Recruitment and retention of employees is an area of concern expressed by respondents to a survey conducted by Community Futures Sunrise, and they are hoping a series of upcoming discussions can help find solutions to the concerns.  

The survey saw 53 percent of respondents say they were having trouble recruiting employees, said Andria Brady. She is the general manager of CF Sunrise. “That was something that we knew from just talking to our clients and the people we work with, but the survey really told us that, and not only are they finding difficulty in finding and recruiting good employees, but also difficulty in retaining the employees that they have.” 

The numbers from Statistics Canada’s most recent labour force survey support the results of the survey by CF Sunrise. The Regina-Moose Mountain Economic Region, which includes Weyburn and Estevan, had an unemployment rate of 5.5 percent in February, and a labour force participation rate of 66.7 percent. When Regina is not factored into the numbers, the unemployment rate shoots up to 7.9 percent, and the participation rate falls to 64.7 percent.  

“Looking ahead to the future, the next three to five years, 62 percent of businesses said that they felt that there would be difficulty in recruiting and/or retaining those employees,” Brady added. “That’s a serious issue, certainly, for businesses in the southeast and it doesn’t bode well for the communities either, because if businesses are struggling and not able to find a good workforce, that’s going to affect the communities as well.” 

While there are anecdotes about why businesses are having issues with recruitment and retention, ranging from wages to a poor working environment, the survey itself didn’t delve too deep into the reasons behind the workforce concerns. The data does, though, create an opportunity for conversation about what can be done to help.  

“What we’re hoping to really find with the workforce roundtables that we’re looking to hold here in the coming months is to really delve into what are the reasons, but also, what are the solutions,” Brady said. “We don’t want to just talk about what’s not working or what the problems are. We want to talk about what are some of the solutions.” 

The first of these roundtables is scheduled to be held on April 17th, and Brady said they are open to everyone who wants to participate – whether they are an employer, an employee, just looking to start a business, or someone looking to enter the workforce.  

“It’s going to be over the lunch hour, and it’s free to attend,” Brady said of the roundtable. It will be held virtually, and those who are interested in participating need to sign up online.  

“We’ll plan for some additional ones after that, depending on what the group wants, but (we’re) just looking for some open and honest conversation, and to brainstorm what might work to fix things, and how we can help be a part of that.”