More Canadian employers are looking to add rather than let staff go in the first quarter of 2024, although the number who expect to hire has fallen steadily from highs recorded in the second and third quarters of 2022, the latest version of the Manpower Group Employment Outlook Survey, found.

Manpower Group interviewed 1,000 employers in Canada regarding their staffing plans for the first quarter of 2024 and found that 41% intended to hire, while 16% planned to cut the number of employees. That adds up to a net employment outlook of +25%, which means there are more employers expecting to expand their headcount than reduce it.

“Canadian employers expect steady, yet moderating, hiring in Q1 2024,” said Manpower in a press release accompanying the survey, while noting that the hiring outlook is down 2% from the fourth quarter of 2023 and down 8% from the same time in 2022. “All regions are expecting muted hiring compared to last year at this time,” Manpower said.

The global human resources company based this iteration of its decades-old survey on interviews with human resources leaders, managers and chief executives at 40,077 public and private employers of varying sizes in 41 countries and regions.

Canada appears to have placed close to the middle of the pack. Its net employment outlook lands just below the global average +26%. The United States posted an employment outlook of +35%.

Canadian employers’ moderating hiring intentions mirror the jobs market in Canada, which is in flux. Canada’s unemployment rate rose to 5.8% in November from 5.7% in October after falling to a post-pandemic low of 4.9% in June 2022. The number of people looking for work outpaced jobs created due to a massive influx of immigrants.

Meanwhile, job vacancies fell from over one million in the second quarter of 2022 to just over 800,000 in the second quarter of 2023, according to Statistics Canada, although vacancies remain well above pre-pandemic levels of about half a million.

While tightness in the labour market appears to be easing, Manpower found that “persistent talent shortages continue to impede hiring efforts” with 80% of employers reporting that they expect to have trouble finding skilled workers to fill openings. This measure has been steadily rising over the decade from 31% in 2014 and is higher than the global average of 75%.

Among the top skills in short supply were IT and data, operations and logistics, sales and marketing, engineering, administration and support.

Looking at some of the eight sectors the survey examined, 77% of employers in goods and services said they had “some” to “a lot of” trouble finding staff with Manpower forecasting a net employment outlook of +29%, up 2% from last quarter and 2% from 2022.

Source: Financial Post