Conditions are ripe for investments at mid-sized companies in Canada over the next six months, according to a global survey by American Express.
Revenues are reported to be up year-over-year (66 per cent) and a large majority (88 per cent) of mid-sized Canadian companies are confident they can access the capital they need to grow.
More than eight in 10 firms (81 per cent) plan to make an investment in human capital and hire staff over the next six months. And while this is a global trend, Canada is the most likely of the seven countries surveyed to report plans to hire (The survey was also conducted in the United States, Mexico, Germany, the United Kingdom, Australia and Japan.)
Hiring appears to be on the upswing at mid-sized companies. More than one-half (59 per cent) said they currently have more employees than they did one year ago. Among those planning to add staff, 47 per cent said they need to hire to support business volume. Additional reasons for hiring include:
•seasonal help needed (36 per cent)
•new business ventures (32 per cent)
•the company finally found the right candidate/positions (26 per cent)
•the company needed more people to delegate to (25 per cent)
Among those who plan to add staff over the next six months:
•47 per cent plan to hire only full-time employees
•27 per cent plan to hire only part-time employees
•12 per cent plan to hire both full and part-time employees
The survey results point to additional optimism for those considering employment at mid-sized firms. Almost one-third (31 per cent) of companies said the main reason they are able to retain employees is their compensation package (including competitive salary and stock options).
Growth top priority
Financial decision-makers surveyed (including 200 in Canada) have a positive outlook on business prospects over the next six months, irrespective of how the economy behaves, said American Express. Fifty-seven per cent said they expect their business to grow regardless of the economy and 34 per cent have an even more positive outlook, saying they actually see the economy improving and expanding opportunities for their business.
The single most important priority for nearly one-half of Canadian business owners (47 per cent) over the next six months is growing their business. As they look to expand, companies believe acquiring new customers (19 per cent) will most help them grow.
In addition, mid-sized companies are prioritizing retaining/growing existing customer relationships (19 per cent) and increasing investments in infrastructure (19 per cent), followed by attracting and retaining top talent (17 per cent) and accessing more cash flow/capital (16 per cent).
The most prominent challenge is managing expenses/the rising costs of doing business (26 per cent) followed by:
•he uncertain economy (20 per cent)
•acquiring new customers (14 per cent)
•retaining/growing existing customer relationships (13 per cent)
•attracting and retaining top talent and accessing cash flow/capital (each 10 per cent)
•regulatory and compliance requirements (eight per cent).