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How do I evaluate a community's existing workforce?

A solid existing workforce can make or break your company's expansion. Here are three ways to evaluate a workforce.

While a talent pipeline is increasingly important in a world where talent competition is more heated than ever, an existing pipeline is crucial to making your expansion a success.

When expanding to a new community your company’s initial staff will be a) existing staff that are relocated, b) new staff from the local community or, most likely, c) a combination of both. That means it is imperative to identify a strong local workforce that can provide the core of your new team and help sustain your continued growth.

This is the eighth part in our “Guide to Foreign Business Expansion” series tackling the 12 questions every business needs to ask. Download the full guide now.

Here are some of the statistics you might want to consult:

Labour Force Size

This simple statistic gives you an idea of the community’s capacity for growth via the total number of residents participating in the local economy. For example, if your expansion plan includes scaling your new operation to hundreds of people it is important to know that the community has a large enough workforce to meet your needs.

Employment Statistics

Adding an additional layer of detail to labour force size, employment statistics like employment-by-industry and employment-by-occupation can help you identify whether the workforce you need is available in your target community.

Employment-by-industry comes from the North American Industry Classification in Canada and helps identify the size of a workforce in a particular industry (manufacturing, finance, retail, etc.).

Employment-by-occupation comes from the National Occupation Classification in Canada and identifies the total proportion of workers from types of occupations – this information is useful because workers in finance, marketing/sales or trades often have transferable skills regardless of the industry they work in.

In some cases, more specific sector or cluster information is available via third-party reports. For example, each year CBRE releases tech talent-specific reports for North America as a whole and Canada, specifically.

Other Demographic Information

Many additional demographic statistics can provide a helpful perspective about a target community. Examples include median age of the population, projected population growth, educational attainment and diversity stats like languages spoken, prevalence of visible minorities, ethnic groups and immigrant population.

These statistics are commonly found on economic development organization websites. Waterloo EDC provides all of this information in the “Community Profile” section of its website. Our website also has a demographics and statistics section where you can create custom reports.

Expanding your business?

Contact the Waterloo EDC team. We’re here to help.