Job market cautious at start of 2013

Human resources professionals expect hirings to be relatively modest and hours worked to stagnate in early 2013. These are the main findings of the latest edition of the Flash-Emploi CRHA newsletter released by the Ordre des conseillers en ressources humaines agréés. This quarterly survey, conducted in collaboration with AppEco Analytics, analysis, strategy and communication consultants, indicates how HR professionals expect the Quebec job market to develop in the near future.

For this first quarter of 2013, the net difference between hiring expectations amounted to +3.9%, 19 percentage points less than the previous quarter (+23.2%). The net difference in hours worked equals -0.1%, representing a drop of 12.4 percentage points compared to the last survey. Both these indicators have declined in relation not only to the end of 2012, but also to the first quarter of that same year.  

“The job market is getting off to a slow start in 2013, particularly in large corporations where a number of managers anticipate they’ll have to reduce their workforce in the coming months. Luckily, the situation is stable among SMEs as well as in the public and parapublic sectors. It’s thus to be hoped that this slowdown will soon pick up and that major employers will begin rehiring before long,” commented Florent Francoeur, CHRP, Ordre President and CEO.  

However, the good news is that the anticipated gap between pay increases and inflation is clearly positive (+32.8%) for the second quarter in a row, indicating that many employers intend to grant above-inflation pay rises in the coming year. “This is definitely welcome news for workers after several quarters where salary increases were pegged to remain below inflation,” added Francoeur.  

Recruitment is expected to be less intense than in the last quarter (+23.4% vs. +56.7% in the fourth quarter of 2012), which reflects the above-noted slowdown. Survey respondents did not seem to be experiencing the same levels of labour shortages as they had in late 2012. 

SMEs more dynamic

The outlook in small and particularly medium-sized businesses is definitely more optimistic than in larger companies in terms of hiring, hours worked, recruitment problems and anticipated pay increases. Hiring is expected to be relatively stable in the public and parapublic sectors, while only the service industries forecast a significant increase in hours worked. Impacted by the pessimism of large organizations, Montreal projects a more moderate outlook than Quebec City, contrary to the situation reported in previous newsletters. 

Click here for the complete report. (In French only.) 

For an interview with Florent Francoeur, please contact Justine Delisle. 

The indices presented in this quarterly newsletter are based on responses to a survey conducted from January 10 to 24, 2013 among a random sample of members of the Ordre des conseillers en ressources humaines agréés (CRHA). In all, 212 respondents participated in this survey, representing a margin of error of 6.7%, 19 times out of 20. In the case of organizations with a number of Ordre members, only the response of the main HR manager was retained. The responses were weighted according to the size of the organization and were not seasonally adjusted. The total percentages may not always equal 100% due to rounding of values. The analysis of this survey was carried out by AppEco Analytics, analysis, strategy and communication consultants (