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Canadian Employers Expect to Face Hiring Challenges in 2023

Survey: 75% of Canadian Employers Expect to Face Hiring Challenges in 2023

As if the past few years weren’t difficult and tumultuous enough on the HR landscape, a new survey(1)  has revealed that 75% of Canadian employers expect to face big hiring challenges in 2023.

According to the survey, which was carried out by Harris Poll and commissioned by Express Employment Professionals, the three hiring challenges that employers are most concerned about are:

  • being forced to hire less qualified candidates to fill open positions (31%)
  • high employee turnover (30%)
  • overall labor shortages (29%)

“Employers continue to struggle to find candidates with the right skills, and in many cases have made compromises on skills in order to simply fill the roles,” commented Michael Elliott, an Express Employment Professional franchise owner. “With most companies continuing to struggle to find enough workers to fill gaps in their headcount, many have increased pay to keep up with surging compensation demands brought on by the shortage of workers.”

Added Elliott: “In the current market there is still a lot of job shifting because workers know their worth in this tight labor market. And workers will jump ship not once but several times in order to boost their overall earnings, opting to work with any company that has higher wages. Even if efforts to curb inflation are successful and turnover and wages plateau, wages will not return to pre-labor shortage levels.”

Despite the obvious risk of hiring less qualified candidates to fill open positions, some people with plenty of hiring experience — the good, the bad, and the ugly — suggest that there could be a potential benefit if certain candidates are motivated by the opportunity to go above and beyond. Commented John DiLullo (2), CEO of the network security company Lastline: “When I reflect on a career of hiring, the candidates that always seemed to perform the best were rarely 100 percent qualified. Instead, it was individuals with lesser qualifications, but a burning desire to prove something to the world that made all the difference. Perhaps they needed a break, they wanted to stretch into a new role, or were determined to overcome a setback or a disability.”

As for dialing back turnover, a recent survey by survey (3) by human capital management software vendor Paycor found that company culture — and not salary/benefits or flexible schedules — was the number one reason that people remained with an organization. States the Paycor survey report [PDF (4)]: “[M]oney can get people in the door, but it can’t make them stay, as there will always be an opportunity to make more elsewhere. However, the one thing your competitors can’t easily duplicate is your company’s culture — its values, beliefs, behaviors, and default attitudes about how and when work gets done.”

And as for dealing with the overall labor shortage — which analysts say on a fundamental level is not going to ease up any time soon (5), even with a looming recession on the horizon — a survey (6) by global advisory firm WTW found that the top ways employers are overcoming (or at least, putting a dent) in this major challenge are:

  • hiring employees at the higher end of salary ranges (86%)
  • increasing flexibility in where employees work and how they work (84%)
  • offering sign-up bonuses to attract talent (81%)
  • using retention bonuses to keep employees (65%)
  • increasing training opportunities (55%)

“Employers are leaving no stones unturned in their battle to find and keep talent,” said Lesli Jennings, North America leader, Work, Rewards and Careers at WTW. “While making enhancements to compensation programs can support employers’ immediate recruitment and retention efforts, employers recognize they will need to pull levers in addition to compensation and reinforce a connection to the overall employee experience.”

Added Jennings: “While talent challenges may seem especially acute now, employers must consider the long-term implications of their actions, particularly around the sources of funding for higher compensation and concerns over internal equity between rewards for new hires and rewards for employees of longer standing. Salary compression is a real issue for many employers, and our survey results show that it could continue with hiring employees in the higher salary range. Employers can take actions to address these concerns, such as refining their overall compensation philosophy, raising salary ranges and reviewing — or rethinking — their strategy on how work gets done and rewarded.”



  1.   Lack of Qualified Candidates and High Employee Turnover Are Top Concerns Keeping Employers Up at Night  – GlobalNewsWire
  2. Why you should hire candidates who are “a little bit unqualified” – John Dilullo

  3. What’s HR’s top priority for 2023? – Jim Wilson

  4. HR in 2023: Insights & Predictions – PayCor
  5. Canada’s labor shortage will be long-term challenge – Jim Wilson

  6. North America employers rethinking work and reward programs to address labor shortages, inflation worries, WTW survey finds – WTW


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