Canadians More Optimistic About Jobs

September 2nd, 2012
in econ_news, syndication

maple-leafEconintersect:  The BMO Financial Group, Division of the Bank of Montreal (NYSE:BMO), has reported a remarkable upturn for sentiment in the 2012 BMO Labour Day Survey.  The number of employees fearing their company would have layoffs this year (22%) was only slightly changed from a year ago (18%).  But the number of employees whofelt their company would be horong thos years (42%) was significantly higher than in 2011 (28%).  Nearly 2/3 of all Canadians are comfortable with their job security, up from 51% a year ago.

Follow up:

Job security was highest in the plains and mountain west provinces (71% to 81%) and the lowest in Quebec (58%) and British Columbia (60%).  Resource rich Alberta had the lowest level of concern about job security (14%).

Confidence about employment is much different in the U.S.  A recent employment sentiment survey by Gallup compared the U.S. and Canada on the question:  "Is this a good time to find a job?"  The results showed a remarkable difference between the U.S. responses and Canada:  U.S. Yes (26%) and Canada Yes (52%).

The U.S. positive responses were closer to European recessionary economies (Italy - 10%, UL - 15% and France - 17%) than they were to Canada.

One result reflective of the problems in China was a 30% Yes response in that country.  But for real distress go to countries like Egypt (3%), Greece (4%), and Spain (7%).

Among the most positive countries (all between 60% and 70% Yes):  Saudi Aarabia, Singapore, Philippines and Kuwait.

Highlight summary:

  • 64 per cent of Canadians comfortable with their job security - up 13 percentage points from last year
  • 41 per cent believe their company is growing and will be hiring - up 13 percentage points from 2011
  • 39 per cent expect a promotion or raise this year - up 11 percentage points

Here is the fill press release from the BMO Financial Group via Marketwire:

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 2, 2012) - Despite lingering economic uncertainty, Canadians are more optimistic about their company's hiring plans and growth prospects than they were this time last year, according to the annual BMO Labour Day Survey.

The BMO report found that 41 per cent of Canadians believe their company is growing and expect it will be hiring this year. Almost two-thirds are comfortable with their job security (up 13 percentage points from 2011), and four-in-ten expect to receive a raise or promotion this year (up 11 percentage points from 2011). Only 22 per cent expect their company will be laying off employees.

"Over the past year we have seen an increasing number of companies show a willingness to look at how they can grow their business through making strategic investments in upgrading technology and processes, opening up new markets, and investing in their people," said Cathy Pin, Vice-President, BMO Commercial Banking.

Employee Expectations for Hiring/Layoffs

Compared to 2011, the number of Canadians who feel their company is growing and will be hiring has increased by 13 percentage points. Albertans are the most optimistic; 60 per cent expect their employer to hire more employees this year. By contrast, Atlantic Canadians are the most likely to feel their company will lay off employees (28 per cent).

2012 2011 ATL QC ON MB/SK AB BC
Believe my company will be growing and hiring more employees 41 % 28 % 34 % 32 % 39 % 48 % 60 % 49 %
Believe my company will lay off employees this year 22 % 18 % 28 % 23 % 22 % 24 % 9 % 22 %

According to BMO Economics, Canadian workers have it relatively good compared to their American and European counterparts, as the Canadian unemployment rate is one percentage point lower than in the U.S. and four percentage points lower than in the Eurozone. "Canadian job security is fairly good, with our 7.3 per cent unemployment rate below historic norms," said Sal Guatieri, Senior Economist, BMO Economics. "Canadians should expect wages to rise modestly faster than inflation, supporting household purchasing power, with the strongest gains in Alberta and Saskatchewan," added Mr. Guatieri.

Employee Comfort with Job Security

According to the survey, conducted by Pollara, 64 per cent of Canadians are comfortable with their overall job security - up 13 percentage points from 2011. In a separate question, one-in-four expressed concern over their job security (24 per cent). Canadians on the Prairies (Saskatchewan and Manitoba) are most comfortable (81 per cent), while workers in Quebec are the most concerned (29 per cent).

2012 2011 ATL QC ON MB/SK AB BC
Comfortable with overall job security 64 % 51 % 66 % 58 % 63 % 81 % 71 % 60 %
Currently concerned about overall job security 24 % 23 % 20 % 29 % 23 % 21 % 14 % 25 %

Expectations of a Raise and/or Promotion

The survey also found that four-in-ten (39 per cent) Canadians expect to receive a raise or promotion in the next year, an increase of 11 percentage points from this time last year. By contrast, one-in-five (22 per cent) feel they are working in a 'dead-end' job and indicate that the company they work for is in no position to provide a promotion, raise, or year-end bonus. This number is virtually unchanged from 2011.

Workers in Alberta (55 per cent) and the Prairies (54 per cent) are most likely to expect a raise or promotion in the coming year.

2012 2011 ATL QC ON MB/SK AB BC
Expect a Promotion and/or Raise 39 % 28 % 37 % 35 % 37 % 54 % 55 % 36 %
Feel working in 'dead-end' job, company I work for is in no position to offer raise, promotion, or year-end bonus 22 % 21 % 22 % 19 % 24 % 24 % 16 % 28 %

Survey was completed online from July 31 to August 3, 2012, by Pollara Strategic Insights, with a sample of 1,000 Canadians. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/-3.1 per cent 19 times out of 20.

About BMO Financial Group

Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a highly diversified North American financial services organization. With total assets of $542 billion as at July 31, 2012, and more than 46,000 employees, BMO Financial Group provides a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and solutions.

John Lounsbury



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