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Majority of Canadian construction companies optimistic about economic outlook for 2012


A recent survey conducted by Hays Canada, a national recruitment consultancy, indicates that most Canadian companies are optimistic about the economy in 2012. According to data collected from 1,300 organizations in November and December 2011, 81 per cent believe the economy will continue to strengthen/remain static, with 39 per cent of companies planning on increasing staff levels this year. Filling these new roles may be challenging with 77 per cent of companies citing “availability of suitable/skilled candidates” as the biggest challenge in attracting top talent. The data is being released as part of Hays Canada’s 2012 Compensation, Benefits, Recruitment and Retention Guide.

The survey also reveals that corporate Canada weathered 2011 far better than it had originally predicted. Results of the same survey conducted in 2010 indicated 40 per cent of companies expected business activity to decline in 2011 – but the new data reveals that only 13 per cent of businesses actually experienced this decline. In fact, 57 per cent of companies saw their business activity increase in 2011.  This return of confidence may explain why 45 per cent of employers plan on increasing salaries by more than three per cent in 2012.

“Many sectors in the Canadian economy are beginning to return to, or even surpass, pre-recession levels of business activity,” said Rowan O’Grady, president, Hays Canada. “There are particular bright spots in Construction, Information Technology, and Resources and Mining. The challenge for employers will be to attract and retain the best possible talent as the market heats up. There continues to be a perceived lack of skilled candidates for new roles, and clear career progression plans which help retain employees. Effective talent management will help companies capitalize on business growth”.

Hays Canada survey highlights:

  • 39 per cent of companies plan on increasing staff levels this year
  • 82 per cent of positions being recruited for will be full-time roles
  • Expected salary increases at Canadian companies:
  • o 55 per cent will increase salaries between one and three per cent
  • o 40 per cent will increase salaries between three and six per cent
  • o Four per cent of companies will increase salaries between six and 10 per cent
  • o One per cent of companies will increase salaries by more than 10 per cent
  • 65 per cent list “career progression” as the primary challenge for talent retention – by comparison, 53 per cent listed “salary” as the primary challenge

Generally speaking, the construction industry is optimistic about 2012. Survey highlights include:

  • In the GTA, the high rise residential boom combined with a strong commercial real estate market will see close to 60 per cent of construction companies adding to their headcount – 80 per cent will be for full-time roles.
  • 88 per cent of construction companies report a lack of skilled/qualified candidates as the biggest challenge for 2012.
  • Overall salaries could reach pre-recession levels by Q2.
  • 42 per cent of surveyed organizations in the construction sector say permanent staff levels have increased compared to the national average (33 per cent).
  • 54 per cent of surveyed organizations in the construction sector believe that staff levels will increase in 2012 compared to the national average (39 per cent).
  • In 2012, 45 per cent of salary increases in the construction industry will be between 3 – 6 per cent.



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