London job fair highlights challenges in today’s market

The rising cost of living and record inflation pose challenges to both job seekers who struggle to secure well-paid work, and employers who find it difficult to fill jobs.

With the shortage of workers in certain sectors such as professions, employers have to be creative and provide incentives to get people to expand their horizons and take jobs outside their realm.

Jason Robertson of Clintar Commercial Services in London, Ont. said: “There is definitely a workforce shortage for these types of jobs and that’s the biggest challenge we’re facing right now. We now have more jobs available than people to fill.”

Robertson was looking to hire more snowplows and equipment operators for his business at the London job fair and the White Oaks Mall workspace on Tuesday. More than 45 employers from various industries attended the fair to connect with job seekers.

Robertston said Klintar is adding more part-time jobs to provide flexibility for potential employees.

International students Hemel Patel, left, and Dromel Patel, say the lack of part-time jobs makes it difficult for them to find work that fits their schedule. (Isha Bhargava/CBC)

Lack of part-time jobs has been the biggest obstacle for Hemel and Dromel Patel, both international students at Fanshawe College. The two were at a job fair looking for any work to match their busy school schedule.

“It’s definitely hard to find a job, especially part-time,” Drummel said. “Studies are also important, so we need to be financially stable with our studies.”

The couple said that most of the job vacancies they encounter are full time only which is why restaurant and retail jobs seem to be the best option for them so that they can focus on school while also earning a living.

Demand for higher wages

Robertston said the biggest concerns he hears from workers is about insufficient hourly wages. He said the current economic situation is limiting employers in the amount of help they can provide.

“Sometimes these entry positions can be felt the hardest, so we try to do what we can as a company, but at the same time we also have to stay competitive with our pricing, so it’s kind of a pick-up 22 for us.”

Sukhman Bath, manufacturer of Diamond Aircraft, has noticed a drop in manufacturing orders for labor jobs. She believes this is due to the demand for higher paying jobs.

Suchman Bath, center, and her team at Diamond Aircraft to connect with job seekers at the London job fair and business district. (Isha Bhargava/CBC)

“People are moving abroad more now than ever,” Bath said. “The aircraft industry is booming a lot after the pandemic, so we are hiring but we also have a shortage of qualified candidates because they are getting more paid with the bigger companies.”

In addition to offering more benefits to its employees, Bath said Diamond is also adding courses for students from all kinds of educational backgrounds looking to gain work experience.

“We don’t quite take away from experience and talent because we know that not everyone has it. Some people have it from other countries, so working with them is a win-win for all of us,” she said.

There is no shortage of opportunity and competition

Daniela Martinez wants to work in Human Resources. She believes there are plenty of job opportunities and the market is very competitive, calling it a “battle for talent”.

Although a higher cost of living is the norm for Martinez, who arrived in London from Mexico in January, she has heard from many of her friends that their current wages do not reflect inflation, she said.

“It’s tough but I think you need to keep looking for more income,” she said.

Sally Amini arrived in London from Iran three months ago. She is determined to land a job that puts her foot in the door. (Isha Bhargava/CBC)

Sally Amini said that while the competitive nature of the job market makes it difficult to get a job for newcomers like her, it is not impossible, she said. However, Amini believes that employers need to be more flexible in their work requirements.

“They want someone with a background and experience, which is why people don’t submit their resume, but if employers can give them a chance for a few months of training, maybe those people have the ability to thrive and show their performance,” he added.

Both Amini and Martinez say they’re open to any kind of job that gets their feet in the door, and if those jobs can’t make ends meet, they’ll take on an extra job.

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