The Chatham-Kent Workforce Planning Board is encouraging businesses to participate in a survey which will help the board identify barriers in the local workforce.
The 2019 Employer One Survey can be filled out until Jan. 31. It asks businesses about the demographics of their workforce, their staffing levels, how many jobs they expect to fill and challenges they have faced in finding employees.
Kristy Jacobs, project manager with the planning board, said this will be an important year for the survey since they will now have five years of data available.
“Each year it tells us a little bit of a snapshot of what’s going on, but with the five years looking back, we’re going to be able to see some pretty solid trends,” she said.
“If it’s showing us something that could be fixable, then it’s something that we could mobilize the community on and start looking at either training or whatever we might need to do to address that shortfall.”
Last year, 284 employers filled out the survey, which represents about nine per cent of businesses in the community.
In order to be “statistically significant,” said Jacobs, the survey needs responses from 12 per cent of local businesses, which would have been 365 employers in 2018.
Jacobs said they have changed their approach somewhat this year to try to bring in more responses. In December, they invited frequent responders to fill out the survey early.
“We have done some mail-outs this year, which is something we have never done before, hitting some of the companies and the organizations that we haven’t seen touch our survey,” she said.
“We sent them out some information to kind of get them thinking about it and then in the next two weeks we’re going to start with the follow up and touch them again and see if they need some help to complete it.”
This “personal touch” seems to have the most success, although there will continue to be advertising through social media, the movie theatre, radio and newspapers, she said.
Jacobs said some of the information they are looking for does not have to be exact.
“We just want to get a flavour and overall the number of people they employ,” she said. “Those would be the hardest things for them to kind of pull up, but then they’re going to be asked about things like, ‘Did you post jobs last year? Were you able to fill those?’”
So far the board seems to be receiving a high number of responses, she said.
“We are looking for 300 responses this year,” said Jacobs. “We are sitting at just about 100 right now, so we’re really excited, but we don’t want to get too cocky because it is still pretty early.”
The survey is available at www.surveymonkey.com/r/WV3PFFV.