Human resources professionals expect hirings to be relatively modest and hours worked to stagnate in early 2013, according to a survey released by the Ordre des conseillers en ressources humaines agrees (CRHA).
For the first quarter of 2013, the net difference between hiring expectations amounted to 3.9 per cent, 19 percentage points fewer than the previous quarter (23.2 per cent).
And the net difference in hours worked was down 12.4 percentage points compared to the last survey.
"The job market is getting off to a slow start in 2013, particularly in large corporations where a number of managers anticipate they'll have to reduce their workforce in the coming months. Luckily, the situation is stable among SMEs as well as in the public and parapublic sectors. It's thus to be hoped that this slowdown will soon pick up and that major employers will begin rehiring before long," said Florent Francoeur, president and CEO of CRHA.
However, the anticipated gap between pay increases and inflation is clearly positive (32.8 per cent) for the second quarter in a row, indicating many employers intend to grant above-inflation pay raises in the coming year.
"This is definitely welcome news for workers after several quarters where salary increases were pegged to remain below inflation," said Francoeur.
Recruitment is expected to be less intense than in the last quarter (23.4 per cent versus 56.7 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2012), which reflects the above-noted slowdown.
The outlook in small and particularly medium-sized businesses is definitely more optimistic than in larger companies in terms of hiring, hours worked, recruitment problems and anticipated pay increases, found the survey of 212 CRHA members.
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