A subcontractor that finishes metal parts for Hydro-Québec, Bombardier and Paccar in the Center-du-Québec region had to turn away customers because it didn’t have enough employees in its workshop.
• Also read: Labor shortage: The way out, reduce working hours
• Also read: An SME from Mont-Tremblant has to turn down orders due to a lack of a successor
“We reject customers. We made the choice. We had to cut almost 40% of our customers. We kept the most strategic ones. Our goal is to bring them back to serve them again,” explains Claude Fournier, CEO of Sixpro, from Notre-Dame-du-Bon-Conseil, halfway between Drummondville and Victoriaville.
Expertise in high demand
With a turnover of fifteen million dollars and its 140 specialized employees, Sixpro’s expertise is in demand with large customers who trust in the precision work of the medium-sized company.
But like many companies, Sixpro can no longer find employees. The reason, he believes, is simple and mathematical: it’s demographics that play the spoilsport in the factories.
“People are not hidden. It’s completely absent. It doesn’t exist,” summarizes the CEO of the company, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary in July.
Computers, customer service, buyers, foremen, production workers, painters… lack of everything.
“The baby boomers are coming out and we haven’t had enough kids,” he adds.
To stay afloat, Sixpro is counting on the arrival of African workers who will lend a hand in the coming weeks.
“We’re working on the employer brand,” says boss Claude Fournier.
“By October, we will have 28 employees from the Maghreb and various regions of Africa at our side. That’s very positive,” he says.
According to François Vincent, vice president for Quebec of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), the situation is serious.
“The surge in vacancies is acting as a steamroller for Quebec’s industry. We went from 126,730 in Q4 2019 to 238,140 in Q4 2020, an 88% increase! he says.
“That’s a big improvement. But it’s even worse for certain sectors of the economy, such as accommodation and catering (+155%), construction (+94%) and manufacturing (+92%),” he concludes.