Labour market downturn expected in early 2012

Compensation may not keep up with inflation: Survey
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 01/26/2012

HR professionals expect to see a slowdown in hiring and in hours worked in 2012, according to a quarterly survey by the Ordre des conseillers en ressources humaines agréés (CRHA) in collaboration with Analysis Group, economic, financial and strategy consultants.

The net difference between hiring expectations, meaning the percentage of respondents expecting their workforce to increase, less the percentage of those expecting it to decrease amounted to 22.6 per cent. Although this figure remains positive, it is lower than the previous quarter's results (30.5 per cent) and the first quarter of 2011 (42.6 per cent).

In 2011, to counterbalance the decrease in net hiring expectations in relation to the previous quarter, an increase in hours worked was noted, said CRHA. However, this quarter breaks with this trend. The net difference in hours worked equals only 7.3 per cent, which is down 14.6 percentage points from the fourth quarter of 2011 and 15.7 percentage points from the first quarter, found the survey of 366 CRHA members.

"The end of the year was problematic for organizations in terms of employment. In fact, respondents expect both a downturn in hiring and in hours worked. Naturally, everyone hopes to see the situation turn around soon," said Pierre Emmanuel Paradis, senior economist at Analysis Group.

Respondents also don't expect compensation to keep up with the high inflation rates of the last quarters of 2011, as 42.1 per cent expect pay increases to be less than Quebec's inflation rate (which topped three per cent at the time of the survey) while 5.8 per cent disagree, creating a net difference of 36.3 per cent.

However, economic forecasts for 2012, particularly by the Bank of Canada, suggest a return to an inflation rate of around two per cent for 2012, said CRHA.

Lastly, HR managers will continue to encounter recruitment problems, as indicated by a net difference of 59.5 per cent, with the problems more serious in large corporations.

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