Workplace health and safety top of mind for job-seekers

Today’s labour shortage means workers have lots of employers to choose from. Employers with good health and safety programs are more likely to attract them. 

Photo of newspaper opened to Jobs ads, with cup of coffee and pair of glasses on the table.

Photo credit: iStock.com/Stadtratte

Attracting qualified workers is a challenge for many industries today. Recently I spoke with Lisa McGuire, CEO of the Manufacturing Safety Alliance (the Alliance), about what this challenge looks like in the manufacturing industry.

“One of the biggest challenges the manufacturing sector is facing today is with finding, hiring, and retaining qualified staff,” Lisa says. “The overall worker demographic is aging, and manufacturers have historically had difficulty attracting female employees.”

She adds that workers also now have more choices than ever of where they want to work. So what can employers do to set themselves apart for potential employees? Consider focusing on health and safety. According to a February 2019 Angus Reid omnibus poll of 1,010 people across Canada, 94 percent of Canadians currently employed say that workplace health, safety, and mental well-being is important when choosing a job.

The Alliance had an opportunity to participate in the poll and provide questions for respondents to answer. Says Lisa: “We asked some critical questions: Is workplace safety important to workers? How important? Can our members make their companies more attractive to potential workers by improving their health and safety programs? Will this keep their existing staff engaged longer?”

See this announcement from the Alliance for more details about the poll and its results.

Workers want employers that value health and safety

Lisa described what these poll results mean for employers. “More manufacturers are coming to recognize that an effective health and safety program is something workers not only value and expect, but also something they are specifically seeking in an employer.”

The Alliance is leveraging the poll results to start a broader discussion with industry. This includes encouraging employers to look at business sustainability models that address safe work practices, worker well-being, and environmental impact.

They also want to see more manufacturers pursuing a Certificate of Recognition (COR), which is known as an Occupational Safety Standard of Excellence designation in the manufacturing industry. Employers can demonstrate their commitment to safety to current and potential workers by showcasing this certification on their websites, social media, and employment advertising.

Many thanks to Lisa for answering my questions. What do you think? Employers, have you been getting questions about health and safety from job-seekers? Workers (and job-seekers), how important is workplace safety to you when looking for a job?

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