Help wanted in Haliburton County
|By Lisa Gervais - Editor | September 21, 2016|
Employers are looking for a few good men and women in Haliburton County.
While some businesses and companies are complaining that back to school leaves them short-staffed, others say they’ve been struggling to find enough competent workers for a while now.
“Good people are getting harder to find. We have seen this especially this year,” said Trevor Chaulk of Chaulk Design Studio.
Cathy MorrowBarnett, of Kashaga Wood and Paint, adds, “This year it was brutal finding people,” and McKecks Tap & Grill general manager Karen Frybort says it’s the biggest staff drought she has experienced in the county.
As Baby Boomers retire, we have Nexters, Generation Y or Millennials – born between 1980 and 1994 — moving into the workforce. But, according to many of the sources that The Highlander spoke to, or who commented on our Facebook page about this issue, they are not making the grade.
Morrow-Barnett said they had a variety of applicants but it was hard to find people who actually wanted to work. She said applicants did not want to get up early, work weekends, did not have transportation, and wanted a lot of time off.
She said others could not do the work and cost the company money, while still others thought they knew it all.
She said it was hard to find staff who were: willing to listen to instructions and carry them out, ambitious, constructively innovative, punctual, sticklers for detail, proud of their work and invested mentally and physically in the job.
“So many times they want the pay cheque and do not deliver what was said to them in the job description prior to hiring,” she said on The Highlander’s Facebook page.
“I think a lot is availability of people with a work ethic,” Frybort said in an interview.
She said she had to institute a ‘phone zone’ at work. Workers must deposit their cell phones when they come to work and cannot use them during work time. Otherwise, she said, they would be on their phones during working time.
Haliburton and District Chamber of Commerce president Jerry Walker, who owns Walker’s Home Hardware in Haliburton, says there is a worrying trend underway.
“It is more than just back to school. I have been hearing from businesses as far back as the spring that there is a shortage of applications and help. I don’t know if it’s more the younger generation…”
He said he likes to hire high school students to give them a bit of work after school and on the weekend but very few have applied this year. He said when he was in school he wanted to work and his parents told him he had to, if he wanted to buy a new baseball glove, for example. Today, he said if a school student wants to buy a new cell phone, his parents simply buy it for him.
“There is a general feeling that we are not getting that next generation through. They don’t apply for jobs. They are not working.
They just don’t have the desire to work and the parents don’t have the desire to make them,” he said in an interview. But reader Cathy Henwood says the problem is the jobs that are available tend to be low paying, part-time with no benefits.
“Good jobs are harder to find for sure,” she commented on our Facebook page.
However, Walker defends employers. He said he would love to pay more but he has to remain price competitive. “It doesn’t allow you to inch up that wage.”
“The days of the small companies offering the world to their employees is getting sucked right off the table for the very reason it’s hard for all of us to pay our Hydro bill. The government is getting more and more greedy and making the cost of doing business impossible to afford giving the employees all the benefits and perks.
It’s not easy to be a small business owner.
“It’s a balance, and it’s getting more and more difficult. Small business is the root of our community, like it or not, it is a fact. If we keep losing them we lose who we are and the foundation of this community.”
A new resident, Tracy Cameron, agrees it is a delicate balance.
“I was under the impression that it is nearly impossible to find work,” she commented on Facebook. “It’s sad to see that there actually is [work] but positions can’t be filled.
Our community definitely falls under a lower income majority which makes it difficult to keep up with the cost of living. Where is the balance?”
LISA GERVAIS is the editor for The Highlander.