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Canadian Employment & HR Trends for 2013

A team going over employment trends

According to StatsCan, Canada ended 2012 with a whopping 40,000 new full-time jobs, lowering the unemployment rate to 7.1% – a four-year low. These numbers are welcome news after July’s disappointing loss of over 30,000 jobs – but who exactly benefitted from the growth, what sectors are expected to thrive, and what HR trends can employers expect to see as 2013 continues?

2012 employment gains and losses

The sectors that saw the most gains in 2012 were utilities, manufacturing, agriculture, education, finance, insurance, and real estate, while the demographic that fared best in the job market was workers over the age of 55, both men and women. In fact, women aged 55+ saw a remarkable 6.2% rise in employment while men in the same age group also saw an impressive increase of 4.5%. Men aged 25 to 54 also experienced a healthy recovery towards the end of 2012, with an increase in employment of 1.6% for December.

However, a number that did not improve was that of youth unemployment. Those aged 15 to 24 retained their 14% unemployment rate throughout most of 2012 until it disappointingly inched even higher to 14.1% in December. Those workers that saw their employment numbers decrease the most in 2012 included the self-employed, public administrators, and high-paid professionals, such as scientific and technical workers.

There is also some concern that some of the largest gains made last year will not hold up going forward, particularly regarding real estate and construction. The sharp growth in both sectors was contingent on a hot housing market that has seen a significant cool-down in the last several months, particularly in key regions like Vancouver and Toronto.

2013 employment opportunities

So where will Canadian jobs be in 2013? Still on the horizon is growth in healthcare, essentially because of the considerable aging Baby Boomer population. Skilled trades – which includes jobs such as heavy equipment operators, industrial mechanics and electricians, steel and iron workers, and welders – is expected to be an area of great opportunity for much the same reason healthcare will be: many aging skilled tradespeople will need to retire, and not enough young people have been entering apprenticeship programs to fill in the gaps. IT will also remain in high demand, as will jobs in mining and oil and gas.

2013 HR trends

Just as growth in certain sectors will continue into the new year, so too will various trends in employee management and recruiting. HR’s use of cloud computing (essentially, online networking services) is expected to increase because of the security and convenience they offer both employers and job seekers, who can now conduct interviews via websites like Skype or undertake training using other internet-based tools. Likewise, the importance of social media will continue its rise in the world of HR, with more and more employers relying on social media sites, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, to attract new talent, provide customer feedback, and monitor company performance. Other expected trends in HR for 2013 include: increased use of temporary workers, HR outsourcing, and increased challenges in retaining employees due to intense hiring competition.

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