Where are the workers?
Darren Handschuh - Nov 27, 2023 - Biz Releases

Photo: Contributed

One of the biggest challenges facing downtown Vernon businesses is finding employees.

The City of Vernon Business Walks report will be presented to city council at its regular meeting Monday, and among the findings was 29% of businesses were having a hard time recruiting employees.

On Oct. 26, administration, in co-ordination with community economic development organizations and some members of council, participated in the 2023 Vernon Business Walks event.

Area community economic development organizations included Community Futures North Okanagan, Downtown Vernon Association and the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce.

Business walkers visited approximately 90 businesses and completed 73 surveys throughout the community for a “temperature check” of the local business climate. The goal was to identify potential connections between local business needs and available business support programs, and identify potential opportunities for future business support initiatives to be provided by one of the community economic development organizations.

Highlights from the survey results include:

  • 73 completed surveys that represented more than 700 local jobs
  • 80% of businesses report the current state of their business as being either “fair-steady” or “good-increasing”
  • Clientele and location were the two leading attributes identified as what surveyed businesses like most about doing business in Vernon
  • Nearly one-third of surveyed businesses identified “finding employees” as the biggest challenge facing their business
  • Surveyed businesses were most interested in accessing training related to marketing and digital marketing, hiring and human resources, and financing
  • One-third of surveyed businesses had hired an immigrant worker in the last year
  • Looking ahead to 2024, 59% of surveyed businesses expected more revenues than 2023 and 36% expected similar revenues to 2023
  • 48% of surveyed business were identified for followup actions

Administration has developed a followup list of local businesses along with the nature of the followup action and responsible organization that has been distributed among local economic development partners.

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