January 13, 2011  
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"Employment, sir, and hardships, prevent melancholy."

~ Samuel Johnson


The times are changing. Click here for most recent stats can information > statscan

Unemployment %
by Province

December 2010

MAN = 5.2%
SASK = 5.5%
ALTA = 5.6%
BC = 7.6%
QC = 7.6%
ON = 8.1%
NB = 9.4%
NS = 10.4%
PEI = 11.9%
Nfld & Lab = 13.7%

Canada-wide = 7.6%


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Businesses are putting aside anxiety over sales growth and plan to hire more staff this year, according to a quarterly Bank of Canada survey released Monday. Firms with ties to mining, oil, and other commodities tend to have the brightest forecast for 2011, according to the central bank’s business outlook survey covering the October-to-December period of 2010.

A separate survey of senior loan officers also found that lending conditions continue to improve across large and small businesses, another good indicator of future investment. Taken together, the surveys are further evidence of an improving economy and make it all the more likely that the Bank of Canada will hold off on raising interest rates, economists said.

“Overall, both surveys are bullish for growth, although not really surprisingly so in light of the better economic data of late,” Avery Shenfeld, chief economist at CIBC World Markets, wrote in a research note. The outlook is not entirely rosy: firms still expect to face headwinds in the form of modest, rather than robust, demand and strong competition from domestic and foreign rivals. Because of these challenges, the Bank of Canada is expected to keep monetary conditions “accommodative,” through the spring, Paul Ferley, assistant chief economist for RBC Economics wrote. “The surveys reinforce our expectation that a return to tightening mode will be delayed until the second quarter.”

Just over half, 51 per cent, of firms in the latest survey said they expect sales volumes to rise over the coming year, and 29 per cent expect a decline. The remaining 20 per cent expect no change. That’s slightly more pessimistic than the autumn survey, where 55 per cent said they expect a boost in sales over the coming 12 months, and 26 per cent said they foresee a decline.

But firms are also indicating they are planning to invest in machinery and equipment to become more competitive, raise productivity, or expand into new areas, the report said. They want to be ready to meet strengthening demand in the next 12 months. Nearly half of respondents, 49 per cent said they expect their firm’s level of employment to be higher over the coming 12 months than the previous period. That’s up from 39 per cent who shared that sentiment in the autumn survey. “This positive sentiment, supporting firms’ sales expectations and planned investment for expansion, is widespread across all sectors and all regions,” the report said.

That optimism is evident in other sectors, such as legal, accounting, financial services, technology, and marketing, said Mike Gooley, regional vice-president of Robert Half International, an employment agency that specializes these areas. “Our clients seem to be continuing to hire because the demand is here,” he said. The survey is based on about 100 interviews conducted across the country between Nov. 15 and Dec. 10.

The Bank of Canada is widely expected to stand pat on interest rates on Jan. 18. The latest labour market report from Statistics Canada showed a net gain of 22,000 jobs in December, largely due to an increase in full-time jobs in the private sector.


Employment gains in Quebec, Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador

Employment in Quebec increased by 25,000 in December, pushing the unemployment rate down 0.3 percentage points to 7.6%. With December's gain, Quebec employment was up 102,000 (+2.6%) from a year earlier.

In Ontario, employment increased for the second consecutive month, up 23,000 in December. The unemployment rate edged down 0.1 percentage points to 8.1%. With December's increase, the number of workers in Ontario grew by 2.8% (+186,000) from a year earlier, above the national growth rate of 2.2%. Over the 12 months of 2009, Ontario's employment was down 1.8%, the largest decline among all provinces.

Newfoundland and Labrador saw employment increases of 2,500 in December, bringing total employment growth in the province to 4.6% (+9,900) compared with the same month a year earlier, the fastest rate of growth in the country.

Employment in British Columbia fell by 23,000 in December, pushing the unemployment rate up 0.7 percentage points to 7.6%. Compared with December 2009, employment in the province grew by 1.5% (+35,000).

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HR Tips : Battling Sick Leave Abuse
Article by Maureen Smith

Do you find that your employees are missing-in-action on a more frequent basis during the summer and during the holiday seasons? Studies show you're right. Unscheduled worker absences are increasing and, according to various surveys, governmental agencies have the largest number of absences.

According to CCH Incorporated, a company that produces electronic and print products for the tax, legal, securities, insurance, human resources, health care, and small business markets, unscheduled absenteeism can cost up to an average of $602 per employee, per year. This cost does not include indirect costs such as overtime pay for other employees, hiring temps, missed deadlines, lost sales, sinking morale and lower productivity. Indirect costs can add up to 25 percent to the direct costs, according to Employee Benefit News and HR News.

Sick leave is a necessary benefit for all employees. If an employer didn’t offer sick leave, they would accelerate health problems and the spread of illness, thereby lowering productivity and morale. Despite the pressure for perfect attendance to improve customer service and efficiency, employees need equitable sick leave programs for security and overall high performance. Yet, some organizations suffer from sick leave abuse, and sick leave abuse translates into lost dollars.

A "pattern of abuse" in regard to sick leave typically refers to employees who, over a period of time, have violated the organization’s attendance policy on numerous occasions. In order to confidently discipline employees with attendance problems, legal experts say the best bet is to have a clearly written policy that specifies the organization’s standards and employee requirements.

Be sure to specify that discipline — including termination — may result from repeated sick leave abuse and misuse. Keep the policy flexible, since it is virtually impossible to list every single potential offense.

