Many companies optimistic about 2012 economy: Survey

Almost one-half to boost salaries by more than 3 per cent
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 01/18/2012

Most Canadian companies are optimistic about the economy in 2012, according to a survey by Hays Canada, a national recruitment consultancy.

More than three-quarters (81 per cent) of 1,300 organizations surveyed believe the economy will continue to strengthen or remain static, with 39 per cent of companies planning on increasing staff levels this year.

However, filling these new roles may be challenging as 77 per cent of the companies cited "availability of suitable/skilled candidates" as the biggest challenge in attracting top talent. And when it comes to talent retention, 65 per cent listed "career progression" as the primary challenge for talent retention while 53 per cent listed "salary.”

The survey also revealed corporate Canada weathered 2011 better than it had originally predicted. Results of a Hays survey conducted in 2010 indicated 40 per cent of companies expected business activity to decline in 2011 — but the new data revealed only 13 per cent of businesses actually experienced this decline. And 57 per cent of companies saw their business activity increase in 2011.

"Many sectors in the Canadian economy are beginning to return to, or even surpass, pre-recession levels of business activity," said Rowan O'Grady, president of Hays Canada. "There are particular bright spots in construction, information technology and resources and mining. The challenge for employers will be to attract and retain the best possible talent as the market heats up. There continues to be a perceived lack of skilled candidates for new roles, and clear career progression plans which help retain employees. Effective talent management will help companies capitalize on business growth".

This return of confidence may explain why 45 per cent of employers plan on increasing salaries by more than three per cent in 2012, said Hays. When it comes to expected salary increases at Canadian companies:
•55 per cent will increase salaries between one and three per cent
•40 per cent will increase salaries between three and six per cent
•4 per cent will increase salaries between six and 10 per cent
•1 per cent will increase salaries by more than 10 per cent.

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