Ebbs and Flows

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What goes up, must come down.

Canadian employment and/or unemployment rates follow the natural patterns of changes to local and national economies. From a recruitment perspective, paying attention to these external barometers takes time and effort. The challenge is to decipher which way the economy is moving, and then to make corresponding Human Resources decisions.

To use some recent examples, in the spring of 2017, Human Resources headlines highlighted a hiring boom due to significant job increases in the Canadian services and manufacturing sectors.

Click here to read the article.

By mid-summer of 2017, headlines were announcing a hiring slowdown and linking it with historically low unemployment rates across the country.

Click here to read an economic perspective on the drop in jobless rates.

From a Human Resources perspective, all of these scenarios provide us with data-based information in order to make strategic plans and decisions that go beyond the need for recruitment. If the industry or sector that we serve is going through a high employment phase, it means that jobs are being created. Employees are being hired and all of that links back to contributing positively to the economic climate. This also means a highly competitive and busy time for the Human Resources recruitment function.

When there is a low employment phase, meaning that there are no new jobs available, this is not always projected as a positive thing because there is no new economic growth. However, we must remember that the push for new jobs created a few months ago resulted in a flooding of the market. Those vacancies were filled, providing stability in employment for individuals and organizations across the country.

While this may mean a slowdown of work for the recruitment side of human resources, it means that the human resources focus shifts to retention and support strategies for those newly hired employees. No matter what happens in the cycle of fluctuating economic and employment patters, the Human Resources function must adapt and flow with the provision of support where and when it is needed most.

We just need to wait and watch for the tides to turn.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Why should Human Resources practitioners concern themselves with employment rates in Canada?
  2. How would you establish a Human Resources department to handle fluctuating recruitment needs?
  3. What industries do you think are impacted the most by changes to the Canadian economy?