Employers focus on stability, risk avoidance for new year

Economic optimism tempered by lingering problems in Alberta

Canadian employers are heavily focused on stability and risk-avoidance, opting for a conservative approach to business in 2017, according to a Hays Canada report.

Despite economic optimism, company buoyancy is muted by the country’s declining oil market and worries that mid-level staff turnover is on the rise.

The annual Hays Salary Guide revealed a 19 per cent spike in confidence for a strengthening Canadian economy next year and nearly two-thirds of respondents expect their business activity will increase.

The report gathers insights from more than 4,000 employers and employees across Canada.

For the past two years, employers have reported business gains but it did not translate into typical signs of advancement such as hiring and pay raises. Heading into 2017, business growth expectations are 10 points higher than last year but employers are still not making any big operational shifts.

More than half (55%) of employers surveyed said salaries will increase by a nominal three per cent or less, one-third plan to increase headcount and half plan to stick with their current staff numbers.

Employers are also anxious about losing existing talent, with 26 per cent noting a management-level turnover rate between six and 10 per cent per year. According to Hays, employers have turned their attention to preserving their mid- to senior executive ranks.

“The past year was punctuated by stories about global economic upheaval but, here in Canada, the mood is one of pragmatic optimism,” said Hays Canada president Rowan O’Grady.

“Hays’ national data shows employers are acutely aware of what’s happening around them and have chosen to put business stability ahead of risk. They’re treading water with confidence and we think that’s a good thing. Canada takes the occasional knock for always playing it safe and I have to say this desire for stability makes more sense now than ever before.” 

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