Surveying the Workforce to Support Employers

Posted in News


One might not think that surveying Niagara’s employed, job seeking, and self-employed individuals would have a direct benefit to local employers. However, Niagara Workforce Planning Board’s Labour Market Insight survey is designed to do just that. It is one more tool in the data toolbox that will help us identify local challenges and opportunities as perceived by a sample of Niagara’s 200,000 strong workforce. Our analysis of this survey’s responses will work to identify strategies that will help employers attract new people to their teams while also highlighting the nuances that will help employers retain their current staff.

This doesn’t mean NWPB is going to stop doing employer surveys. Far from it. Our annual Employer One Survey is on track to happen in January of 2020. 

Through the Labour Market Insight Survey, we want to begin to shape a broader understanding of working in Niagara. Consider that a motivated and capable workforce is often an employer’s largest expense and their most valuable asset. However, employee turnover can also easily become one of an employer’s largest costs. In fact, the data on employee turnover suggest that Canada might be struggling with the challenge of employee retention and turnover more than the rest of the world.

A 2018 report from the Canadian HR Reporter places Canada’s rate of employee turnover at 16%, well above the global rate of 12.8%. Ceridian’s 2018 Pulse of Talent Survey found that within a survey of 1,001 Canadians and 1,000 Americans, 37% of surveyed individuals were actively or casually looking for new work. Numbers like those place Ontario’s historic low unemployment rate (seen in Figure 1) in a clear context. More than two years of low unemployment rates amid job growth reflect a hiring climate that is becoming much more challenging for employers. In that light, managing employee retention and attraction is not something that we want to leave to chance.

Figure One: Historic Unemployment Rates in Ontario – January 2017 to July 2019

Line graph: Historic Unemployment Rates in Ontario – January 2017 to July 2019

Two and a half years of low unemployment rates in Ontario have made hiring more challenging and created greater opportunities for the labour force to move from one job to another. Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey


We believe that our Labour Market Insight Survey, combined with the results of the annual Employer One Survey, will provide the kind of information that will help employers get ahead of the curve when it comes to recruitment and retention. Our goal is to mobilize the lived experiences of Niagara’s residents, and transform those narratives into data that will underscore the benefits and opportunities that keep an individual engaged with their employer. This survey will help bridge the gap between the needs of employers and the workforce, and in doing so help align local talent with the world-class employers that choose to do business in Niagara.

We encourage everyone in Niagara who is working, looking for work, or self-employed, regardless of age or hours worked per week, to complete the Labour Market Insight Survey. We further hope that employers will see the value in having their staff spend ten minutes on this survey.

The 2019 Labour Market Insight Survey can be completed at the link below:

The Labour Market Insight Survey is available here