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Optimism about the Canadian economy is up sharply among executive professional accountants, reaching its highest level since the second quarter of 2011, according to the third-quarter CPA Canada Business Monitor.
The survey found 37 percent of the respondents are optimistic about how the national economy will perform over the next 12 months, compared to 26 percent in both the first and second quarters of this year. In the third-quarter survey, 56 percent are neutral and just under 10 percent are pessimistic.
“The increase in economic optimism is certainly positive but it must be put into perspective," says Kevin Dancey, president and CEO of Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada. “While very few of the respondents are pessimistic, the majority are still not prepared to express optimism. Hopefully, further upswings in optimism lie ahead.”
Despite an increase in economic optimism, fewer respondents forecast an increase in employee numbers at their companies. Thirty-four percent of the respondents expect employee numbers at their company to increase in the next 12 months, down from 40 percent the previous quarter. Forty-seven percent of the respondents anticipate no change and 19 percent expect a drop.
Hiring challenges may be looming, according to the forecast. Two-thirds of those surveyed believe that Canada does not have enough skilled workers and professionals to fill certain positions. Additionally, 71 percent anticipate that their organization will have difficulty filling a skilled position over the next two years: 39 percent referenced skilled trades, 22 percent middle management, 15 percent professional positions, 14 percent senior management and 11 percent stated other. More than one response could be provided.
Twenty-nine percent did not anticipate difficulty in filling any types of skilled positions.
When asked what steps their company takes to hire skilled workers, 56 percent cited asking employees to refer potential candidates. Using recruiting firms to source talent within the province followed at 49 percent.
The CPA Canada Business Monitor is based on a survey commissioned by CPA Canada and conducted by Harris/Decima Inc. from Aug. 7 to Sept. 3, 2013. Emailed surveys were completed by 200 CFOs, CEOs, COOs and other senior executives.