Canadian SMEs’ growth impacted by lack of workers

And it could be a decade before things improve

Canadian SMEs’ growth impacted by lack of workers
Steve Randall

The growing Canadian economy and low unemployment are certainly positives but for small and medium sized businesses, they also create a problem.

That’s because, their growth potential is being weakened by a lack of available labour.

The Business Development Bank of Canada polled businesses and found that 39% are already reporting difficulty finding new employees and the most affected firms are 65% more likely to generate low sales.

"Labour shortages are affecting growth for many Canadian businesses, and this has an impact on Canada's competitiveness," says Pierre Cléroux, Vice President, Research and Chief Economist at BDC. "Businesses are being forced to refuse orders or delay deliveries.”

He added that entrepreneurs should think about hiring from under-represented segments of the population, such as younger or less-qualified workers, retired workers or newcomers to Canada.

Working harder
The survey found that 47% of entrepreneurs have been forced to increase wages while almost 60% say staff are having to work longer hours.

Business owners are also having to spend more of their time doing “hands-on” operational tasks rather than focusing on business development.

Medium sized firms are struggling the most with those employing 20-49 employees showing a peak in hiring challenges while very small and very large firms are less affected.