Analyzing The Canadian Employment Outlook 2018 – Quarter 1

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One of the most largest and most reliable employment surveys in the world, the ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey is conducted quarterly to measure employer’s intentions regarding the expansion or reduction of their workforce capacity during the next quarter of the upcoming year. ManpowerGroup’s comprehensive forecast of hiring plans is being conducted for more than 50 years, and the survey’s forward-looking and independent nature makes it one of a kind and highly comprehensive.

The ManpowerGroup Canadian Employment Outlook Survey for Quarter 1, 2018 was conducted by interviewing a representative sample of 1,927 employers in Canada. Information has been procured from answers to a single question – ‘How do you anticipate total employment at your location to change in the three months to the end of March 2018 as compared to the current quarter?.’ The answers were then studied and results computed using a validated methodology in accordance with the highest standards in market research.

You will come across the term ‘Net Employment Outlook’ throughout the report. We take the percentage of employers anticipating an increase in hiring activity and then subtract from this the percentage of employers expecting to see a decrease in hiring activity at their location in the next quarter. This gives us the figure for the Net Employment Outlook. The Net Employment Outlook for countries and territories that have accumulated at least 17 quarters of data are reported in a seasonally adjusted format unless otherwise stated.

Summarized below is a brief account of the Canadian Employment Outlook for the first quarter of 2018, collated by one of the finest executive recruiters:

Canadian Employment Outlook – A Study Based on Organizational Size

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The Canadian Employment Outlook 2018 surveyed participants from four organizational sizes. This includes micro-sized businesses that have less than 10 employees, small businesses that have 10-49 employees, medium-sized businesses that have 50-249 employees and large businesses that have 250 or more employees.

Micro-Sized Businesses

The staffing levels are expected to increase in micro-sized businesses and the overall hiring prospects show a positive outlook of +4%. Although the hiring plans remain unaltered when compared to the previous quarter, comparison with the same time one year ago shows an increase of 2 percentage points in the hiring activity.

Small-Sized Businesses

For small-sized businesses, the Net Employment Outlook stands at +9% and the hiring prospects look optimistic for the next quarter. An increase of 2 percentage points is reported when compared to Q4 of 2017, while year-on-year plans remain unaltered.

Medium-Sized Businesses

Medium-sized business employers report a favorable employment outlook of + 15% for the next quarter. The hiring plans also show improvement when compared to the previous quarter (2 percentage points) and the Q1 of 2017 (4 percentage points).

Large-Sized Businesses

Large businesses report the strongest hiring prospects with a robust Net Employment Outlook of + 34%. This states a considerable improvement of 11 percentage points in hiring activities as compared to the previous quarter and 5 percentage points in comparison to the same period last year.


Staffing levels are expected to grow in all the four organization size. While hiring plans remain unchanged for the Micro-sized business as compared to the quarter gone by, Large, Medium, and Small-sized businesses report improved hiring intentions.

Employment Outlook Review 2018

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Employment Outlook Review 2017

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Canadian Employment Outlook – A Region Wise Analysis

Atlantic Canada

Employers anticipate a dull-paced hiring activity in Atlantic Canada for the Q1 of 2018. Of the seven areas, four report an increase in the staffing levels. Strong hiring prospects are reported in Moncton and Halifax with a Net Employment Outlook standing at +19% and +15% respectively. Payrolls are expected to decline in the two areas of St. Johns and Charlottetown. Thus, the employment outlook in both the area is weak with -10% in St. Johns and -7% in Charlottetown.

When compared to the Q4 of 2017, hiring intentions are expected to improve in three areas, with a notable improvement of 17 percentage points in Moncton. However, recruiting intentions weaken in four areas including St. John, Charlottetown, and Cape Breton where there is a decline of 14, 13, and 11 percentage points, respectively.

Year-over-year recruitment prospects strengthen in four areas, including Moncton and Fredericton. Employers report an increase of 13 percentage points in Moncton and 9 percentage points in Fredericton. Meanwhile, hiring plans decline in three areas, with a 20 percentage point decrease reported in Charlottetown and 14 percentage point decrease in St. Johns.


Job seekers may not experience a thriving employment period during the first quarter of 2018, except in Moncton where the employment prospects seem stable. Employers in the region forecast a Net Employment Outlook of +4%. Overall, the employment prospects decline by 2 percentage points compared to the last quarter and by 3 percentage points as compared to this time one year ago.


