With farm labour an ongoing issue, producers might consider moving outside their comfort zones when posting jobs.
“Resources such as Manitoba Employment Centres, Métis and Indigenous hiring organizations, Immigrant Service Centres have always been available to employers in Manitoba,” Stephanie Cruikshanks told the Co-operator. “However, agriculture has underutilized these resources as tools.”
Cruikshanks, an industry development specialist with Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development, spoke about the hiring process during Keystone Agricultural Producers webinar on June 23. Jennifer Wright, a senior HR adviser with the Canadian Agricultural Human Resources Council spoke alongside Cruikshanks.
Wright and Cruikshanks listed resources and agencies that can help farmers reach people looking for jobs, and which will help place people in those jobs.
These included the Canada Job Bank, which allows employers to post jobs by region and type. Cruikshanks said the account takes a bit of setting up, but once registered one can post multiple jobs.
An advantage of this site is that postings might attract workers outside producers’ usual circle, she said. Though this also means farmers may need to be comfortable recruiting people who don’t have ag backgrounds — not necessarily a bad thing.
“We hear time and time again about the difficulty in hiring,” Cruikshanks said. “Are we throwing the net wide enough?”
Manitoba Immigration Settlement Services helps connect newcomers with potential employers, and with English language training. Many of these newcomers have farming backgrounds in their home countries. Immigration Settlement Services has offices across Manitoba.
Post-secondary institutions are often good places to hire, said Wright. Producers may be able to tap into colleges’ and universities’ job posting programs or co-op education programs.
People also tend to overlook local high schools, she added. She suggested building a relationship with the local school.
“Be the employer who is known to that community, be the employer who is willing to take some students who are interested, perhaps in a technical trade,” said Wright. “Maybe they know of a few students who are just looking for an opportunity to gain some skills. Get them on your side.”
This might not solve immediate needs for long-term employees, she said, but it’s an excellent pipeline for future workers.
Manitoba Métis Employment and Training Centres provide job matching and posting services, Cruikshanks said. These centres help clients develop skills based on local need. If they know farms need workers and can provide skills they’re looking for, they may be able to place workers.
Indigenous employment centres, such as AMIK, also build job skills and place workers.
“Building the relationship with these organizations also assists them in understanding the demand in the sector,” Cruikshanks told the Co-operator. “We would encourage employers to look outside of their typical hiring circles and seek skills that complement the staff they already have, that may come from urban- or rural-raised employees.”