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Written by: Cindy Lynn Roche, CPHR

Respondents to the HR Trends survey were asked if their organization expected to be hiring and, if so, how confident they are about finding the right candidates for the jobs. The Hiring Confidence Index (HCI) is the combined measure of organizational expectations to hire over the next six months and confidence of finding the right people to fill vacancies.

In the most recent HR Trends survey, Abingdon Research found that, “The Hiring Confidence Index (HCI) for Alberta continues to recover, with large organizations seeing the greatest gain in the index. For the second time, the expectation of hiring levels over the next 6 months decreased while the confidence in finding the right people to fill vacancies increased, resulting in the continued increase in the HCI.”

In spite of a slight increase in the number of small organizations expecting to be hiring, and far less drastic decreases than between the first and second half of 2015, the overall number of organizations that anticipate hiring over the next 6 months has shrunk further to just 26% of organizations:

Time Period

Overall

Small Orgs

Medium Orgs

Large Orgs

Oil & Gas

Jan – Jun 2015

44%

43%

55%

33%

47%

Jul – Dec 2015

29%

29%

32%

22%

24%

Jan – Jun 2016

26%

30%

29%

20%

21%

Expectation to Hire

As more than 30% of organizations used temporary layoffs in late 2015 and a smaller number of organizations expect to be hiring over the next while, there are more people looking and fewer jobs to go around – and that’s a significant shift from not so long ago.

A year ago, more than a third of HR Trends survey participants were “Worried” about being able to find the right candidates – that number is down significantly to just 12% for organizations looking at candidates over the next 6 months.

Time Period

Confident

Neutral

Worried

Jan – Jun 2015

45%

21%

35%

Jul – Dec 2015

55%

26%

19%

Jan – Jun 2016

62%

25%

12%

Confidence in finding the right people to fill vacancies

At a 56% average rating in Western Canada, organizations are increasingly confident about find the right people to fill vacancies – and even more so in Alberta and Manitoba where more than 60% are “Confident” they can find people with the required qualifications and experience the organization needs:

How confident or worried are you that new hires to replace turnover will have equivalent experience and qualifications?

 

In theory, it’s good that the HCI has not only recovered from where it sat a year ago but now exceeds the index level in 2014. In the current scenario, for the majority it seems unlikely our organizations will grow, even if nobody is laid off. I’d be interested in seeing more historical data to better understand what the HCI looks like in different economies – is there an ideal HCI level? What roles do respondents have in mind when answering the survey? Has the earlier confidence translated into good hires and is it a trend that is likely to continue? Will the HCI continue to rise if organizations continue to lose confidence that they will be hiring?

As someone with a learning and development background, I’m inclined to believe organizations can work with a lower HCI more easily than we can deal with the reasons in why it has been rising over the past year. The anecdotal stories that support the HCI data are hard to find when fewer and fewer organizations are hiring… The stories I’ve been hearing suggest the HCI is ‘better than we could hope for’: one manager received 1100 applications to a summer role, another who received 300 applications for a part-time overnight contract job, and several instances of moving backfilling roles by shuffling individuals who would otherwise be laid off (which works really well sometimes but not always).

Learn more about the 2016 HR Spring Trends Report.