The province of Quebec has hit by a significant talent shortage over the last couple of years. According to Newswire, “in the second quarter of 2021, the manufacturing industry had 65,905 vacant positions, including a record 25,330 in Quebec alone. This is 5,935 more vacancies in the manufacturing sector than in the second quarter of 2019.” 

With so many business challenges to navigate over the past two years, getting jobs filled quickly and with the best candidates is imperative. We partnered with Salomé Draux, a Managing Consultant here at Michael Page, to dive into what is driving candidate behaviors in the current market. 

Making the Decision to Leave

Candidates that have decided to move on from their current roles are often starting their search due to a few specific internal contributing factors. For example, they may have a disagreement with their boss or management about their working environment, or want better pay and improved work/life balance. 

Like most job markets around the world, more guaranteed time off is a very popular goal for candidates in the Quebec manufacturing industry. This helps provide the type of work/life balance people are looking for and could tip the scales when someone is choosing between offers. This is especially true in the current market, since it’s rare for remote or hybrid working to be on the table for manufacturing firms.

“We do not place people with two weeks’ vacation anymore,” says Salomé. “For example, I just placed a candidate who asked for the same salary, but he wanted a fifth week of vacation.”

Another deciding factor when finding a new position is the overall benefits package. This includes health benefits from their first day at work, as well as Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) benefits. As it is not mandatory for employers to pay into the RRSP, candidates may be tempted by positions within companies that do. Employer contributions or a match up to a certain percentage can be the boost that candidates need if they can’t get a salary increase. 

Staying Competitive in the Quebec Job Market

Work from home options aren’t always available in the manufacturing sector, as it would be logistically impossible in many of the roles. Without that as a go-to benefit to offer in lieu of salary bumps or other compensation increases, employers are seeking out other ways to stay competitive and become more enticing to the quality candidates they need. Also, in Quebec, even with the pandemic, the salary rates still haven’t changed. “With the workforce shortage, people want more from potential employers,” says Salomé. 

Salomé explains that, when it comes to benefits, “more offer the insurance on day one and they contribute at a better rate. None of my clients pay less than 70% of the insurance costs and the ones who do pay less offer a better fixed salary to compensate.” Offering full and immediate insurance options can be a critical step in retaining top talent. 

As smaller businesses are combating counteroffers to their candidates from “big fish” companies, they need to offer that personal touch that makes a difference. “Promote a work environment based on trust. For example, if an employee has any personal issues, such as a child who is home sick, let them take an extra day off,” said Salomé. Be empathetic and understanding with your workforce and they will be more satisfied in their positions. This is proven to increase retention, which is key in such a competitive market.

Navigating this evolving workforce environment is a struggle for a lot of employers as they try to keep up with the new demands of workers. The key is remembering that employees are just as eager to find a place of their own, to be motivated, and develop their passions for an employer who cares and puts equal effort in. Finding that mutually beneficial offer and working environment will lead to better returns in both the short and long term.  

For more insights to assist you as you navigate the market in search of top talent, please browse our advice section. You can also submit a job brief or reach out directly to begin a conversation with one of our expert recruitment consultants, like Salomé Draux.  

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