Alberta’s hiring outlook still strong

HR stepping up efforts to reduce voluntary turnover

Employers in Alberta are painting a positive picture when it comes to the hiring outlook over the next six months.

Three times as many employers reported a net increase in employees compared with employers reporting a net decrease, according to the Human Resources Institute of Alberta’s Alberta HR Trends Report, which used data from 944 HRIA members. About one-third of organizations reported hiring was stable.

The oil and gas sector as well as small businesses reported the highest levels of confidence in future hiring, while big businesses reported slightly lower — though still relatively high — levels of confidence.

However, with strong hiring comes the issue of voluntary turnover. Over the past six months, the most common reason for an employee’s resignation was leaving for a better opportunity.

Those at the executive and management level are more likely to leave because of retirement, while professionals are more likely to leave for a better opportunity, found the report. Technical and administrative staff are more likely to leave for personal reasons, and tradespeople are more likely to be terminated for cause.

Still, only two in five firms reported the business had been negatively impacted by resignations and retirements over the past year.

Three-quarters (75 per cent) of companies have taken action to reduce voluntary resignations over the past year, including implementing flexible work arrangements (37 per cent), better on-boarding (37 per cent) and higher wages (35 per cent).

Close to one-half of all organizations (44 per cent) expect their total number of employees to increase over the next six months, while only 11 per cent expect to lose employees.

Of those that do lose employees, resignation to pursue a better opportunity is expected to be the most frequent cause.

Filling vacancies becomes more challenging depending on how specialized the position is. This past year, it has taken more than six months to fill 30 per cent of all vacant executive positions, while 6 per cent of all vacant tradespersons positions took more than six months to fill.

The estimated average cost of processing an employee turnover came in at $17,870 across all sectors and organization sizes. Using an outside recruiter is very common in the oil and gas sector, but less common among professional service firms.

Most companies (91 per cent) offer and employee orientation for new hires, though smaller organizations are less likely to.

Most companies in Alberta have neither a formal retirement policy nor a formal succession planning process. Larger firms are more likely to have both. Larger firms are also more likely to have some form of “partial retirement” process.

One in five companies (20 per cent) have used temporary foreign workers (TFWs) over the last six months, while an additional 14 per cent of firms considered using TFWs.

For 50 per cent of employers using TFWs, the long-term plan is to obtain permanent residency for the worker, while 16 per cent say they will replace them with a Canadian worker once the four-year maximum TFW period is over.

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