Written by: Dan Boucher, Director, Regulatory Affairs & Research, Registrar CPHR Alberta
Western Canada Confident in the Quality of the Labour Market
Every six months, HR Professionals across Western Canada take time out of their busy day to participate in the HR Trends Survey. The insights gleaned from survey responses contribute to building a knowledge base of regional HR benchmarks, metrics and trends. Member participation is crucial for the collection of this data, and historically, members have stepped up, resulting in a response rate above 15%, which is very solid for membership based surveys. Because the participation rate was less than 10% for this survey, markers for specific industries could not be calculated.
HR Professionals are able to provide unique insight into the labour market because they possess information on future plans for hiring for their organizations and they can provide a barometer on the future availability in the short term of the skills being sought. With access to this data, CPHR associations are uniquely positioned to provide a forecast on the change in the size of each province's workforce.
The Alberta Hiring Confidence Index (HCI) is a composite index that incorporates hiring projections and the confidence of HR Professionals in the quality of the talent pool to provide a general impression of the health of the labour market.
January to June 2019, the Alberta HCI rose slightly from 62.4 to 64.7. The increase to the index was driven primarily by growth in confidence of HR Professionals that new hires will have equivalent experience and qualifications. Now 63% of respondents in Alberta are confident, with 25% being very confident compared to 54% six months ago. Manitoba showed less confidence in the quality of the talent pool, where only 49% of respondents are confident.
Workforce growth is expected to slow during the first half of 2019. One third of respondents in Alberta indicated that their organization expects to increase their labour force in the six month period of January to June 2019, which is a decline of five percent points compared to the previous six month period. In addition, the percentage of respondents indicating that their organization will cut their workforce by more than 5% has grown by three percentage points, from 7% of respondents to 10%. The province with most number of organizations expecting workforce growth over 5% is British Columbia.
These forward looking numbers mirror the anticipated slowdown in the Canadian and Alberta economies, with real GDP growth in 2019 forecasted for Canada to be 1.7% (Bank of Canada) and 2.0% (Government of Alberta), with slower growth in the first quarter of the year followed by stronger growth in subsequent quarters.