CME’s biannual Management Issues Survey (MIS) is CME’s most important tool for taking the pulse of the manufacturing community. It provides valuable insight into the mindset and concerns of manufacturers – both in terms of their day-to-day struggles as well as their longer-term strategic goals.
Two clear themes emerged from our 2018 survey results: Canadian businesses are struggling to find workers with the right skills; and they are deeply concerned about Canada’s eroding business competitiveness.
LABOUR AND SKILLS SHORTAGE
Survey results show that a full 69 per cent of respondents face immediate labour and/or skills shortages, and three quarters expect shortages within the next five years. In both cases, shortages are most acute in skilled production fields. The reason for this is twofold:
- Not enough students are choosing careers in manufacturing-related fields.
- To expand the labour supply pipeline, more work needs to be done to promote careers in the skilled trades for secondary students – especially for girls who have typically not pursued those career paths.
As advanced manufacturing becomes more common, and production processes become more sophisticated, skillsets needed change rapidly.
Respondents tell us that existing post-secondary training programs do not always suit current industry needs and that more direct funding is needed to support on-the-job training. Skills shortages were identified as the top barrier to new product innovation and the number one factor considered when making decisions about where to make their next major investment.
ERODING BUSINESS COMPETITIVENESS
Survey respondents were clear: they need more from their governments. More than half of businesses felt that the federal government is not investing enough to help grow, and build a strong manufacturing sector in Canada.
Manufacturers are calling for a more competitive business tax regime and for enhanced supports for investing in machinery, equipment and technologies. Improving business tax competitiveness and incentive programs were identified as the most important steps governments could take to support export market penetration; encourage investment in new technologies; and expand manufacturing output in Canada
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