The Steinbach business community is concerned by the growing number of vacant job positions in the area.
That is according to Michelle Bezditny, who is Executive Director for the Steinbach Chamber of Commerce. Bezditny says this is a trend they have been noticing for the last two years. And, it seems this is impacting all sectors.
Anna Mondor is Director for Economic Development in Steinbach. Bezditny says Mondor is in the process of assessing the shortage of workers in our community. According to Mondor, there are currently around 450 vacant jobs in Steinbach, though they are still in the process of assessing the actual needs. LocalJobShop.ca on SteinbachOnline averaged 18-20 local job postings per day over this past week.
Bezditny says there are a few reasons she can give, for the high job vacancy in our city. She notes the pandemic can be blamed for much of it. First of all, Bezditny says there are fewer newcomers to Steinbach for business owners to try hiring. She says in a given year there are approximately 5,700 newcomers that immigrate to Manitoba, however that number was reduced significantly in both 2020 and 2021 as the result of COVID-19. But, Bezditny says the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program is looking to attract and assist an additional 2,000 immigrants with hopes of narrowing this gap.
Also, during the pandemic, Bezditny says Manitobans chose to relocate to other provinces, while some of the skilled workforce has changed professions completely. This includes some going back to school for additional training to provide opportunities for growth and expansion. And, Bezditny says there is also a portion of the population that retired; for some, it was the pandemic that made the decision for them. And finally, Bezditny says it is also possible that Steinbach does not have the population to meet the needs of business expansion. All of these are reasons why there may be a higher number of job postings today.
Bezditny says the Steinbach Chamber of Commerce is taking immediate action to try and attract new talent to the city. Together with Mondor, the Chamber is hosting a Steinbach bus tour and job fair on both June 8th and 29th. She notes if these are well received, they will look to schedule additional tours in 2022. The tour is focused primarily on attracting newcomers.
"The morning session will be a tour of our great city and the afternoon session will include a job fair where local employers can connect directly with the new immigrants and offer employment," she explains. "In addition to that we are also in discussions with Eastman Education Centre and looking for opportunities to expand training and education."
Meanwhile, Bezditny says the Steinbach Chamber of Commerce continues to work closely with the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program in addition to other provincial refugee organizations, with a focused approach on marketing and promoting Steinbach.
"Newcomers provide that valued skilled workforce for our business community that they depend on and we celebrate the diversity newcomers bring to our region," she adds.