Alberta is not the employment paradise it was two years ago.
The province’s employers are becoming more particular about hiring new staff and are expected to begin cutting personnel over the next six months, according to a Human Resources Institute of Alberta report.
“It’s evident that while it’s not all doom and gloom, the hiring binge is over,” CPHR Alberta chief executive officer Chris McNelly said.
The hiring confidence index released Monday, a measure of how Alberta employers feel about hiring, is down across the province in sectors of all sizes.
The overall index dropped to 52.3 from 58.1 a year ago, while the index for the oil and gas sector, struggling with low commodity prices, fell to 55.7 from 61.8 during the same period.
Confidence is lowest within small organizations, where the hiring index sits at 51.1, down from 60.1 at the beginning of 2014.
The number of organizations expecting to beef up their work force by more than 5 per cent in the short term is also down sharply. Only 19 per cent of organizations are looking to hire, down from 26 per cent six months ago.
And as organizations take longer to fill vacant positions, existing workers are staying put. Forty-three per cent of employees who left their jobs in 2013 departed for better opportunities, but during the last six months only 31 per cent quit to pursue a new position.
While hiring is down, the CPHR Alberta says a slowing economy is not entirely to blame. Instead, part of the decrease results from a employee skills shortage.
Small organizations in particular often feel they will be unable to replace a departing worker with a new hire of a similar calibre.
“Despite decreased hiring confidence across all organizations, Alberta employers are still looking to hire the right person for the right position,” Mr. McNelly said.