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‘Mild hiring climate’ expected for Calgary in the spring: ManpowerGroup

A truck is shown at the Federated Co-op warehouse in Calgary, Alta., on Friday, March 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS / Jeff McIntosh

A “mild hiring climate” is forecasted for Calgary in the second quarter of 2021, according to ManpowerGroup’s employment outlook survey.

The survey showed eight per cent of Calgary employers plan to hire in the upcoming quarter, 90 per cent plan to maintain staffing levels, and only two per cent anticipated having to reduce staff.

The survey captured hiring sentiment from more than 1,300 employers across the country, and showed a positive jobs outlook, with minor improvement from the previous quarter. Employers in Quebec showed the strongest hiring sentiment.

Read more: Alberta’s jobless rate drops to 10.7 per cent in January

Calgary’s employment outlook is slightly improved when compared with Q1 2021.

“We can see this as an encouraging sign for the months ahead,” Randy Upright, CEO of Manpower’s Alberta region, said in a statement.

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And compared with a pre-pandemic survey during the same time last year, the employment outlook is slightly lower.

Read more: Calgary facing competition from neighbours for industrial land tenants: report

Sector trends in Calgary employment follow that of the region. The survey showed the strongest labour forecast in the transportation and public utilities sector. The rise in e-commerce and logistics are among the reasons for more jobs expected in the transportation industry, the survey showed.

Public administration and manufacturing of durable goods had “upbeat outlooks,” the report said.

Nine out of the 10 industry sectors expected to add workers, with only the construction sector expected to reduce.

Read more: ‘Small businesses are struggling to stay alive’: Alberta’s jobless rate remains among highest in country

“Construction is technically still a booming industry,” Ahmed Borhot, ManpowerGroup regional operations leader, told Global News. “There’s still a lot of work going on, but the hiring essentially is not going to be as high as it was in the previous quarter.”

The Calgary numbers stand in contrast with the national figures, with 15 per cent of employers nationwide planning to increase their workforce and 77 per cent standing pat.

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Borhot said that while employers can use the report as a way to refine their talent-retention strategies, a strategic approach can also be used by job seekers.

“There is work still out there,” Borhot said.

“What to take away from a report like this is to find out what the demand skill sets are, what the industries are, and continue to upskill and reskill.”

In February, Statistics Canada reported Calgary’s unemployment rate at 10.6 per cent, up from 10.5 per cent the month before. March’s jobs report is expected on Friday.

Mixed sentiment on vaccination policies

The survey also asked companies about how the coronavirus pandemic and vaccine rollout affected their operations.

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Once a vaccine is widely available, 41 per cent of employers said they had no plans to introduce a policy on employee vaccination and would leave it up to their employees’ discretion. More than a quarter — 27 per cent — said they would urge their employees to get vaccinated and only eight per cent of employers surveyed planned to require the vaccination for their workforce.

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ManpowerGroup also asked how the pandemic impacted employers’ hiring and firing decisions.

During the pandemic, 22 per cent of Canadian employers reduced and 10 per cent increased their full-time workforce. Changes in the companies’ part-time employment had similar changes.

In the next six to 12 months, half of the Canadian companies in the survey said the majority of their employees will be in the workplace, and a third expected a mix of employees working from home and office-based work.

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The ManpowerGroup’s survey has a margin of error of the survey is 2.7 per cent.

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