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6 in 10 small businesses plan to expand hiring, company trend survey finds

By Mitchell Consky, Writer

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    Toronto, Ontario (CTV Network) — Six in 10 Canadian small businesses plan to expand hiring before the end of 2023, according to a new survey.

The research, conducted by management consulting company Robert Half, surveyed 1,370 hiring managers – and 466 small business managers — across Canada to understand the top concerns and challenges of companies approaching the end of the year.

The findings point to a 58 per cent rise in average company growth, prompting teams to expand hiring efforts while capitalizing on workers laid off from other companies, the consulting company explained in a press release.

The research also found that 59 per cent of hiring managers surveyed plan to increase contract hiring throughout the rest of this year.

Amid plans for hiring expansion, the research also found that more than nine in 10 (91 per cent) of small business managers surveyed face challenges finding skilled talent that fits the demands of their business. When asked about their expected hiring challenges in 2024, 52 per cent of respondents cited finding available candidates with the required skill sets for their team. Almost half (49 per cent) said their biggest challenge will be finding the best talent available, and 46 per cent of hiring managers surveyed said their biggest difficulty will be meeting candidates’ salary expectations.

The survey also determined that company retention is a top concern. More than 30 per cent of small businesses surveyed are offering bonuses to employees who remain with the company for a predetermined amount of time. Other companies are turning to other retention strategies, with 30 per cent increasing recognition efforts – such as award systems – and another 30 per cent offering professional development resources, such as mentors or networking events.

Aside from keeping workers on board, worker satisfaction is another major consideration for small businesses in Canada, according to Robert Half’s data. When asked about their largest concern during times of economic uncertainty, small business managers reported a range of worries – from keeping teams motivated and engaged (41 per cent), to managing and adapting to changes in team structure and responsibilities (40 per cent), to managing employee stress and anxiety (37 per cent). A little more than 30 per cent cited retaining top talent as a primary concern.

The research also traced an emerging trend throughout 2023: hybrid work models are the most valued by employees. More than half of the managers surveyed (52 per cent) said their ideal team’s working status falls under a combination of remote and in-office work.

A little more than 40 per cent of respondents said they would prefer if everyone on their team worked in the office full time, and only seven per cent said that remote work all the time is most ideal.


Research includes responses from more than 1,370 hiring managers at companies with 20 or more employees (collected May 4–13, 2023) in Canada. The survey was developed by Robert Half and was fielded online by a third-party research firm (MaruBlue).

Please note: This content carries a strict local market embargo. If you share the same market as the contributor of this article, you may not use it on any platform.

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