Examples of attendance policy violations include:
- Number of absences, number of times coming in late, and number of early
departures, all of which exceed the attendance policy allotment;
- Failing to get permission for leaving early or coming in late;
- Failing to give advance notice of an absence when possible;
- Failing to report an absence properly; and
- Failing to submit medical certification upon request.

Determining if and why employees exploit leave policies is important. Just as an employer analyzes turnover, the organization should also look at sick leave abuse trends. Is leave usage higher in one department or under a particular supervisor? Are workplace practices or policies affecting absences? Do children’s illnesses in turn lead to your employee's time-off? Finding the root cause of sick leave abuse problems helps in addressing the core issues.

Methods for monitoring sick leave abuse vary from one organization to the next, but there are some common guidelines all employers can follow. Listed below are some tips about how to manage sick leave abuse cases.

  • Recognize the problem with sick leave abuse and intervene early before it escalates. Managers need to enforce sick leave policies and take appropriate action.

  • Find out why the employee is abusing leave. Talk to employees who are abusing leave and see if their behavior stems from a personal problem. If you find that it does, recommend counseling or refer them to your organization’s Employee Assistance Program.

  • Learn to say "no." You shouldn’t let employees get away with abusing leave policies. When you hear a ridiculous request to misuse leave, say "no."

  • Use procedures, regulations, practices and knowledge to benefit management as well as the employee. Supervisors and managers must work with employees. Their main job is to make certain that all employees are aware of sick leave policies and how to use them.

  • Document everything.

You don't just have to deal with sick leave abuse - you can encourage appropiate leave use, too.


NetHire and the use of social media

Social media and networks are now the main source of employment information for the professional sector and the under 35 age group. Social media includes hundreds of social peer to peer sites like Facebook, micro blogging sites like Twitter and social news websites like Digg along with many other types of social media sites that total into the hundreds. These social sites allow us to target both large general audiences as well as niche and specialized groups you are looking to target for your specialized and skilled positions. We support over 250 social media sites and networks and the number is growing.


NetHire.ca | 7050 Telford Way, Mississauga, ON | info@nethire.ca


quick snippets of employment news
you can use

The HR Manager:

Plan your Recruiting

Do you select new employees based largely on an attractive resume and the candidate’s performance at the resultant interview? If so, you are missing the opportunity to use additional recruiting and screening methods that will ensure a superior hire.

A good looking resume is often professionally prepared, or, at least professionally reviewed. A positive interview leaves all participants excited about the potential new employee. But, do these steps ensure a successful hire? An employee whose performance will exceed your expectations? Not likely.

In a massive study conducted by John and Rhonda Hunter at The University of Michigan on the ‘Validity and Utility of Alternative Predictors of Job Performance', the usefulness of the interview in accurately predicting later success on the job was analyzed.

”The surprising finding: The typical interview increases the likelihood of choosing the best candidate by less than 2%.

So, what will bring you superior hires? You need to start your recruiting process with a planning meeting. At this recruiting planning meeting, you need to follow a specific agenda and make a plan to recruit your new employee of choice. The steps agreed upon in this meeting will ensure that more than a resume and an interview are considered when you evaluate the likelihood of each candidate's success in your open job.

Recruiting Planning Meeting Checklist

Determine the need for a new hire, developa job specification and a job description. Schedule the recruiting planning meeting with the appropriate attendees, minimally, the Human Resources recruiter and the hiring manager. Other attendees can include successful coworkers; an indirect, but interested, manager; and internal customers of the position.

Using the job specification, which may also be revised during this meeting, and your experience of other employees who have worked successfully in a similar position, rank the most important qualities, experiences, education, and characteristics that your successful candidate will possess. This ranking allows your HR recruiter to use these characteristics to write the classified ad, post the job online, and screen the arriving resumes. (The HR recruiter will use the complete job specification, but the prioritization is helpful.)

Now that you have the important requirements prioritized, determine where to advertise the position to develop the most exhaustive candidate pool, including asking for internal referrals.

Determine who will interview the potential employees. Plan the interview and follow-up process.

Decide upon the candidate screening questions for the HR recruiter and/or the hiring manager - whomever will perform the telephone screens.

Assign interview topics and questions. These questions should be behaviourly based. You can also write scenarios, or brief role plays, and ask the candidates to tell you how they would solve a particular problem, resolve a common work situation, or improve a work process. Ideally, each interviewer will assess a different area of the potential employee’s qualifications: cultural fit, technical capabilities, experience, ability to communicate, interpersonal effectiveness, and so forth.

Decide if testing will assist you to select the best candidate for the job. As an example, you may want to give a writing test to a customer service candidate who will communicate with customers chiefly through email.

This planning meeting and the recruiting activities that result from it will improve your employee selection process. An improved recruiting and selection process ensures that your organization is selecting candidates who will succeed and star as members of your superior work force.


New recruitment strategies for 2011

Organizations are planning to increase hiring as the economy recovers but are making significant changes to their recruitment strategies according to research from Job Search Television Network (JSTN), a leading video and social media based recruiting company. Cuts to recruiting staffs and budgets during the recession have resulted in a greater emphasis on lower cost, efficient technological solutions. The report notes increasingly targeted use of social media in the recruitment process.

LinkedIn and Facebook with links to video has been hot for a while, but now employers are ‘micro-targeting’ employees using niche blogs and LinkedIn groups. For example, one employer successfully uses niche blogs to locate workers with very specific types of financial service backgrounds. Social media should be a big part of your recruiting process for the coming year.

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