HR Market Update – Fall 2023

The Bank of Canada’s rate hikes since March 2022 are beginning to be felt in the Canadian economy, as growth appears to be slowing and job vacancies are falling. The central bank’s key interest rate remains at 5% – the highest it’s been since 2001. A sigh of relief was heard this week when the Bank did not raise rates again.

Statistics Canada recently released its September labour force survey, which shows the unemployment rate continued to hold steady at 5.5% for the third month in a row. And, while at times we feel a bit like the one who cried “wolf”, all indicators point to a recession. What we do know is that, unlike previous recessions, the micro and macro economic forces at play are different this go around.

As we continue to monitor the trends and keep a close eye on the macroeconomic backdrop, these are the trends we are seeing in the HR and talent space:

Retention & Attraction

Thank-you to the over 300 people who joined us at our DisruptHR event in late September! And a special shout out to the over 75 people who completed our request to share with us their top organizational challenges.

The overwhelming consensus was that Retaining Talent and Attracting Talent were the two most important issues facing organizations today.

Further, when asked to rate effectiveness in dealing with talent issues, the lowest ratings (7/10) were:

  • Engaging Employees
  • Building Leaders

Our Take? 

Finding any candidates, let alone the right one(s), remains challenging while keeping them is proving equally difficult

Skills-Based Hiring: Back in Fashion?

Hiring managers have focused on soft skills these past few years when it comes to talent acquisition. While emotional intelligence, a growth mindset and resilience are still important, we have witnessed a change in the marketplace.

Organizations need to pay more attention to hard skills and technical competency. Understanding this, our Recruitment Solutions team have made competency a priority in vetting quality candidates. And never wanting to leave anything to chance, we have redoubled our efforts in training managers how to interview well.

As pointed out in Harvard Business Review in March of 2019, asking candidates the wrong questions can actually send them to the exit door!

We continue to invest in our recruitment practice and recently, Teresa Szabo joined our team to head up the practice – feel free to reach out to learn more about how she is applying her years of international recruitment experience to our client’s recruiting challenges.

AI-Enhanced Candidates

With the rise of AI and applications like ChatGPT, it is hard to know what is real anymore. Candidates are submitting resumes that have been recreated through AI, a tool that is also generating questions that the candidates are most likely to be asked in an interview.

The end result? Highly scripted, rehearsed and polished candidates that you do not really get to know.

Once again, this reinforces our bias towards the use of evidence-based scientific assessment tools and protocols that really uncover what candidates are really like.

So, what can assessments do for you?

  • Create better hires.
  • Speed up onboarding.
  • Allow for coaching on strengths and weaknesses from day one.

Learn more about Ahria’s robust assessments which are hitting the mark better than ever before.

Buyer, Beware

Speaking of recruitment, we have noticed a disturbing trend in the marketplace – the rise of the ambulance chasers. Some “recruiters” are reaching out to organizations with job postings to claim they have the “perfect” candidate for the role.

Buyer beware – any reputable recruiting organization will dig far deeper into understanding your needs than simply perusing a public job posting.

And we believe if a candidate “loves your organization and really wants to work for you”, why are they talking to a recruiter and not you directly?

Isn’t that what your job ad asks them to do?

Check out a recent Terry Talk on this subject.

Tis the Season (For Compensation)

We’re at the time of year when organizations review and make decisions about employee compensation – a critical aspect of recruitment, retention and employee engagement. With so much churn in the labour market and supply and demand forces inflating wages, it is hard to know what “market competitive” even means anymore.

Reach out to Michael Little, our resident compensation expert, to help you traverse this key strategic time.

Is your organization ready to enhance its recruitment and retention efforts?
Are you looking to mitigate the risks associated with today’s hiring?
Still looking for up-to-date insights to help with compensation planning season?

We’re here to help.

I invite you to book a quick 15-minute chat and let’s have a sounding-board conversation.

Terry Gillis
President & CEO
Ahria Consulting


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