So it seems NB is faced with a double barreled problem.

It seems that Employers can’t find workers with the skills they need to do the job.

It seems there are not enough jobs to go around because our unemployment numbers are still rising.

So what is the problem?

The issue is all over the place, employers are looking for people to fill the vacancies being left by retiring workers, while many sit at home unemployed.

The real problem is that the skills that many in this province have do not meet the skills that these employers need.

The changes need to be radical.

  1. As a population we need to realize that our traditional skills are no longer useful and we have to be willing to accept retraining. In fact we need to embrace this retraining.
  2. As employers we need to realize that no longer can we expect people to walk into a job fully trained. We need to accept that on the job training is the new reality.
  3. As a province we need to do what we can to make this transition as painless as possible.

Adults can not afford to retrain. This is really from a financial perspective more then anything else. Many have children and a family to feed and can not afford the time off work to get schooling to get the requisite skills. And because of this same situation they also can not afford the bills that many of us saddle ourselves with while we are younger.

In all honesty there are a few things that needs to change to make employment more feasible.

We need to make it easier for people to leave unemployment and social assistance to find jobs. This means that the jobs that are available will pay better then they receive on these programs and a transition program that will allow them to transition to their new jobs without putting themselves in a financial bind (anyone who has ever moved from one job to another will understand what I mean)

We need to make it easier for people to get the skills they need. Encouraging companies to train workers for their trades instead of insisting on university degrees or certifications (in fields where this is possible ie: trades, manufacturing, management etc.)

As a province we need to start to shift from rewarding companies for new hires (rewarding short term hires and high turnover rates) and instead start rewarding companies for improving retention of employees, rewarding companies for employees that have stayed with the company for 5, 10,15,20 etc years.

Over time we as a province and as a people have become set in our ways, Many of us took up the same job our parents, grand parents etc have done through the years, while those of us who did successfully find work outside these traditional fields found that many of the companies were focused on high turnover, low wage jobs.

Now a generation is starting to retire, a generation that held many of the stable long term jobs and we as a people do not have the skills to fill these positions. We need to not only retrain our existing workers, but also change the way the province treats companies and workers.

We need to create a system that makes it easy to retrain a workforce, makes it easy to get the skills needed for a job and that encourages companies to train employees as much as possible and to retain them for extended periods of time.