Lack of Skilled Employees Is Not Just A Problem For The Trades Careers

Special Report By 
Robert Kirwan
Valley East Today

   The other day I reviewed the results of an international survey which concluded that Canada has one of the most serious shortages of skilled labour in the industrial world. That didn’t surprise me much. We’ve been hearing for years that our schools must begin to produce more skilled graduates in the trades.

   What did surprise me, however, is the survey found that employers in Canada are not just having trouble finding employees in the skilled trades field. In fact, the positions they are having the most difficulty filling are for sales representatives.

   That’s right! Employers in   Canada have indicated that they simply cannot find enough sales representatives for their companies.  That is their number one concern.

  The report is indeed a revelation and should be a wake-up call for our business and educational leaders. We can spend a lot of money and time encouraging young people to get training in skilled trades, to stay in school to get post-secondary degrees and diplomas, to become professional teachers, doctors, nurses, etc.  However, all will be for nothing unless we address the severe shortage of skilled sales representatives in this country. Without a good sales team, a company will suffer the same fate as the man in the story.

   So what do we have to do to fill this shortage of skilled sales representatives? For starters, we have to allow young students in elementary and secondary schools to find out that it is all right to take chances with new ideas and to take risks. We have to give them experience in ‘selling new ideas’ to their peers and adult leaders. We have to help them improve their ‘oral communication skills’ instead of having them spend so much time on paper work and playing games on computers. We have to let them see that rejection is not to be taken personally and that for every idea that is turned down or for every ‘no’ you receive, you are simply that much closer to a ‘yes’. We have to give them opportunity to ‘work on their own independently’ instead of always being part of a ‘team’ where they can ‘hide’. This list can go on and on…

   The most important thing we must do is elevate the status of sales representative in our society. By improving the public image of sales representative, young people may one day feel that this is a career itself and not just a stepping stone to a management position.

   Or we can just continue to do things the way we’ve always done them and when company after company closes its doors, it will solve our shortages of skilled trades people.  


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