The unemployment rate in Canada fell from 5.5% in February to 5.3% last month. This was the lowest rate on record since comparable data became available in 1976. The pandemic has drastically changed the Canadian workforce, where more and more people are resigning and reshuffling their priorities, trading in unfulfilling jobs for roles that align with their values.
Forty per cent of Canadian millennials have participated in the gig-economy over the past year alone, the appeal being more flexibility, autonomy, and more purposeful work. The time is now for employers to redefine the way we have traditionally thought about work and hone in on what matters most to candidates in today’s economy. In order for this to happen, we must recognize the current gaps in the recruitment process and begin down a road of change that benefits both employees and employers — a road towards upward mobility.
Gaps in the industry
Traditionally, employers have utilized paid job boards to advertise job openings, hoping to find the perfect long-term, loyal workers. In reality, this technology is archaic. The problem with this method is that you can’t tell someone’s work ethic until you have worked with them for a long period of time. On the other hand, new hires can’t tell if the company is a good fit for them either until at least a few months in. If your missions are different, that’s ok, it’s not helpful to force a relationship that isn’t working. But what if we could eliminate the lengthy resume writing, job application, and interview process to keep up with the times?
By leveraging technology, we can bridge the gap between how we think about traditional employment and the rising gig economy. New and emerging technology can provide relevant information to clearly define and identify the skills needed for a job. There is currently no data around what it takes to hire a specific person in a specific location for a certain position. There is also no agreed upon process for defining what a skill even is in today’s world. This needs to change.
In order to move on from outdated processes and truly move into the future of work, it’s important to recognize these gaps. If we can restructure this thinking, those in the gig economy can reach a higher economic position.
What needs to change?
Candidates can afford to be selective. It’s going to take more than an attractive salary and benefits to retain talent in today’s workforce. It is crucial for employers to foster open communication, honesty, and trust to best understand employees’ needs moving forward. The easiest way to find out what motivates your employees, is to ask. Find out how they really feel. If employers fail to listen and readjust, workers will readjust too, moving elsewhere for a gig that values what they bring to the table.
Following a human’s purpose throughout their career is a good place to start. Understanding what’s engaging and fulfilling to someone and, ultimately, what their mission is, will result in a win-win for employers and employees. This ongoing commitment from a company to its employees is incredibly important because the minute it stops, cracks will form.
In particular, the government needs to stop overthinking and invite key industry leaders to the table to better understand recruitment. By engaging this group, the government will be able to find out what it will take to keep workers safe, fulfilled, and treated fairly. Once again, tech can be leveraged to ensure labour standards are met and adequate wages are provided to all workers in the gig economy. New and improved government policies in this space will benefit both employees and employers long term.
The future of work
By making work exciting and challenging, leveraging a candidate’s skills, and keeping in mind their motivations, employers will keep people engaged. This will also allow workers to create their own luck and empower themselves. A company that doesn’t make work fun will inevitably become a dinosaur. Employers take note: the explosion of the gig economy opens the door for workers, empowering them to take advantage of upward mobility, on their own terms.