Canadian Employers Plan Moderate Hiring in Q1 2024 Despite Lingering Post-Pandemic Challenges

The post-pandemic era continues to shape the employment landscape in Canada, with moderate hiring outlooks persisting into the first quarter of 2024. According to this survey, Canadian employers remain cautiously optimistic, but certain challenges are influencing their staffing decisions.

Post-Pandemic Hiring Trends:

While the job market is showing signs of recovery, approximately 1 in 5 Canadian employers (16%) anticipate cutbacks in the first quarter of 2023. The net employment outlook stands at +25%, indicating a moderate yet positive trend. This figure, though down by 2% from the previous quarter and -8% year-over-year, reflects a consistent level of optimism across regions and industries.

Regional Hiring Variances:

The survey identifies regional variations in hiring expectations, with the Northern Territories boasting the strongest outlook at +34%, while Ontario reports a more conservative +23%. All regions anticipate more restrained hiring compared to the previous year. The net employment outlook by region is as follows:

  • Northern Territories: 34%
  • Atlantic Canada: 30%
  • Prairie: 30%
  • Quebec: 27%
  • Western Canada: 25%
  • Ontario: 23%


Talent Shortage Challenges:

A persistent challenge for Canadian employers is the ongoing talent shortage, with 80% reporting difficulties in finding skilled professionals. This represents a 10-year high and exceeds the global average of 75%. The scarcity of qualified talent continues to impact hiring decisions across industries and regions.

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In-Demand Skills and Sectors:

The survey identifies the top five most in-demand skills as IT & data, operations & logistics, sales & marketing, engineering, and administration/office support. Notably, as companies embrace sustainable practices, employers estimate that at least 46% of all technical skills will need to evolve to align with the green transition.

In terms of sectors, finance and real estate lead with the highest projected net employment outlook at +35%, followed by energy and utilities (+33%), health care and life sciences (+29%), consumer goods and services (+29%), information technology (+29%), industrials and materials (+28%), communication services (+22%), and transport, logistics, and automotive (+21%).

Despite facing challenges such as talent shortages and regional variations, Canadian employers are poised to navigate the complexities of the post-pandemic hiring landscape. The moderate but positive hiring outlook in the first quarter of 2024 reflects resilience and adaptability as businesses strive to meet evolving workforce demands.

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