26 February 2013
Sherbrooke Companies Forced to Recruit in Europe
PRESS RELEASE – Quebec’s labour shortage in the manufacturing, specialized-engineering, information-technology, and health-care sectors is so acute that employers have to look outside Canada in their recruiting efforts. In response to the situation, Sherbrooke Innopole is organizing a second recruitment mission slated for June to seek out specialized candidates to meet the needs of many Sherbrooke companies.
S Automation, a thriving industrial robotics and automation company in Sherbrooke, took part in the first mission organized by Sherbrooke Innopole as part of the Journées Québec in November 2012. “Even though we were offering optimum conditions, including professional development, competitive salaries, travel opportunities, and contracting-out to our customers, we still have some unfilled engineering and technician positions,” explained Joël Grimard, CEO of S Automation.
“Of course, we would rather fill the positions locally,” stated Jacques Vidal, Director – Strategy and Innovation at Sherbrooke Innopole, “but despite our efforts, we still have a shortage and it’s undermining business success. The phenomenon is far from local. Most major Canadian cities have been hit hard by a shortage of qualified labour in several sectors. So we decided to get onboard with Journées Québec and let Sherbrooke businesses take advantage of this opportunity.”
“The shortfall in the engineering sector is so acute that we are unable to recruit even though we’re known as a top employer. It’s no joke having to turn down contracts for lack of employees, so we decided to give Europe a try,” added Grimard. S Automation hired a French engineer specializing in robotics at the end of the mission to Paris and Barcelona, during which the 37 Quebec companies conducted some 4,000 interviews with the 2,000 or so applicants who attended.
Supermétal hired 7 specialized workers, primarily welders. Martin Lafrance, manager of Human Resources, explained, “We are expanding throughout Canada, and our Sherbrooke plant would be able to take on several new contracts were it not for the shortage of specialized labour, thereby increasing job security for all current employees. We can’t avoid recruiting internationally and we’re doing our utmost to adapt to this new normal.”
The objective of the Journées Québec, organized by the Ministère de l’Immigration et des Communautés culturelles (MICC for Ministry of Immigration and Cultural Communities), is to link Quebec businesses facing severe labour shortages with qualified individuals in Europe and to fast-track their immigration if they are hired by a Quebec company. As MICC notes in its Journées Québec documentation, the current steep rate of unemployment in Europe means that a large, highly qualified workforce is available.
The next mission, which also involves Québec International and Montréal International, will take place from June 5 to 11 in France and Belgium. Sherbrooke Innopole is hosting an information session on February 27.
What is Journées Québec?
Journées Québec is a large-scale “turnkey” international recruiting event that includes
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- job offers posted during an online promotional campaign to reach a huge pool of specialized candidates;
- scheduled appointments with preselected candidates; and
- professional logistics throughout the trip.