Spatial Mismatch

There is a term for the situation when employees can’t or don’t live where the jobs are located: economists call it “spatial mismatch”.

In some cities this condition is very pronounced. Think San Francisco. Boston. New York City. And to a lesser degree, Vancouver, Victoria, and the Saanich Peninsula. When housing costs are prohibitive, workers, especially those who are lower-income earners, are forced to live further and further away from their jobs.

We are beginning to see significant consequences of this mismatch. In the San Francisco area, some restaurants can’t hire servers so, by necessity, they have gotten creative and have put their patrons to work. There are fine dining restaurants that have become self-serve. Diners find their own tables, get their own water, order drinks and food at a counter and often bus their own dirty dishes. Perhaps not surprisingly, more people are opting for take-out than eating-in. Locally, a lack of available staff has resulted in Help Wanted signs popping up and some businesses have had to reduce the hours they are open.  

In recognition of the growing divide, some cities and regions have developed strategies to connect low-wage workers to good jobs. Many of the jobs that go unfilled are those in the service industry. Employees are more likely to travel longer distances for a position that pays competitive wages and offers a benefits package. Employers are creating entry-level jobs and demonstrating the potential for those positions to lead to a career. Wherever possible, housing is being created adjacent to jobs and transit. Employers are offering predictable and regular hours that coincide with transit schedules and are providing employees complimentary bus passes.   

Connecting workers and employers across our region will remain an issue for the foreseeable future. Addressing this lopsided supply will require local governments and companies (and organizations like ours) to innovate a Saanich Peninsula solution.

 

Denny Warner,

Executive Director

 

 

Cast Your Net Widely

I attended a workforce forum last week, which was focussed on the the difficult challenges employers face in finding employees to fill current positions. Employers are having to spend an increasing amount of time on recruitment and retention efforts, and are finding it necessary to expand their focus to access groups of people they have not had experience recruiting including immigrants, indigenous populations, people with diverse abilities, and the semi-retired.

The first challenge employers face is in figuring out where and how to access these largely untapped and diverse groups of potential employees. Gone are the days when you post a classified ad and are overwhelmed with resumes from a host of qualified applicants. The second challenge is in successfully and sensitively navigating the recruiting process. Employers may find themselves dealing with language and cultural barriers as well as workplace accommodation issues. It seems the key to making this all work is time, patience, and flexibility.  

Seemingly at odds with the difficulty employers are facing recruiting, at the federal level, as mentioned by Saanich – Gulf Islands MP, Elizabeth May, who attended the same forum, is the focus of bureaucrats and politicians on job creation. This policy approach is more than a little mind-boggling considering almost every business I know is looking for employees. It isn’t merely an irritant that companies have jobs open for extended periods of time; for some smaller businesses, a lack of employees has resulted in shortened hours and work weeks. It is very difficult to generate revenue when your doors are closed.

There seems to be a slight recognition of the shift in the balance of power from job creators to job seekers as evidenced by the criteria for the 2019 Canada Summer Jobs program. They have relaxed their previous requirement that applicants be students. We are able to hire any qualified candidates between the ages of 15 and 30. It’s a small step, but employers will take whatever help is offered.

Our thanks to John Juricic and Harbour Digital Media for shining the light on these important labour market issues. This Chamber will continue to support employers’ recruiting and retaining efforts by sharing information about programs and people and resources. Stay connected and sign up to receive our weekly e-Blast.

Denny Warner,

Executive Director

 

 

 

 

Peninsula Industrial Forces Unite

Media Contact:
Denny Warner
(250) 656-3616
execdir@peninsulachamber.ca
peninsulachamber.ca

PENINSULA INDUSTRIAL FORCES UNITE

SIDNEY, FEBRUARY 1, 2019 — The Sidney North Saanich Industrial Group (SNSIG) is pleased to announce that they are consolidating their Peninsula-based Industry and Manufacturing Sector advocacy efforts with the Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce. Recognizing similar focus and goals, and the importance of maximizing organizational resources, Peninsula-based industrial companies appreciate the opportunity to make use of the administrative strength and community reach of the Chamber. Sidney North Saanich Industrial Group activities and programs will now be supported and delivered through the Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber is cognizant of the immense contribution that the industrial businesses make to our local economy and looks forward to facilitating their continued access to decision-makers, and to promoting strategies to best serve their interests.

John Juricic, SNSIG ED states: “The ongoing issues of Affordable Workforce Housing availability, Labour Market concerns and increased Transportation options will be best served in a sustainable and effective manner thru the expert and experienced capacity of the Peninsula Chamber of Commerce. I look forward to working with the Chamber thru this initial transition stage and developing the long-term association with this great Peninsula Business Organization.”

The Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, building community through business since 1912.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Much more than a Tour

We have organized tours of businesses on the Saanich Peninsula now for 9 years for our Tour of Industry. To date, we have visited approximately 36 of them and the Tour remains one of the most popular activities we undertake, for several reasons.

The first reason is that many of the businesses we have been privileged to see over the years are leaders in their field but do not have clients or customers in this area. They have developed ground-breaking technology, innovative products or services and yet little is known about them at the local level. It is like a treasure hunt uncovering these gems in our own back yard.

Another reason we know so little about many of these businesses is that business leaders are busy! Their work day extends far beyond the hours their employees work. It is not on their priority list to let the wider community know the fantastic nature of their operation. We never have an issue with businesses agreeing to open their doors to us despite the challenges present in shepherding almost 60 people at a time through their work areas. We present them with an audience of community leaders eager to hear their story and they are pleased to have the opportunity to brag, at our request, about their success.

When the Tour ends, our guests frequently express two main themes for why it was a valuable use of their day: they learned fascinating features of each of the businesses toured and they often had not anticipated the quality of interaction they would experience with their fellow guests. The Tour of Industry is networking on steroids. Imagine a moving mixer attended by participants who are leaders in their own areas of influence. Kind of like speed dating with a different seat mate en route to each new destination.

There are a few other reasons the franchise has prevailed: we throw in a meal with a guest speaker, we have stellar organizations that step up every year to sponsor, and, crucial to the event’s success, we have an embarrassment of industrial riches on the Saanich Peninsula and have yet to exhaust our possibilities for interesting, successful enterprises to tour.

 

Congratulations to our Winners

Business of the Year 1-15 Employees – Sponsored by TELUS PureFibre

Winner – Pacific Ridge Landscapes

Business of the Year 16 + Employees – Sponsored by Island Savings

Winner – Titan Boats

Not for Profit Organization of the Year – Sponsored by Casman Properties

Winner – Saanich Peninsula Lions Food Bank

Contribution to the Community – Sponsored by Flader CPA & Peggy Yelland & Associates

Winner – Hughesman Morris CPA

Green Business of the Year – Sponsored by Peninsula News Review

Winner – Focus Hair Design

Entrepreneurial Spirit – Sponsored by Camosun/UVic Co-op Programs

Winner – Urban Bee Honey Farm

New Business, Product or Service of the Year – Sponsored by Hughesman Morris

Winner – Trich Analytics

Employer of the Year – Sponsored by BMT, Bottle Depot and Coastal Heat Pumps

Winner – Bayshore Home Health

Outstanding Customer Service – Sponsored by Victoria Airport Authority

Winner – All Care Canada (Sidney)

Newsmaker of the Year – Sponsored by the Times Colonist

Winner – McTavish Academy of Art

Lifetime Achievement Award – Sponsored by Peninsula Co-op

Winner – Michell Family