Employers in 23 of the 24 areas forecast a payroll increase in quarter one of 2018. Welland/Port Colborne shows the strongest hiring prospects with a healthy outlook of +32%. Brampton employers also anticipate a robust hiring pace with an outlook of +25%. Employers in Kitchener/Cambridge Area and Durham Region report an outlook of +18% and +16%. However, recruitment prospects are flat in Barrie and limited in Fort Erie and St. Catharines with an outlook of +2% only in both the areas.

Hiring intentions strengthen in 15 areas when compared to the last quarter of 2017. Welland/Port Colborne reports a sharp increase of 29 percentage points, while York region and Brampton see an improvement of 20 and 16 percentage points, respectively. Hiring intentions weaken in nine areas. A notable decline is reported in Barrie by 10 percentage points and St. Catharines by 8 percentage points.

Hiring intentions improve in 10 areas when compared to this time one year ago, especially in York Region, which reports an improvement of 20 percentage points. An increase of 16 and 14 percentage points are reported in Welland/Port Colborne and Windsor, respectively. However, outlooks weaken in 12 areas, including Fort Erie, Northumberland County, and Ottawa.


Employers in the region report a Net Employment Outlook of +11%. Job seekers can look forward to a positive recruitment climate as the outlook is the strongest in six years and has remained relatively stable quarter-over-quarter. Plus, it has improved by 2 percentage points when compared with the first quarter of 2017.


Employers in all five areas of Quebec expect to see an increase in staffing levels during the January to March period. Quebec City and Monteregie report the strongest hiring intentions with outlooks of +27% and +26%, respectively. The employment outlook in Montreal stands at a +15%. However, Cantons de L’Est/Sherbrooke employers report a cautious outlook of just +1%.

Hiring intentions show an improvement when compared to the Quarter 4 of 2017. The most notable increase is seen in Quebec City by 12 percentage points and Montreal by 7 percentage points. While Monteregie employers predict a strong outlook, the comparison to the previous quarter shows a decline by 6 percentage points.

In a year-over-year comparison, hiring intentions are enhanced in four areas. The most noteworthy increase of 24 percentage points is seen in Monteregie. Quebec City shows an increase of 19 percentage points. A decline is reported in Canton de L’Est by 6 percentage points.


The region reports an upbeat Net Employment Outlook of +17% for the first quarter of 2018. Employers and job seekers can look forward to the strongest labor market in more than six years. Hiring intentions improve by 5 percentage points when compared with the quarter gone by and 9 percentage points when compared to Quarter 1 of 2017.

Western Canada

Payroll rise is expected in 11 areas from January to March. Richmond Delta employers report the strongest employment outlook of +28%, while an outlook of +24% is predicted for Burnaby Coquitlam and +13% for Edmonton. Meanwhile, Regina employers predict a cautious outlook of +1%.

When compared to the previous quarter, hiring plans weaken in 11 areas. A notable decline is seen in Regina by 7 percentage points and Burnaby Coquitlam by 4 percentage points. However, hiring prospects improve in five areas including Richmond Delta, where an increase of 13 percentage points is reported.

Hiring intentions decline in seven areas when compared with Quarter 1 of 2017. Notable decreases of 14 percentage points are reported in Saskatoon and the Victoria and Capital Regional District. Regina’s outlook also stands 8 percentage points weaker. Improved outlooks are reported in four areas, including Richmond Delta and Edmonton.


Reporting a Net Employment Outlook of +10% for the fourth consecutive quarter, employers and job seekers can expect a moderate hiring pace for the next three months. Hiring plans remain relatively stable when compared with Quarter 1 of 2017.

Concluding the Canadian Employment Outlook

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Canadian employers show cautiously optimistic hiring plans for the first three months of 2018. With 16% of employers expecting to increase staffing levels, 8% anticipating a decrease, and 74% predicting no change, the Net Employment Outlook stands at +11% after making seasonal variations. This is one of the strongest Employment Outlooks in more than four years. Hiring intentions remain relatively stable both quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year.

If you want to know more about the recruitment scenario in the first three months of 2018 and its impact on your entity, get in touch with our executive recruiters at Manpower Solutions today.

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