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<2010 hiring trends >

2010 hiring trends

By Yosie Saint-Cyr, LL.B., Managing Editor, HRinfodesk.com---Canadian Payroll and Employment Law News, February 2010

Several governments and economic policy experts are indicating that Canada is coming out of the recession and that the economy is performing much better. Due to measures taken during the economic downturn, such as hiring freezes, the latest HRinfodesk Poll wanted to know, What are your organization's recruiting plans for 2010? According to our poll results, organizations are more intent on retaining their current staff than hiring new staff.

Out of 224 respondents, the majority of organizations intend to maintain current staff levels (47.32%/106 respondents). Only 27.23% (61) of respondents intend to increase staff levels, while 12.50% (28) respondents intend to reduce staff. For more details on the poll results, refer to the table below.

According to the latest quarterly Business Outlook Survey conducted by the Bank of Canada, employers are feeling a little more optimistic about their recruiting plans for 2010. Fifty-four percent of 100 firms surveyed in the fourth quarter of 2009 said they expect to increase the number of employees over the next 12 months, while 14 percent said they expect to decrease staff. That's a notable improvement from the third quarter, when the same survey found 42 percent expected to add employees and 15 percent expected to cut. It's also the most positive outlook employers have had since the first quarter of 2007, according to the Bank of Canada's figures.

Although hiring trends are improving, employers remain cautious about recruiting, and at the same time want to make sure they retain the top talent they currently have to survive, compete and thrive. This said, what can employers expect in 2010 with regard to recruiting and hiring?

What are the trends?

The Wall Street Journal and Employment Office cite several recent surveys that indicate Canadian hiring trends are improving. Not only are employers planning to add jobs, but there is also a growing movement to rehire terminated and temporarily laid-off workers. There is also greater interest in providing flexible work arrangements. However, salaries are likely to be kept in check.

A significant trend, seen in a recent CareerBuilder survey and another from consultancy Towers Perrin, is a move to recruit top talent to replace low performers. The downturn has seen many companies shed top talent, which has allowed other companies to recruit these talented workers who simply weren't available before. This trend is expected to continue and increase during the economic recovery period. Companies will need to rethink their methods for attracting talent if they want to gain the confidence of an insightful workforce in recovering economic conditions.

Canadian companies plan to continue providing employees with greater flexibility in the hope of providing better work-life balance. Measures include alternative schedules, telecommuting options (e.g., working from home), compressed workweeks, job-sharing, educational leaves or sabbaticals and establishing summer hours.

Some companies have indicated that they might have made their termination decisions in the last year too quickly. One-quarter of employers said they thought they cut workers too soon and that it ultimately had a negative impact on their business. They are re-thinking those plans and may rehire these former employees in the first and second quarter of 2010.

Several companies that are rebuilding their workforces say they intend to retain the services of freelance or contract workers more and more to help move their businesses forward.

As for recruitment tools, there is an indication that employers will use a variety of recruiting tools to find and hire the right candidate for the job. The three top tools employers intend to use more are social and professional networking sites, career fairs and online recruitment sites.

Two other points that may be of interest: first, the amount of business travel is going down; second, employers plan to continue to be environmentally aware in 2010. Many are planning to add what are called "green jobs”, which are positions that implement environmentally conscious design, policy and technology to improve conservation and sustainability.

Employment Office Managing Director, Tudor Marsden-Huggins, says a decrease in unemployment combined with an increase in job ads in November are an indication the market is changing and employers will soon find themselves fighting for top talent again. “As competition thickens, employers will seek out companies with a strong employee brand, who have a good reputation for treating staff well during the downturn. On the flip-side, there will be an exodus of talent, from organizations that are slow to improve working conditions,” he said.


Wall Street Journal, “GETTING PERSONAL CANADA: Hiring Trends Improving In 2010”


Employment Office, “Seven Hiring Trends for 2010”