The Fall 2017 Alberta and Western Canada HR Trends reports both show that the Hiring Confidence Index scores have fallen slightly but overall there is continued confidence, rather than concern, about being able to hire the people they need. That the index has shifted downward is a good news story in that it reflects that more employers expect to be hiring.
Hiring confidence is higher in Alberta than the overall average in Western Canada or in any other Western province, although this is likely due to the slower pace of growth in Alberta. Overall, hiring confidence in Alberta has changed less than 1% over the past two years but the current decrease in the index reflects the expectation that more employers anticipate growth so more are anticipating hiring before the end of the year.
One of the most interesting results in Alberta is that while it is small business that is expecting to hire the most over the next six months, it is also this group that has the greatest hiring confidence. Medium sized businesses are anticipating some growth through the fall, however they are hiring at a slightly lower pace than are small businesses and they are not as confident they’ll find the people they want. In large organizations, notably the public sector and in Oil & Gas, hiring confidence has dropped the most significantly, but so too have expectations for growth over the next while.
Organizations of all sizes have hired more in 2017 than they did in either 2016 or 2015, but more than a third of those participating in this trends survey are expecting they will have involuntary terminations (yes more potential layoffs) and it is telling that the largest organizations are only backfilling as individuals leave rather than adding to their workforce. Although hiring confidence is largely seen as an indicator of economic growth (jobs to fill and people to fill them), I am always hesitant about how to interpret the results because I want to dig deeper into the expectations behind the responses.
I think there are questions we should be asking alongside those related to hiring confidence. The first set of questions is around how much has or hasn’t changed over the past 2 or 3 years? What’s driving hiring confidence levels and how realistic are the expectations that organizations have set while they gauge how easily or how difficult it will be to attract the right people? How are organizations defining what ‘right fit’ looks like?
Are organizations prepared for the fact that many baby boomers who were laid off may not return – or that younger boomers may very well expect to return to the workplace? Are they willing to train and develop the individuals when they’re hiring – whether they are young or transitioning between industries? How much are organizations willing to pay for the talent they need?
Is hiring confidence simply a direct correlation between expected jobs and availability of people to fill positions, or are there specific concerns that we should be addressing as part of a different conversation? Should we be having a different conversation? When an organization is less confident about finding the people they need, what’s driving that?
Are organizations realistic in their levels of hiring confidence or do they need to adjust their expectations and change where/how they’re looking for talent? What are the roles they’re concerned with and where are they looking? What are the skills that they’ve found to be lacking? What are the reasons behind the current HR trends and is there anything we should be thinking about before the next shift happens (for better or worse)?
Alberta HR Trends Report – Fall 2017 – CPHR
Western Canada HR Trends Report – Fall 2017 – CPHR