Vol 5, Issue 2, May 13, 2021
Hamilton's Labour Market Connection
Your weekly news & updates from WPH!
In this week's edition: #HamOnt Labour market snapshot; The terminology of "soft skills" may be inaccurate; Mother's in the workplace during the pandemic; Hamilton Labour Force Information March 2021
HamOnt Labour Market Snapshot: APRIL
In April, the labour force data represents a full month of lockdowns. In March the Labour Force Survey was conducted right before the provincial wide lockdowns came into affect, so the employment number were not reflective of the lockdowns. 

In April, the number of people employed increased in Ontario from the month before (152,700 people), and the number of people unemployed increased (-120,400 people). The unemployment rate rose to 9%. Therefore, the lockdowns seem to have major impacts on our economy. Economists were hoping that the lockdowns would only have minimal impacts on labour markets as we are learning to adjust, but April figures shows this might not be the case.  

In Hamilton, the number of unemployed people increased (5,100 people) but the number of employed people also increased implying the lockdowns may not have impacted Hamilton as severely. However, this may be due to the fact that the Hamilton data is three-month moving average. Therefore, the previous two months which had good employment growth, factor into this month’s numbers. This will be something that needs to be followed to see if Hamilton’s economy may be adjusting well to lockdowns.
The above charts are the industries that were most impacted during the lockdowns in Ontario. The information does not include Hamilton data because of the affects of the three-month moving average on the trend. Next month the Hamilton data will be shown.

Retail trade was the most impacted industry losing 43,500 jobs in April. Educational services next losing 41,300 jobs, which connects to schools closing due to lockdowns. Likewise, Accommodation and food services losing 20,800 jobs was due to public health restrictions on restaurants. 

At the opposite end, Public administration saw an increase of 14,500 jobs in April. This may be related to the help needed at vaccine clinics across the province. This is followed by Finance and insurance which saw an increase of 10,900 jobs. Interestingly, Construction saw an increase of 10,400 jobs during the lockdowns that also saw the stoppage of any non-essential construction. 
Should We Stop Using "Soft" Skills?
Skills are a huge conversation piece when it comes to job searching, workforce development, and filling skills gaps. But does the term "soft-skills" appropriately demonstrate the importance of what these skills entail?

There is a wealth of information available to help gain knowledge around the different skills, but care is needed in how these skills are described and grouped.

Typically, ‘soft’ is used to refer to communication and interpersonal skills, implying these skills are light-weight. Describing them as ‘non-technical’ or ‘intangible’ further implies, inaccurately, that they require little effort and no special knowledge.

There is arguments that the term "soft-skills" are imprecise, inaccurate, gender-biased, and unprofessional.

Mother's in the Workplace During a Pandemic
Working mothers are a resilient group, accustomed to juggling work responsibilities and family time with aplomb. Before the COVID-19 crisis, they had slowly been making progress in the workplace.

McKinsey’s 2020 Women in the Workplace report, revealed a startling statistic: one in four working women in North America said that they were considering downshifting their careers or dropping out of the workforce entirely. For working mothers, and particularly those with young children, the number was one in three.

Research from McKinsey over the past year shows just how dramatically the pandemic has affected working mothers. They’ve grappled with a “double shift” of household responsibilities, mental health challenges, a more difficult remote-work experience, and concerns about higher rates of unemployment—particularly among mothers of color and single mothers. These burdens come on top of structural barriers for working women, including being the “only” woman in the room and playing an allyship role for others.

Hamilton Labour Force Information: March 2021

The Hamilton COVID Concierge for Business is a one-stop online resource centre and phone line dedicated to supporting Hamilton businesses with their COVID-19 business questions and concerns.
Hamilton businesses can call the COVID Concierge at 905-521-3989 (Mon-Fri, 8:30am-4:30pm) or Contact Us online.

The Hamilton COVID Concierge for Business is brought to you by the Hamilton COVID Concierge Team, comprised of the City of Hamilton and the three local Chambers of Commerce.
Workforce Planning Hamilton | 905-521-5777| info@workforceplanninghamilton.ca | www.workforceplanninghamilton.ca