Statistics Canada just released the April 2019 Labour Force Survey, reporting an increase in employment of 106,500 for April, while the unemployment rate fell 0.1 per cent to 5.7 per cent.
Highlights in April
- On a year-over-year basis, employment grew by 426,000 (+2.3 per cent), with gains in both full-time (+248,000) and part-time (+179,000) work.
- Over the same period, total hours worked were up 1.3 per cent.
- Employment increased in Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and was little changed in the other provinces.
- Employment in Ontario rose by 47,000 in April, primarily due to gains in part-time work among people aged 15 to 24. Youth employment in the province has been trending upward since the beginning of 2019. The unemployment rate was little changed in April at 6.0 per cent as more people participated in the labour market. Compared with 12 months earlier, employment grew by 205,000 or 2.8 per cent.
- In Quebec, employment increased by 38,000 in April, and the unemployment rate declined by 0.3 percentage points to 4.9 per cent, the lowest rate since comparable data became available in 1976. On a year-over-year basis, employment in the province rose by 75,000 (+1.8 per cent), with all the increase occurring since October 2018.
- Following two months of little change, employment in Alberta rose by 21,000 in April. Gains were primarily spread across several services-producing industries. The unemployment rate was 6.7 per cent. On a year-over-year basis, employment grew by 27,000 (+1.1 per cent).
What employers need to know
Here’s an important question: Is your hiring criteria too inflexible? Insisting that every new hire meets every job requirement is constraining. For one, it can cause you to completely overlook new college graduates, a vast and diverse pool of high-potential candidates. While they may not check all the boxes on your list of must-have skills and experience, top candidates in this group will probably hit many — and bring even more capabilities to the table than you might expect.
If you’re uncertain about recruiting new college graduates, consider this: your competitors are probably open to it. A Robert Half survey found that 76 per cent of senior managers in Canada plan to hire candidates who have recently earned a college degree. The three top benefits of hiring new graduates, according to the managers surveyed, are:
- Enthusiasm about starting a new career — Recent college grads are eager to make a difference — and their mark. And who doesn’t want to hire workers who will approach their job duties and assignments with positivity and gusto?
- Fresh perspective and ideas — New grads can shake things up in your organization, in a good way, just by offering a different outlook on issues. Many young professionals today also have an innovative mindset and are unabashed about seeking unconventional solutions to problems.
- They learn quickly and are easy to train — One of the most overlooked — yet seemingly obvious — qualities of recent college graduates is that they are open to learning. They can also absorb new information and processes quickly and easily. So, you’ll likely find that a modest investment in training and a well-structured onboarding process will help put a promising new hire on the path to success.
You want to recruit high-potential talent for your organization — and that’s exactly why new grads should be part of your staffing strategy. Hiring recent college graduates provides your business with the opportunity to train people who are essentially clean slates. They don’t have a long history of working for other employers and in different organizational cultures. And they don’t need to “unlearn” processes and policies that may be vastly dissimilar to those at your company. Even better: By investing in these newly minted professionals, your business can get a head start on building its future workforce.
What job seekers need to know
The hiring landscape looks positive for new college graduates in two key ways: First, the talent crunch is prompting many businesses to be more receptive to hiring recent grads. Second, many companies are willing to train up promising candidates. In a Robert Half survey, 86 per cent of human resources managers in Canada reported that their organization is open to hiring an employee whose skills can be developed through training. And 58 per cent of Canadian workers surveyed said they had been offered a job when they didn’t meet all the requirements.
That doesn’t mean employers aren’t taking time to identify candidates who will be a good match for the job and the organization, however. So, if your skills and experience aren’t exactly in line with what the company is looking for, you’ll need to draw attention to other things that speak to your current abilities and your potential. For example:
- Do you have outstanding interpersonal skills? Most employers today actively seek these attributes in job candidates at any career stage. Strong verbal and written communication skills, for example, are highly valued.
- Are you passionate about learning? If so, emphasize it — especially if it looks like you’d need to complete some extended on-the-job training to help you get up to speed in your new role.
- What activities did you participate in both on and off campus, including volunteer work, internships and part-time jobs? These types of activities can help to show a hiring manager that your time at college wasn’t all about cracking the books — or playing Frisbee on the quad.
So, if you’re worried about how the job search process will unfold after you graduate, be optimistic. Given the current dynamics, it could be a much smoother experience than you anticipate. Just be prepared to help hiring managers clearly see why an investment in you — even if you need some training — is an investment that ultimately will deliver strong returns to the business.