Purple Deer companies wrestle with ongoing scarcity of staff

Purple Deer companies wrestle with ongoing scarcity of staff

It has been a whirlwind of a 12 months for Purple Deer-based Twister International Hydrovacs, an organization that manufactures and sells hydrovac vans for excavation service suppliers within the development, infrastructure and oil and fuel industries.

The corporate’s outlook is optimistic. It expects to proceed to develop in 2023 because it builds again from the debilitating impression of the pandemic. Previously 12 months, it is gone from 80 workers to 160. Demand for its vans is rising, and the corporate says it desires to take benefit of  elevated manufacturing capability at its new 60,000-square-foot manufacturing facility. 

However it faces a serious and acquainted hurdle for therefore many companies: discovering sufficient workers.

“We’re attempting to fill vacancies on daily basis,” mentioned Rockford Rollins, the corporate’s vice-president of operations.

“We wrestle to search out folks … the turnaround is sort of excessive, attrition is sort of excessive. We have needed to increase our minimal wage,” he mentioned.

Numerous Purple Deer companies are highlighting ongoing labour shortages as a major problem that is impacting enterprise and financial progress, in keeping with the native chamber of commerce.

“We have fairly a number of companies which can be struggling to search out folks, particularly within the service business, the development business, these sorts of industries,” mentioned Scott Robinson, the CEO of the Purple Deer Chamber of Commerce.

Three employees of Tornado Global Hydrovacs stand next to a truck that is being assembled in Red Deer, Alta.
Twister International Hydrovacs workers on the firm’s Purple Deer manufacturing facility. The corporate plans so as to add one other shift to fulfill demand. Nonetheless, it first wants to rent extra staff. (Twister International Hydrovacs)

A current survey of its members discovered 60 per cent of companies who responded mentioned they’re experiencing “a average to important” labour scarcity. Eighty-two per cent of companies mentioned they’re experiencing “a labour scarcity on some stage.”

Rollins says it looks like they’re hiring and firing folks regularly. Some folks do not work out, whereas some others get employed however do not present up. 

“We simply had two people who we needed to terminate right this moment. We get folks and so they present up for a number of days and depart,” he mentioned.

Robinson says the variety of job vacancies permits folks to be extra selective when selecting a job. 

“I believe there’s simply a lot alternative on the market that individuals on the lookout for work are extra choosy and extra selective and will be, and good for them,” he mentioned.

In accordance with Statistics Canada, the latest numbers present greater than 103,000 job vacancies in Alberta.

The Purple Deer survey additionally discovered excessive working prices as a result of inflation, labour shortages and provide chain points had been affecting enterprise.

Restricted labour pool

Robinson says companies have recognized three limitations to discovering workers:

  • Expertise and expertise.
  • A small native hiring pool.
  • Actual versus anticipated wages.

He says the Purple Deer area must do extra to market and promote itself as a vacation spot for folks to work and dwell. 

“It is such an awesome group, from a household viewpoint, from a recreation viewpoint. It is so fantastically positioned between Edmonton and Calgary, so ease of entry to airports — all these sorts of issues,” he mentioned.

“Labour is a aggressive commodity. And in case you do not make it enticing for folks to come back, then you recognize, they are not going to do this,” he mentioned.

Robinson says immigration, non permanent international staff, encouraging older staff to remain longer or return to the workforce, and lengthening job grants to worldwide college students may assist fill some job vacancies.

“These are the sorts of issues that we wish to attempt to get modified in order that we are able to improve the pool of labour for our area,” he mentioned.

A snow covered road leads under a sign that welcomes visitors to downtown Red Deer.
The vast majority of companies that responded to a survey for the native chamber of commerce say they’re experiencing ‘a average to important’ labour scarcity. (Bryan Labby/CBC)

Rollins says the restricted native labour pool is a serious hurdle.

“We’re simply sure by the native expertise, how many individuals we are able to entry. We may simply rent 10 extra folks proper now,” he mentioned.

Rollins says they’d truly like to rent as many as 40 workers to help new three- and four-day 10-hour shifts. However these plans should look forward to now.

Robinson says the chamber will participate in a labour summit in March together with the Central Alberta Financial Partnership and Neighborhood Futures. The concept is to share concepts, success tales and greatest practices to find these elusive staff.

‘Price their weight in gold’

Kelly Vopni, one of many homeowners of Goodmen Roofing, says the development business is determined to search out certified apprentices and different staff. They’ve roughly 80 workers however are on the lookout for extra.

“They’re price their weight in gold as of late,” he mentioned.

Vopni says wages have gone up and so they’re providing $500 incentives if an worker recommends a buddy for a job. Staff are additionally given incentives in the event that they stick with the corporate for six months.

A vehicle with a Goodmen Roofing logo is parked next to a house where employees are replacing a roof.
Goodmen Roofing workers at work in Purple Deer. The corporate says the native development affiliation has contributed $130,000 towards scholarships for college students who enrol in a commerce faculty program. (Bryan Labby/CBC)

However it’s nonetheless a problem.

“Initiatives take longer, employees work extra hours, in the event that they’re prepared. It is a wrestle,” he mentioned. 

He says extra college students are enrolled in trades applications at Purple Deer Polytecnic and the native development affiliation has raised $130,000 for scholarships.

It is one long term repair to an issue that native enterprise leaders say wants an instantaneous resolution.


Bryan Labby is an enterprise reporter with CBC Calgary. In case you have story thought or tip, you may attain him at [email protected] or on Twitter at @CBCBryan.

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