Bearing in mind that making economic forecasts these days is a very risky undertaking, I appreciated a recent forecast by Pierre Cléroux, Vice President, Research and Chief Economist for The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC).
In it, he stated several important opinions:
- The Canadian economy will remain solid in 2019 and will likely continue to expand at about 2%. It signals that the country is using current capital and labour at close to full capacity.
- Canadian jobs grew by 219,000 jobs over the last twelve months, the majority in full-time positions, and will continue to grow in 2019.
- Economic expansion remains broad-based, with investment and exports picking up steam.
- Trade tensions won’t stall the global economy.
- 2 major concerns to continued growth are People and Technology.
Specifically, quoting Pierre Cléroux, “A recent BDC study found out that around 40% of Canadian small and medium-sized businesses are struggling to find the people they need to grow. This limits their growth and will eventually impact the economy. Business owners need to get creative to find the talent they need to continue to remain competitive.
Another recent BDC study recent BDC study found that only 19% of Canadian businesses are digitally advanced. This is a huge missed opportunity as digitally advanced companies are 62% more likely to have enjoyed higher sales growth than all other businesses over the past three years.
Entrepreneurs who want to take advantage of the current upswing to grow their business need to be agile and focus on attracting and retaining the right talent. Employing under-used resources such and immigrants or older workers, and a focus on technology will help productivity and improve competitiveness.”
2 important partial solutions to these challenges include hiring creatively and well, and retraining our existing employees to give them more productive skills. The Ontario and Federal Governments have recently made changes to their Canada-Ontario Job Grant training program, making it more accessible and more compelling for both large and small employers. For example, the category of “small employers” has now been expanded to include companies up to 99 employees, and small employers can now recover $5 of every $6 spent on training up to $10,000 per trainee. For more information on this program please click here:
In conclusion, there are both opportunities and challenges ahead of us in 2019. It is up to us, as leaders, to seize the initiative to ensure not just the survival but the success of our enterprises. In Pierre Cléroux’s words, “Despite labour shortages, technological change, trade tensions and rising interest rates, global economic growth and increasing exports, employment and investments will ensure that Canadian economic expansion remains solid in 2019.”
Bruce McAlpine is President of Fulcrum Search Science Inc., a Toronto-based executive search firm, and Immediate Past President of the Association of Canadian Search, Employment & Staffing Services. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-847-4989