There is no doubt that COVID-19 has changed North America’s employer-employee relationship for good; but there is also no doubt that the economic realities governing employer survival and employee contributions to that survival have not changed for good.
Good might be the watchword today for workers in a B.C. job market where they have significant leverage.
Many companies in many sectors cannot find the human resources they need to grow and prosper.
That is bad for employers.
But it is also bad for employees and the job market because both need businesses at every level and in every sector that are engaged, focused and growing. Those businesses also need employees who are engaged, focused and motivated.
The COVID-19 pandemic temporarily short-circuited that focus on both sides of the factory floor.
Getting it back on track is proving to be a challenge.
Employees in many sectors are not interested in working in the same way they were before the pandemic.
In some ways that is good for work-life balance and career flexibility.
But in other ways it is not so good – especially in an economy that is headed downhill.
Canada’s downhill velocity could be significant. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development projects the country’s GDP growth to slow from 3.2 per cent this year to one per cent in 2023.
Tuesday to Thursday in-office work weeks and hybrid work arrangements might be the new way of doing business for many employees, but they and their employers will still have to grapple with age-old challenges such as inflation, recession and bottom-line business survival.
Marketplace fundamentals do not care about what workers consider to be employment essentials. They will sink companies that have not established the right balance of workplace flexibility and business agility to keep them afloat.
That will leave them and their employees to sink or swim, regardless of who has the most job market leverage.