Steinbach’s business community is concerned about the growing number of vacancies in the area.
That’s according to Michelle Bezditny, executive director of the Steinbach Chamber of Commerce. Bezditny says it’s a trend they’ve noticed over the past two years. And, it seems to have an impact on all sectors.
Anna Mondor is Director of Economic Development at Steinbach. Bezditny says Mondor is assessing the labor shortage in our community. According to Mondor, there are currently around 450 vacancies in Steinbach, although they are still assessing the actual needs. LocalJobShop.ca on SteinbachOnline posted an average of 18-20 local job postings per day over the past week.
Bezditny says there are a few reasons she can give for the high number of vacancies in our city. She notes that the pandemic can be blamed for much of it. First, Bezditny says there are fewer newcomers to Steinbach for business owners to try to hire. She says that in any given year, about 5,700 newcomers immigrate to Manitoba, but that number has been significantly reduced in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19. But, says Bezditny, Manitoba’s Provincial Nominee Program is seeking to attract and support an additional 2,000 immigrants in hopes of closing that gap.
Additionally, during the pandemic, Bezditny says Manitobans have opted to relocate to other provinces, as some of the skilled workforce have completely changed occupations. This includes returning to school for additional training to provide opportunities for growth and expansion. And, says Bezditny, there is also a part of the population that has retired; for some, the pandemic made the decision for them. And finally, Bezditny says it’s also possible that Steinbach doesn’t have the population to meet business expansion needs. All of these reasons explain why there may be a greater number of job openings today.
Bezditny says the Steinbach Chamber of Commerce is taking immediate action to try to attract new talent to the city. In collaboration with Mondor, the Chamber is organizing a bus tour and job fair in Steinbach on June 8 and 29. She notes that if these are well received, they will look to schedule additional tours in 2022. The tour is primarily aimed at attracting newcomers.
“The morning session will be a tour of our beautiful city and the afternoon session will include a job fair where local employers can connect directly with new immigrants and offer them jobs,” explains- she. “In addition to this, we are also in talks with the Eastman Education Center and are looking for opportunities to expand training and education.”
Meanwhile, Bezditny says the Steinbach Chamber of Commerce continues to work closely with the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program in addition to other provincial refugee organizations, with a targeted approach to marketing and promoting Steinbach.
“Newcomers provide our business community with the valuable skilled labor they depend on and we celebrate the diversity that newcomers bring to our region,” she adds.