EmployerOne 2023

Survey Results

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The Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie conducted its 8th EmployerOne survey in January 2023.

The EmployerOne Survey is administered by workforce development boards across Ontario to better understand labour market demands.

Wynona Mendes is the Research Lead at Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie. With a Master of Economic Development and Innovation from the University of Waterloo, she uses local data to identify and analyze trends and help partners and employers understand and leverage the area’s labour market. Mendes has reviewed and assessed the data from the 2023 EmployerOne survey and this report reveals her findings.

249 businesses completed the EmployerOne survey, providing valuable insights into how the employment landscape has changed since pre-pandemic.



Wynona Mendes
Research Lead
Workforce Planning Board
of Grand Erie

Availability of Qualified Workers

Technical and general laboring roles were hardest to fill, with about 35% of businesses rating availability as ‘poor’, and an even higher proportion rating it as ‘fair’.


Shifts In Availability

Shifts in availability of qualified workers between 2014 and 2023.

Anticipated Hiring



  • 77% of all businesses anticipate hiring in 2023, similar to pre-pandemic levels
  • Anticipated hiring was most common in sectors experiencing labour shortages, namely:
    • Accommodation and food services – 86% [main reason: Fill a vacancy/replacement]
    • Manufacturing – 84% [main reason: Fill a vacancy/replacement]
    • Agriculture – 83% [main reason: Expansion]
    • Healthcare and social assistance – 81% [main reason: Fill a vacancy/replacement]
    • Wholesale and retail trade – 71% [main reason: Fill a vacancy/replacement]
  • 91% of City of Brantford businesses planned to hire in 2023 (higher than all of the counties)
  • Since 2019, the main reason for anticipated hiring has been to fill vacancies/replacements, with over 1 in 3 businesses (38%) citing this as the principal reason for hiring in 2023.

Hard to Fill Positions


Hard to Fill Positions

Reasons for hard to fill positions:

  • Not enough applicants (indicated by 40% of all businesses)
  • Lack of work experience amongst candidates (indicated by 33% of all businesses)
  • Lack of motivation, attitude or interpersonal abilities amongst candidates (indicated by 32% of all businesses)
  • Candidates do not show up for interviews/respond to offers (indicated by 31% of all businesses)
  • Lack of qualifications (education/certifications) amongst candidates (indicated by 28% of all businesses)

Top reason by sector:

  • Manufacturing – Candidates do not show up for interviews/respond to offers
  • Healthcare and Social Assistance – Lack of qualifications (education/certifications) amongst candidates
  • Wholesale and retail trade – Not enough applicants
  • Construction – Lack of work experience amongst candidates
  • Accommodation and Food Services – Candidates do not show up for interviews/respond to offers
  • Agriculture – Lack of work experience amongst candidates

To address hard-to-fill roles, businesses have tried the following:

  • 83% offered on the job training (of these, 62% were successful)
  • 73% offered better wages/benefits (of these, 55% were successful)
  • 60% reduced experience requirements (of these, 37% were successful)
  • 58% hired one or more part-time staff to fill a full-time role (of these, 54% were successful)
  • 49% reduced qualification requirements (of these, 35% were successful)


  • For 47% of all businesses, retention has become more difficult compared to pre-pandemic.
    The proportion of businesses that indicated this was even highest amongst manufacturing (60%), health care (56%) and accommodation and food service (52%) businesses.
  • It was also more common amongst government (63%) and not-for-profit (55%) businesses.
  • The proportion of businesses with retention challenges increased along with business size.

Reasons for increased retention challenges:

  1. We cannot offer competitive wages – 26% (common amongst healthcare, accommodation and food service and manufacturing businesses)
  2. Undesirable work hours (i.e. rotating, split, on call hours) – 18% (common amongst agricultural businesses)
  3. Limited/no benefits – 13% (common amongst professional, scientific and technical service businesses)
  4. Lack of transportation availability – 13% (common amongst Six Nations, Brant, Haldimand and Norfolk County businesses)
  5. Not enough opportunities to advance/develop within business – 10% (common amongst manufacturing businesses)
  6. Too many hours required – 10% (common amongst agriculture businesses)


  • 75% of all businesses experienced separations in 2022.
  • Separations by sector:
    • Manufacturing- 91%
    • Agriculture – 83%
    • Healthcare and Social Assistance – 81%
    • Wholesale and retail trade – 74%
    • Construction – 73%
    • Accommodation and food services – 69%
    • Professional, scientific and technical services – 39%
  • Amongst businesses that experienced separations, 63% indicated they completed exit interviews. Exit interviews were most common in the manufacturing sector, and least common in the accommodation and food services sector.

Impacts of hiring and retention challenges

  • As a result of hiring and retention challenges:
    • 68% of businesses reported transferring responsibilities to existing staff members
    • 55% of businesses reported reduced productivity
    • 37% of businesses reported negative impact on customer service

Other significant impacts included inability to get/fulfill contracts, reduced business hours/elimination of shifts, postponed business expansion and inability to meet financial goals.

Remote Work

40% of Grand Erie businesses switched to remote work over the course of the pandemic. This was most common amongst professional, scientific, and technical services, healthcare and social assistance, and manufacturing, and least common amongst accommodation and food services and agricultural businesses.

77% of these businesses continue to allow their workforce to work remotely either partially or fully.

Majority (55%) of businesses reported no change in productivity as a result of remote work. 16% said productivity increased, and 29% said it decreased as a result of remote work.

Amongst businesses that didn’t require in person work, the main reason for calling employees back to the workplace was because employers found it difficult to manage remote workers.


Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

  • On their senior management teams, 20% of businesses had racialized persons, 10% had indigenous persons, 9% had members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community and 8% had persons with disabilities.
  • 78% of all businesses agreed that hiring with a lens to diversify the workforce is an important part of their organization’s strategy, and a slightly smaller portion (74%) indicated they were aware of organizations that can help improve their EDI (Equity, Diversity and Inclusion) practices. However, only 36% had worked with such organizations to improve their EDI practices.
  • 43% of businesses said their management had completed EDI training, and 31% said all their staff had done the same.

Mental Health Leave

  • 24% of businesses indicated they had experienced an increase mental health leave amongst employees. This was most common amongst accommodation and food services (45%), health care and social assistance (33%) and manufacturing (29%) businesses.

Micro credentials

  • We do not have any needs that may be filled by micro-credential training- 44%
  • We have not considered accepting micro-credentials – 26%
  • We accept micro-credentials from any recognized institutions – 23%
  • We accept micro-credentials only from formal higher education institutions (i.e. universities/colleges) – 6%
  • We have considered, but do not accept micro-credentials – 2%

IT provisions  

  • 20% of all businesses did not have any IT support, and an additional 45% relied on the services of an external IT consultant/contractor. The vast majority of these were micro and small businesses.

Cybersecurity needs

  • Majority (52%) of businesses have strong cybersecurity systems in place. On the other hand, 12% (mostly micro and small businesses) were unsure of what their cybersecurity needs were, and an additional 13% did not have the resources to focus on cybersecurity at this time.
  • 20% of businesses said their cybersecurity systems need improvement.

Wynona Mendes is the Research Lead at Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie. In this video, Mendes provides a breaks down of the 2023 EmployerOne survey and the relevance of its findings for partners, employers BS and the greater community.


The Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie is the labour and job market expert in the communities of Brantford, Brant, Haldimand, Norfolk, Six Nations and Mississaugas of the Credit First Nations. We are one of 26 community-based, not-for-profit corporations established in Ontario to play a leadership role in labour force development.

The Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie leads the development of local labour market strategies by engaging community partners and maximizing available resources.

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