According to several recent studies, blue collar jobs will continue to be in demand, but shortages of blue collar workers persist with no end in sight. Reports from the Business Development Bank of Canada, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, and the Conference Board of Canada all heed the same warning: Canadian businesses are having a hard time finding blue collar workers, and it is hurting the Canadian economy. As young Canadians look to invest in a career, they face an important question: is taking a blue collar job a smart decision?
According to Canada’s blue collar workers, the answer appears to be a resounding yes. Today, Express Employment Professionals released a new white paper, ” The State of Blue Collar Canada .” Drawing on the expertise of Express franchise owners and on original polling commissioned by Express and conducted by Harris Poll, the white paper offers an in-depth look at blue collar workers, how they find meaning in their work and why filling open blue collar jobs is so important.
“There continues to be a shortage of blue collar workers and this shortage is predicted to persist for some time,” said Express Employment Professionals CEO Bill Stoller. “Blue collar jobs are some of the most in-demand jobs in the country so, as our paper argues, it’s time to rethink negative stereotypes about blue collar work.”
There are several reasons why there is a shortage of blue collar workers: baby boomers who once held these jobs are retiring; others have left the labor force because of disabilities; more Canadians are obtaining university degrees, while those without continues to decline; and, Canadians’ misconceptions about blue collar work and the ability to earn a good wage.
The findings of the Express survey of blue collar workers shows how flawed stereotypes of blue collar workers are. The survey found that the vast majority of blue collar workers (86 per cent) say they are satisfied with their jobs, and 91 per cent say their work makes them “proud.”
Accurate perceptions of blue collar life are important for those considering career paths. But there are much larger implications: if jobs go unfilled, the strength of the Canadian economy is at stake too.
The paper breaks down what more Canadians need to understand about blue collar workers:
- Blue collar work brings satisfaction.
- Blue collar work offers viable career paths and advancement.
- Blue collar workers recommend their career paths.
- Well-paying jobs are possible without a university degree and the debt that comes with it.
- While they acknowledge challenges, blue collar workers have a positive outlook on the future.
- Blue collar workers have positive expectations for 2019, and very few are concerned about automation disrupting their careers.
- Blue collar workers may face unique retirement challenges.
- Blue collar workers lament that, despite their own satisfaction, society looks down on their work.
“There’s been a great deal of chatter about the future and frustrations of Canada’s blue collar
workers,” Stoller added. “But our research shows that most blue collar workers feel good about themselves and their jobs. It is in all of our best interests, then, to check our preconceived notions-because our collective future will be determined in part by whether these jobs are filled. One thing that will never change is the importance and value of skilled workers in the modern and future economy.”