With demand for workers high, working conditions are improving: chamber prez

The help-wanted signs are everywhere, but a labour crunch is forcing some businesses to change how they recruit employees and even operate on a day-to-day basis.

"We're putting a ton of hours in to try to keep up," says cabinet maker Mike Langlois.

While he hasn't had to turn down any jobs, a lack of skilled workers means they are taking longer to complete.

"We have a shortage of people to do this kind of work and they’re hard to find and they’re hard to retain," says Langlois.

The competition for skilled workers is stiff," says Marc Ballantyne.

The general manager of Oland Breweries usually has a lot of applications on his desk, but this year is different.

"We noticed earlier this year, as our volume was ramping up for the summer volume. We were recruiting we were trying all of our regular ways and the resumes, the candidates weren’t flowing in as they have in past years," Ballantyne says.

Dianne Grant owns a restaurant in Yarmouth. On occasion, a staff shortage has forced her to close her business when someone calls in sick and that means lost revenue.

"You’re talking anywhere between $1,500 to $2,000 in an evening from four until we close," Grant says.

The president of the Halifax Chamber of Commerce says he doesn't think government subsidies like the federal government's CERB program are to blame for the lack of workers, instead he points to a slow down in immigration.

"Immigration has been down by about roughly half, so that has not added to the labour pool," says Patrick Sullivan.

Sullivan says with the demand for workers high, working conditions are improving.

"I think we’re seeing wages increase, we are seeing, I spoke to a restaurant owner the other day, they are now providing paid vacation, paid sick days," he says.

This comes at a time, however, when revenue is down.