Survey says manufacturers still concerned with lacking national strategy towards productivity, skills gap and trade.
October 18, 2012
by PLANT STAFF with files from The Canadian Press
OTTAWA—Lacklustre government investment policy and mounting skills shortages are dampening an otherwise glowing outlook for manufacturers over the next 3 to 5 years, according to a survey by Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME).
The study, in conjunction with Food & Consumer Products of Canada (FCPC) and BDO Canada, polled 649 Canadian companies and found that, while manufacturers are optimistic about growth, there is concern with the lack of a cohesive national strategy to address top challenges, such as boosting productivity, a growing skills gap and expanding trade opportunities.
Respondents, however, are optimistic they will see a rise in profitability by 2015. Seventy-seven per cent anticipate production volumes will increase over the same timeframe.
CME outlined five core priorities in the study, including strengthened support for productivity and investment attraction, immediate steps to bridge the skills gap, and a reduction in the regulatory burden. Enhanced integration with the US and a focus on trade agreements that eliminate barriers is also crucial, the survey says.
The survey does indicate that respondents expect more of their customer and supplier base to shift over the next three years to Eastern Europe, China and Brazil.
The US and Canada, however, will remain primary markets for the foreseeable future.
Respondents in all provinces except Saskatchewan said the most pressing challenge facing Canadian companies is increased competition in their primary markets, followed by the strength of the Canadian dollar, attracting/retaining labour and global economic conditions.
Retaining labour was the key concern for Saskatchewan.
Small companies said developing new markets was key, while those with more than 500 employees identified supply chain management and logistics, cost and availability of raw materials and regulations as large challenges.