Labour pains: Ottawa Talent Summit tackles issue of worker shortages

Talent summit stock image

With the fierce fight for talent in Ottawa’s tight labour market showing no signs of easing up, some of the city’s top business minds are coming together virtually to discuss how employers can attract and retain the best and brightest workers.

Hosted by OBJ and the Ottawa Board of Trade, the 2021 Ottawa Talent Summit will gather business owners, HR experts and community leaders to tackle a variety of issues surrounding the future of work as the economy struggles to rebound from the pandemic. 

It’s an issue that’s top of mind for many in the local business community. According to the 2021 Ottawa Business Growth survey, 44 per cent of respondents said they plan to hire more staff in the coming year – up from 25 per cent in 2020.

“There’s no question that talent is the biggest barrier to growth for the majority of local businesses,” OBJ publisher Michael Curran says. “Our surveys of hundreds of local business leaders have consistently illustrated that year after year. Of course, the pandemic has taken the talent crunch to a whole new level, unfortunately.”

Stephen Harrington, a partner at Deloitte’s Ottawa office, will headline next Tuesday’s virtual event. His keynote address will focus on the current skills crisis and how companies may need to rethink traditional approaches to corporate learning.

Other participants in the half-day conference will include Karen Brownrigg, an executive coach and HR expert at iHR Advisory Services, Ottawa’s medical officer of health, Dr. Vera Etches, Hire Immigrants Ottawa director Henry Akanko, Ottawa Employment Hub project manager Amanda Barresi and Natalie MacArthur, director of talent strategy at Invest Ottawa.

“Every Ottawa business is impacted by the talent and labour issue, even more so during the pandemic,” says Ottawa Board of Trade Sueling Ching. “Our intention is to bring together business, talent experts and economic stakeholders to identify opportunities to build the best workplaces and to create a community-wide strategy for long-term growth.”

Tickets for the event, which takes place next Tuesday, Sept. 28, from 8 a.m.-1 p.m., are available here.