submitted by Andrew Lavoie, President, Next Level Group
New Level Group celebrates 10 years in business
Next Level Group Staffing & Consulting Agency (NLG) supports employers in connecting with permanent or temporary staffing solutions. They also welcome job candidates who want to grow their careers or move to new positions.
“Things certainly have improved in the last few months,” says Andrew Lavoie, President of NLG. “There is definitely an increase in employers searching for quality staff. For positions such as General Labourers, Warehousing, and Trades People, we are running to keep up with the demand.
“If we could find 80 to 100 candidates for positions that do not require extensive education or experience, we would be able to immediately place them into positions for clients of different sectors and industries throughout Atlantic Canada.”
Jobs currently in demand
“Certain industries are starving for people,” says Andrew. He says employers often contact him regarding the following positions:
- Maintenance workers within manufacturing settings, eg. Industrial Electricians,
- Maintenance Mechanics and Supervisors
- Property Development Maintenance and Management
- IT professionals
- Truck Drivers
- Construction Labourers
A different employment climate
“Previously, an employer interviewing to fill a position might get three to four good candidates for that role.” says Andrew. “Now we might only find one or two qualified candidates.
“It seems as though the tables have turned and now job candidates are not only interviewing the employer but are also arriving significantly more prepared for their interviews. Businesses mention that common questions received during the interview today are about benefit packages, pension plans, vacation time, and mental health resources.
“It seems that many candidates are hesitant to leave their current role during such uncertain times, and are looking for value, growth potential, and job security.
“We have heard from numerous candidates who lost their jobs because of companies downsizing throughout the pandemic. They are using this time to take charge of their career, make advancements, and create a new future for themselves.”
“At times, we find candidates who may not have all the experience and qualifications the employer is looking for. Next Level Group helps employers determine if they should reconfigure their job description or train, guide, and support the right candidate.
“We are suggesting to our clients that they consider the candidates’ needs and wants to make it a true partnership. Our job at Next Level Group has become a lot more challenging as we often do a deep dive with both the employer and the candidate to determine each party’s requirements, and then distinguish the must-haves from the nice-to-haves.”
NLG helps their employers prepare cultural, behavioural, and situational interview questions, and coaches them on how to remain both fully engaged and prepared in the interview process, to select the best candidate for the job.
Strategies for working through a skilled trades shortage
“I think as a lot of companies restructure and make changes, they will come out of this stronger,” says Andrew. “There certainly are extreme challenges in finding skilled tradespeople, and we are working with our clients to try to come up with creative solutions. Sometimes we can provide an option that helps alleviate some of that pressure and allows them to continue operations.”
Andrew describes an example of a client having difficulty finding more Journeyman Mechanics. He suggests increasing the productivity of current staff by allocating some lower-skill tasks to a more general Labourer, which could increase the profitability and the productivity of the skilled staff.
Changing the workplace to conform to COVID-19 restrictions
Today, the idea of remote work is much more common. “We are finding that employers from most IT sectors (Cyber Security for example) have no issue with people working from home. Some Human Resource professionals are working remotely at least part of the time.”
He advises employers to bring in a portion of their employees to the office on alternate days while the others work from home. He also acknowledges that remote work is not possible in industries such as manufacturing, construction, logistics, and transportation, and in those cases many companies are creating extra shifts with less staff to comply with social distancing.
Employment at NLG
Next Level Group has recently increased its employee numbers, and there are now eight full-time and one part-time staff member. “Two staff look after the HR side of the business, such as policy writing, health and safety, and HR services. We then have a team of Recruiters and Account Managers, as well as East Coast Accounting, which offers bookkeeping and payroll solutions.
“East Coast Accounting, NLG’s sister company, has doubled in volume from this time last year. We are now employing four full-time staff. Clients are coming back to us looking for full bookkeeping services. With so many electronic programs in use, bookkeeping has become incredibly challenging for business owners.”