Workers less optimistic about employers' investments in workplace

But employers more optimistic about hiring, training: BMO
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 01/05/2012

Canadians are less optimistic than they were this time last year about employers' investments in the workplace, in contrast to a more optimistic view from businesses, according to a BMO survey.

Last year, 33 per cent of the workforce expected employee training and development programs to be offered by their employer. When asked about their expectations for 2012, only 18 per cent of Canadians anticipate their employer will invest in such programs.

Furthermore, only 17 per cent of 1,542 Canadians surveyed believe employers will do more hiring, compared to 29 per cent for 2011. Similarly, lower employee expectations exist for investments by employers in new equipment (29 per cent versus 20 per cent this year).

"A general sense of economic uncertainty may be reflected in employees' expectations for 2012 when compared to a more cautious optimism at the beginning of last year," said Cathy Pin, vice-president of BMO commercial banking. "Canadians likely expect that the current economic conditions will have a measurable impact this year on the investments companies are prepared to make in their workforce. However, this appears to be in contrast to what we are hearing from businesses and what we found in our survey of business owners in the late summer."

Regionally, Albertans are the most likely to say their employer will be hiring more people in the coming year (32 per cent ) and are among the most likely to say employers will be purchasing new equipment (31 per cent).

Employee expectations for 2012 - Regional

National

Regional

For 2012

For 2011

ATL

QC

ON

MB/SK

AB

BC

Hire more employees

17%

29%

6%

15%

17%

19%

32%

13%

Employee training

18%

33%

17%

18%

17%

25%

26%

14%

New equipment

20%

29%

13%

23%

17%

23%

31%

17%

Employer expectations

In a separate BMO survey of 503 small, medium and large business owners, 79 per cent of business owners indicated they have plans to invest the same or more in 2012. Of those businesses planning to invest more, 39 per cent said they plan to invest more in hiring and 31 per cent planned to increase their spending on employee training.

"According to BMO Economics, the Canadian economy is projected to grow a modest two per cent in 2012 and this is expected to increase the demand for labour by 0.7 per cent. The unemployment rate is expected to fall slightly to 7.2 per cent by the end of 2012," said Sal Guatieri, senior economist at BMO capital markets.

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