EDITORIAL: Appreciation of the workforce is as important as providing a living wage

If you invested in “help wanted” signs before the pandemic, you’re probably too busy counting your money to read this. Across the country – including the Bow Valley – employers are desperate to fill vacancies as demand continues to outweigh

If you invested in “help wanted” signs before the COVID-19 pandemic, you’re probably too busy counting your money to read this.

Across the country, including in the Bow Valley, employers are desperate to fill vacancies as demand continues to outstrip labor supply.

While some may think people delay employment to collect government financial aid, it’s more likely that the vast majority would choose a full-time job with a good paycheck and a positive work-life balance.

However, the pandemic has caused many people to rethink their careers.

In the United States, this led to the “Summer of Quitting” which turned into the Great Resignation as more than 4.4 million people left their jobs in September. Although Canada did not quite see the significant move of the United States, the country was not spared.

A look at storefronts in the Bow Valley show the many signs looking for workers or asking customers to act with respect to their employees, as staff shortages can lead to delays and frustration.

Anyone who believes things are about to change should be applauded for being a glass half full type of person.

The Job Resource Centre’s latest labor market survey shows a less rosy picture for employers.

The mid-year review has resulted in staffing shortages in the Bow Valley, which had a significant impact on employers between February and July and will likely continue for the foreseeable future.

The region has long relied on transient and international workers who come to areas like Banff and Canmore to experience the mountainous environment as much as to earn money. However, COVID-19 has all but stopped the arrival of international workers as well as many other provinces to fill jobs.

The job center also saw 80% of its clients seek help in finding new careers, while the remaining 20% ​​were looking for a job.

The problem in the valley is that many jobs are related to services and tourism, which fall far short of full-time jobs. When the cost of living in the valley is added, the mountains become less appealing as a person survives from paycheck to paycheck.

In the accommodation and food industry, Statistics Canada reported 157,000 vacancies in August, compared to an average of 76,600 between July and September 2019.

While big hotels and chains might offer workers raises to improve their lives, many smaller companies are simply unable to do so because they themselves have struggled to endure long enough to cross the line. arrival of COVID-19.

At this point, almost every resident of the valley has seen the Alberta Living Wage Network report from October which indicated that a living wage in Canmore was $37.40 an hour for each parent of a two-parent household with two children.

But if the cost of living is one factor, feeling appreciated is another.

The dominant idea over the years has been to tell people that they are lucky to have a job. Ultimately, it fails to identify the root causes of why people choose to quit a job or pass up an opportunity.

A report from RBC Economics in July showed that people were more likely to stay in their jobs during the early months of the pandemic due to uncertainty, but as people started getting vaccinated, many started looking greener pastures. As the buildup of burnout, underappreciation, struggling to get by financially grew, many people took on a new job or realized they didn’t have to settle down.

The report notes ways to stem the flow of fleeing workers through higher wages and more flexible working conditions. If they sound ideal, that’s because they are.

When it comes to employment, one thing has remained true over the years.

If you pay employees an adequate salary, treat them with respect, and offer a good work-life balance, they will reward you in kind.

Michael A. Bynum