I think in general, everyone has the problem of ‘filling vacancies.’

Ariana Pilolli, Recruitment Specialist, Pathways Employment Help Center

Even recruitment agencies like Pathways Employment see the scales tilting in favor of job seekers.

Pilolli said her agency is actively hiring workers for a variety of industries, from construction to technology companies in positions of management, management and clerical work.

The wide range of talent the agency is focusing on, as was the case during Tuesday’s fair, are newcomers looking to develop the right skills to enter the Canadian labor market, she said, adding that workers looking for work have plenty of options to choose from.

“Right now, we have more jobs than people,” Pilolli said.

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