New survey reveals hiring plans of Canadian employers for early 2021

How is the job market looking for next year? A new survey of Canadian employers offers some insights into their hiring intentions for the outset of 2021. Here’s where the jobs are expected to be.

The Manpower Group has just released its Employment Outlook report for the first quarter of next year. This regular survey of the hiring plans of Canadian companies indicates that employers intend to increase their hiring activity slightly from what was seen at the end of 2020.

For this national survey of 1,900 employers, business leaders from across regions and industries were asked, “How do you anticipate total employment at your location to change in the three months to the end of March 2021 as compared to the current quarter?”

    – 12 per cent of employers say they plan to increase staff
    – 9 per cent plan to lay off workers
    – 74 per cent plan to maintain current staffing levels
    – 5 per cent are still undecided

Interestingly, while 41 per cent expect to return to previous staffing levels within the next 12 months, one third of employers surveyed say that they don’t expect to ever return to pre-COVID hiring levels of employees. Only 7 per cent of employers expect to return to their pre-COVID-19 hiring levels within the first quarter of 2021.

The latest Labour Force Survey from Statistics Canada indicated that the Atlantic provinces had already achieved pre-pandemic employment as of November.

Employers in Ontario and Quebec have the highest hiring intentions for the beginning of next year, but Halifax ranks among the cities with the rosiest outlook. A considerable decline in hiring outlook is reported for Charlottetown, with weaker employment growth also predicted in the Cape Breton Area and Fredericton. However, hiring plans improve significantly for St. John’s.

Here are the top Canadian cities for employment outlook in Q1 2021:

The industries expecting the greatest hiring increases for early next year are the transportation and utilities, manufacturing, and public administration sectors.

You can read the full Employment Outlook Survey with regional and industry breakdowns at

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