MRO Magazine

Employers split on hiring needs to start the new year

Toronto, ON -- A subdued hiring market will face job seekers in the first quarter of 2004 as Canadian employers are...


December 23, 2003
By MRO Magazine

Toronto, ON — A subdued hiring market will face job seekers in the first quarter of 2004 as Canadian employers are divided on staffing plans, according to the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey.

Of more than 1,700 Canadian employers polled for the survey, 15% expect to add staff while 14% plan to reduce the number of employees for the January to March period, resulting in a Net Employment Outlook of 1% for the quarter ahead. Meanwhile, 67% anticipate no changes and 4% are unsure of their hiring intentions.

"The figures indicate that there’s a split in hiring intentions," said Lori Procher, vice-president and general manager for Manpower Canada. "The first quarter is typically a reserved hiring period and this year is no different with a Net Employment Outlook of 1%, up 2% from the same time last year."

Three months ago, the projected Net Employment Outlook was 8%, indicating a cautiously optimistic end to the year.


"Hiring projections across all four Canadian regions are similar to the national outlook," said Procher. "Western Canada leads with a Net Employment Outlook of 5%, ahead of Quebec and Ontario at 2% and 0% respectively. Atlantic Canada has the lowest Net Employment Outlook at -4%."

Employers in the Education as well as Finance, Insurance and Real Estate sectors are most optimistic with their hiring plans for the first quarter, particularly the Education sector, which continues a five-year run of encouraging outlooks. A weaker picture is reported in the Manufacturing – Durable Goods; Manufacturing – Non-durable Goods; Services; and Transportation and Public Utilities sectors. The Construction and Wholesale and Retail Trades sectors project the lowest outlooks. The results for industrial sectors are as follows:

<B>Manufacturing Durable Goods:</B> Manufacturing Durable Goods employers are expecting the strongest first quarter in the past three years with a Net Employment Outlook of 1%, up significantly from the first quarters of 2002 and 2003. This could be a sign that the sector is headed for a turnaround in the upcoming months.

<B>Manufacturing Non-durable Goods:</B> Manufacturing Non-durable Goods hiring activity remains flat with two consecutive weak quarters. A total of 16% of employers are expecting to hire while 14% are planning to cut back, for a Net Employment Outlook of 2%. This is a minor setback compared to last year, which started with a 4% Net Employment Outlook, with the sector gaining momentum in the second quarter of 2003.

<B>Mining:</B> The Mining sector is predicting a modest first quarter with 17% of employers expecting to make additions to staff while 11% anticipate reductions, for a Net Employment Outlook of 6%.

The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey is conducted quarterly to measure employers’ intentions to increase or decrease the number of employees in their workforce during the next quarter. It is the only forward-looking survey of its kind, unparalleled in size, scope, longevity and area of focus.

Manpower Inc. provides workforce management services and solutions to customers through 4,000 offices in 63 countries. Manpower Canada has over 50 offices across Canada. For details, visit or