Diverse Talent Pools to Ease Labour Market Woes

Posted June 1, 2016 - 3:13pm

Finding and retaining reliable and dedicated employees is a challenge in all industries, but particularly so in British Columbia’s tourism industry where rapidly growing consumer demand is posing significant challenges in the labour market.  A recent study conducted by go2HR found that BC’s tourism industry will be a leader in provincial job growth and that businesses will need to fill 101,000 new job openings by 2020. With a shortage of skilled people to fill these jobs, tourism industry operators will have to avoid falling victim to their own success by hiring staff from more diverse labour pools. Solving labour supply issues is complex and although there are no broad, one-stroke solutions, drawing on emerging and underrepresented groups will ease labour pains being felt across British Columbia.

Baby boomers and people with disabilities are two labour pools that can offer relief to operators and part of a solution to BC’s tourism industry labour shortages. Recruiting from these unique workforces often requires employers to adapt their traditional hiring practices, alter their personal perspectives and challenge their prejudices.  As employers across the province are finding out, baby boomers and people with disabilities are reliable, high performing employees who contribute to a quality workplace environment and successful businesses.

Baby boomers are an experienced group of individuals often hailed for their team approach to solving problems, strong work ethic and consensual leadership style. Although younger employees often strive for mobility, promotion and higher salaries, boomers are drawn to stability, enrichment and purpose. In fact, the majority of retirees return to employment for non-financial reasons such as a dislike of retirement, intrinsic rewards and a desire to help out. Not only are boomers keen to return to work, but research suggests that they improve business and the bottom line.

The business case in support of hiring baby boomers is convincing. Boomers bring a wealth of knowledge to the work place, they are dependable and dedicated, and they have transferable skills well suited to the hospitality and tourism industry. Moreover, boomers have more flexible schedules, they suffer from workplace injuries less often than do their younger counterparts and they contribute to a diverse, team-oriented workplace culture. Similarly to boomers, people with disabilities offer employers the opportunity to enrich workplace culture and better meet business objectives.

People with disabilities are a diverse talent pool of over 300,000 workers in BC, many of whom have college diplomas, trade certificates and university degrees. Despite the significant size of this labour pool and a multitude of research indicating that people with disabilities are reliable, high performing employees, misperceptions and fear amongst employers results in high rates of unemployment and underemployment within this talent pool. Not only are people with disabilities available to fill hospitality and tourism industry jobs, but hiring these individuals makes good business sense.

Research indicates that hiring people with disabilities is a good business decision. Statistics Canada found that 90% of people with disabilities performed as well or better at their job than non-disabled co-workers and that 86% of these disabled employees had average or better attendance. Employers also found that the vast majority of disabled employees do not require workplace accommodations and that when accommodations were required they were inexpensive and tax-deducible. In addition to performing very well in the workplace and requiring few accommodations, staff retention is 72% higher among people with disabilities.

With the British Columbian hospitality and tourism industry undergoing rapid growth, employers must adapt and challenge their prejudices as they turn to new talent pools to ease their labour market woes. Baby Boomers and people with disabilities are two high performing and reliable talent pools that offer part of a solution to British Columbia’s tourism industry labour shortages.

For more information related to hiring Baby Boomers and people with disabilities go2HR has a variety of quality resources to support employers:

Baby Boomers



People with Disabilities


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