The current job market in Canada reflects a historically low level of unemployment. Over the past four months, we have consistently seen a 5% unemployment rate, approaching record lows. This indicates that the pool of available and actively job-seeking individuals is significantly reduced, as most qualified candidates are already employed. Consequently, organizations face difficulties in finding suitable candidates due to the limited talent pool.
Job postings experienced a remarkable surge these last couple years, and are still 44% higher than pre-pandemic levels. While enterprise companies have observed a decline in job openings, small-to-medium-sized businesses have maintained a steady number of positions. This trend suggests that the majority of businesses in Canada’s economy continue to create job opportunities. However, the competition for available candidates has intensified due to the increased demand.
One prominent shift in the hiring market is the growing demand for interim resources, particularly within the finance and accounting sectors. Clarity Recruitment has witnessed a substantial increase of over 30% in interim finance roles compared to the previous year. This surge in demand for interim senior-level talent across various domains is unprecedented, potentially due to the challenges organizations face in filling these positions on a permanent basis. Employers are seeking interim professionals to provide temporary support in structuring finance roles and subsequently facilitate a smooth transition to permanent hires.
With a reduced pool of active job-seeking individuals, high employment rates and a higher number of job openings, candidates in the market have become more selective and have increased their compensation expectations. In this supply and demand dynamic, the limited supply of available talent can drive up the value of individuals with in-demand skills and expertise.
“In any supply and demand model, that can bid up the price of that service, that good, or in this case, that individual.”
Now let’s talk about in-office versus remote versus hybrid work. We’re hearing that employees are refusing to work in-office, and many have organized their lives to be remote under the premise that this would be permanent. If you’re looking at workers under 35 in particular, they do not en mass want to return to the office full-time.
Only 25% of Canadians prefer the traditional five day work week. Over 50% of workers polled say they would consider quitting if mandated back into the office. And a huge segment said they would quit immediately and begin searching for a new job. Another segment revealed that they would come back into work but immediately start a job search. If this occurs, then that remaining individual that you have isn’t likely to be fully engaged in what they’re supposed to be doing, and is also actively looking to leave the organization.
There are always going to be challenges that arise in the hiring process, but a common theme we’re seeing is candidates dropping out late in the process. Whether it’s through Clarity or a client is hiring directly, there have been many instances of candidates coming through without signalling that they’re unhappy with the process or the opportunity. But at the very last minute, even during a final interview round with the CEO, they are no longer interested and pull out of the process.
In the event that they are going through with the offer, we’ve also seen a record number of counteroffers. There have been instances where we’ve approached a candidate in a senior manager role and have gotten them a director position with an offer that’s 25-30% more than they made before. But when they resign, they’re countered with a senior director or VP title and a 40% increase from their current employer. Companies really don’t want to be recruiting, and they will escalate aggressively to keep the people that they want.
Clients often struggle with identifying their true needs, both in the present and when looking ahead to the next 3, 6, 9, or 12 months. As companies aim to define their ideal fit, they become more cautious about their hiring decisions, particularly due to lean team structures.
The process of determining needs begins with asking essential questions:
It’s getting harder to hire and there’s more pressure to get it right. There’s high turnover, there’s a slow hiring process that’s making it difficult to get the right person, and there’s a massive amount of counter offers happening. So how do you deal with the pressure?
There is a prevailing misconception that hiring is a straightforward task — You’ve done it before, so you know what you’re doing. But the reality is that nobody is explicitly taught how to hire, and few of us really have the opportunity to practice it all that frequently.
As a result, we often find ourselves uncertain about the hiring process unless we consciously establish a solid framework. The key lies in developing a well-defined process.
So define what you need. Define what types of individuals thrive and contribute to your organization’s culture. Establish a series of steps that enable you to gather pertinent information about candidates and provide them with a genuine understanding of how your organization aligns with their aspirations. Ideally, structure the process around a couple of interviews, progressively building upon the knowledge base you acquire for each candidate.
And let’s be clear, this is a two-way street. Candidates should also gain a deeper understanding of your organization. Transparency and trust are fundamental in any working relationship, emphasizing the importance of fostering open communication and establishing mutual confidence.
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