‘A job seeker’s market’: Prospective Barrie-area employees holding out for beneficial working conditions

There’s no shortage of available jobs right now.

The key for employers though, lies in luring prospective workers to their company or organization. There are literally hundreds of open postings on Georgian College’s Career and Employment Community Services job board — but the folks seeking employment aren’t necessarily holding out for high wages.

It’s incentives like guaranteed maximum work-week hours (even in the construction industry), and flexible days that allow parents to be home to care for their young children, that are most enticing, Gloria Evans, of the college’s career and employment centre, said.

Also, a remote/in-person hybrid work model appears here to stay, she said.

“It’s a great time for job seekers to be looking for opportunities that meet their needs,” she said. “This is a job seeker’s market, without a doubt. It’s not always the wage that’s the motivator — especially with Gen X and Y. They don’t want just a job, they want a career. It’s a major culture shift. I’m hearing the buzzword ‘hybrid model’ a lot.”

The Barrie area’s unemployment rate dipped to 7.5 per cent in July, down from June’s 8.4. About 4,600 residents found jobs last month, Statistics Canada said recently.

Across Canada, most of July’s gains were attributed to services industries — food, finance, real estate and rentals. Though, locally, a job seeker can find employment in almost any field at the moment, Evans said.

Obviously, some sectors cannot function without on-site employees — think hospitality, restaurants, manufacturing or construction. But many businesses that operate out of offices and call centres, whose employees transitioned to remote working more than a year ago, are developing long-term arrangements that could come into effect in the fall, as vaccination rates rise and economic restrictions are further loosened.

Several employers have conceded to being “surprised” that productivity remained strong without constant managerial oversight, Evans said.

Employers have also come to appreciate the financial benefits of remote work — like less overhead costs for office space.

“When the pandemic hit, all businesses focused on, really, was survival,” Evans said. “From that, comes opportunity. Employees who have been working from home, they’ve realized, ‘I like this, I’m more productive, I’m more focused in a lot of cases, and I have flexibility.’”

Anyone seeking employment can search the college’s career services website, .