This combination could mean employer efforts to hit aggressive business targets in 2015 could be seriously undermined if current staff are made to bear the burden, according to the fifth annual Hays Canada Salary Guide.
Conducted this past November, the Hays survey found that 70 per cent of Canadian companies anticipate increasing business activity in the coming months. Nevertheless, only 38 per cent of employers intend to add headcount during the same period. One-third also admit that their own lack of professional development programs contribute to a shortage of talent. The inability to find qualified help puts pressure on existing teams - 31 per cent report spikes in employee stress leaves and 34 per cent say staff morale has declined.
"Looking at the results this year, we have to ask ourselves whether employers are asking too much from their people in a quest to improve productivity and profitability," said Rowan O'Grady, president of Hays Canada. "Adding to this concern is the fact that nearly 40 per cent of employers believe that the absence of training and professional development is the reason for the skills shortage in their industry. Employers should be investing in skills development, recruitment and succession planning to keep pace with their ambitions."
Skills shortage is employer's problem to fix
Employers acknowledge that many of the factors that impact the talent issue are within their control. Thirty-five per cent feel they have a responsibility to boost numbers of qualified graduates by promoting themselves and their industries at the post-secondary level.
Equally important is succession planning. Few employers (12 per cent) say they are preparing for the future with active succession and knowledge transfer plans. With respect to salaries as a talent enticement, half say they're unsure if what they offer applicants is on par with the market average.
Positive signs on the horizon
Despite unpredictable markets worldwide, responses from Canada's employers show that just under one-third of employers (32 per cent) plan to increase salaries by up to six per cent in 2015 and half (49 per cent) believe that the country's economy will continue to strengthen in the next six to 12 months. This level of optimism is at its highest point in five years and signifies a 15 point jump from its lowest levels in 2011.
"It appears Canadian employers are poised to capitalize on their positive outlook although I sincerely hope a focus on short-term gain doesn't distract them from resolving the looming challenges ahead," said O'Grady.
Other highlights from the survey include:
- More than 50 per cent of employers believe their company's reputation and low profile are barriers to recruitment
- Seventy per cent of employers say recruiting for senior roles is the most difficult and can take anywhere from two to six months to fill
- Eighty-two per cent of employers say they made the wrong hire, likely due to desperation and a lack of time
- Work from home options, flexible hours and extended benefits are the top-three incentives employers want to add in an effort to attract talent