Moderate hiring pace expected for third quarter

Three-quarters of employers say staffing levels to remain the same; 17 per cent plan to boost hiring

Moderate hiring pace expected for third quarter

Once again, a “moderate hiring pace” is expected of Canadian employers over the next three months.

Three-quarters expect staffing levels to remain unchanged while 17 per cent plan to boost levels, four per cent anticipate cutbacks and four per cent are unsure, finds a Manpower survey of 1,500 employers.

Without seasonal variations, the net employment outlook for Canada is eight per cent, unchanged from the previous quarter but an 18-percentage point increase from the forecast reported during the same time last year.

“Widespread vaccination and settling of the pandemic may well be contributing to an increase in employers planning to return to workplace-based working for the third quarter of 2021,” says Darlene Minatel, country manager of ManpowerGroup Canada.

Back in December, the same survey predicted a “moderate” hiring pace.

Nationwide, employers in all 10 industry sectors expect to add staff in the third quarter of 2021. The strongest outlook is reported in the public administration sector (18 per cent) followed by manufacturing-durables (15 per cent), manufacturing-non-durables (13 per cent), transportation and public utilities (12 per cent), finance, insurance and real estate (10 per cent), and mining (10 per cent).

Of the 47 markets serviced by ManpowerGroup in Canada, the strongest job gains are expected in Quebec City (33 per cent), Kitchener/Cambridge, Ont. (22 per cent), Halifax (21 per cent), London, Ont. (20 per cent), and Kingston, Ont. (19 per cent).

Return to normal?

A separate survey by Modus Research done in April shows that more than one in five (22 per cent of) business leaders say it is very likely that the outbreak will be contained and people will return to normal activities in the next 12 months. That’s up from just nine per cent in October.

In addition, 20 per cent believe that COVID-19 containment and a return to normal is unlikely to happen, down from 36 per cent recorded about half a year earlier. Meanwhile, over half (56 per cent) remain undecided on this question, relatively unchanged from October (55 per cent).

Among employers optimistic about a return to normal, 50 per cent believe the Canadian economy will improve over the next 12 months, 28 per cent say it will worsen and 18 per cent say it will be the same.

In contrast, among those pessimistic about a return to normal, only 28 per cent believe the economy will improve while 46 per cent say it will worsen. Twenty-three per cent are undecided.

In March, Canadian CEOs’ confidence in the three-year growth prospects for the Canadian economy rose to 81 per cent, up considerably from 48 per cent six months earlier, according to a separate report.

Flexible work preferences

Seven in 10 employers surveyed by Manpower say that a majority (76 to 100 per cent) of their workforce have roles that require them to be based in the workplace all or most of the time. When asked where they expect most staff to work in the next six to 12 months, 79 per cent of employers said in the workplace all of the time.

With the world still dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, a couple of essential worker roles made it to the list of the fastest-growing roles this year, according to Randstad Canada’s career forecast for 2021.

However, 40 per cent of Canadian employers say they will offer flexible start and finish times, 37 per cent will offer flexible or condensed hours, and 16 per cent will offer job sharing, finds Manpower.

While some employers report concerns about remote work, such as potential lost productivity, an impact on worker well-being, and obstacles to collaboration, 46 per cent report having no concerns at all.

However, 73 per cent of workers said employers will lose out on talent if they don’t offer flexible or remote working positions.

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