TORONTO, Jan. 6, 2014 /CNW/ - Canadian business leaders remain optimistic about their prospects for 2014 despite falling short of year-over-year business and hiring activity forecasts. This is the main finding in Hays Canada's "2014 Salary Guide" which collected data from more than 2,000 Canadian employers in November 2013. There was a 10 point difference between forecasted and real decreases in business activity last year - seven per cent expected a dip in activity, and yet 17 per cent actually experienced one. This translated into fewer people being hired for permanent positions. Twelve per cent of businesses expected to decrease permanent headcount in 2013, when in fact 23 per cent did.
The Hays survey indicates that business leaders continue to be bullish about growth. The percentage of business leaders forecasting increased business activity is the highest it's been in three years; 64 per cent predict business activity will increase in 2014.
"It's worth noting that corporate Canada remains optimistic even when data suggests that a more temperate outlook would be more prudent," said Rowan O'Grady, President Hays Canada. "Companies would be better served by producing more accurate assessments of their growth prospects and adjusting their hiring plans accordingly."
Against this backdrop the skills shortages challenge persists. According to the survey two-thirds (66%) of Canadian companies suffer from moderate to significant skills shortages. When asked about potential causes for skills shortages one third (33%) cite lack of training and professional development, while another third (35%) think too few people are entering the labour market.
HAYS CANADA'S RECOMMENDATIONS FOR TACKLING TALENT SHORTAGES:
There are options for Canadian companies that are frustrated by an inability to find skilled professionals, particularly at the mid management level where there is additional pressure to fill vacancies. It is possible to hire a slightly less experienced candidate with transferable skills who can be trained and mentored to develop into the ideal employee. However, employers will have to invest more in their human capital to achieve the desired results.
Succession planning should also play a role. Knowledge transfer will become a key issue for many companies that will lose the baby boomer generation to retirement in the coming years. While 57% of companies have or are implementing a succession plan, that number is too low. Unsuccessfully transferring knowledge from one demographic to the next will only serve to exacerbate shortages in all industries.
HAYS CANADA'S SURVEY OF CANADIAN COMPANIES - HIGHLIGHTS:
41% of employers believe the economy will strengthen in the next six to 12 months, while 53% believe it will remain the same.
39% of employers expect permanent staff to increase in the upcoming year.
12% expect it to decrease.
49% expect it to remain the same.
51% of employers expect to increase salaries by three per cent over the next 12 months.
34% expect to increase salaries by three to six per cent.
4% expect to increase salaries by six to 10 per cent.
Top five benefits offered by Canadian employers:
Extended health benefits
Individual performance related bonuses
Training and/or certification support
More than 10 days vacation for new hires
Hays is an international recruitment consultancy with a strong Canadian presence with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Mississauga and Ottawa. Hays has more than 150 specialized consultants offering a broad range of corporate recruiting expertise, with particular specializations in serving the Information Technology, finance and accounting, and construction and property sectors.
The 2014 Hays Compensation, Benefits, Recruitment and Retention Guide is Hays' seventh edition of this annual report. Parties interested in requesting a free copy should visit www.hays.ca for more information.