Factors Impacting Employability to Address Barriers to Employment

2 April 2024

Understanding and addressing employability barriers is crucial for employers to tap into a wider talent pool and enhance workforce efficiency. Here’s a guide on how to navigate these challenges:

1. Addressing Occupational Immobility:

Occupational immobility refers to the difficulty workers face in transitioning between different sectors due to specialized skills that may not be relevant in other industries.

Here’s what employers can do:

  • Upskilling and Reskilling: Invest in training programs to enhance the skill set of your workforce, making them adaptable to various roles,
  • Lowering Skill Requirements: Where possible, reduce specific skill prerequisites and focus on core competencies and the ability to learn, and
  • Training Schemes: Implement or support training schemes, especially for those unemployed, to boost their employability in new sectors.

2. Tackling Geographic Immobility:

Geographic immobility arises from the challenges associated with relocating for work, such as family ties, financial burdens, and housing costs.

Here’s how an employer can reasonably address them:

  • Relocation Assistance: Offer financial support for moving expenses to ease the transition for new employees,
  • Housing Support: Provide assistance with housing, such as down payments, rent subsidies, or
  • adjustments in salary to account for living costs,
  • Cost of Living Adjustments: Ensure that salaries reflect the cost of living in the area, particularly if it’s higher than the national average, and
  • Cultural and Language Integration: For employees moving from different cultural or linguistic backgrounds, provide support through integration programs, language training, and mentorship.

3. Overcoming Structural Unemployment:

Structural unemployment occurs when there’s a mismatch between the skills offered by the workforce and those demanded by employers.

Here’s what an employer including in partnership with vocational organizations and industry associations, can do:

  • Vocational Training Subsidies: Work with private sector firms to subsidize vocational training, raising the overall skill level of potential employees,
  • Industry-Specific Initiatives: For industries experiencing significant changes, like the steel or heavy engineering sectors, develop targeted training programs to transition workers to growing industries.

4. Addressing Regional Variations:

Significant differences in housing prices and living costs across regions can deter potential employees from relocating.

  • Here’s how employers can show they understand their employee’s needs:
  • Financial Incentives for High-Cost Areas: Offer specific financial incentives for employees willing to move to areas with higher living costs or where there are labour shortages,
  • Salary Adjustments: Adjust salaries to reflect regional cost differences, ensuring that employees maintain their standard of living.

5. Navigating Migration Controls:

Migration controls can limit the ability of international talent to relocate for work.

Here’s how to negotiate the push-pull around the issue:

  • Legal and Immigration Support: Aid with visa applications and legal requirements for international hires,
  • Cultural Integration Programs: Develop programs that help international employees integrate into the local culture and community.

By implementing these strategies, employers can effectively address employability barriers, creating a more dynamic, adaptable, and inclusive workforce.


  • TWIG

    Toronto Workforce Innovation Group is a non-profit and independent research organization devoted to finding and promoting solutions to employment-related problems in the Toronto Region.

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Factors Impacting Employability to Address Barriers to Employment
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