Statistics Canada just released the February 2019 Labour Force Survey, reporting an increase in employment of 55,900 driven by gains in full-time work. At the same time, the unemployment rate held steady at 5.8 per cent as the number of people searching for work remained relatively unchanged.
Highlights in February
- Employment grew for a second consecutive month, up 55,900 in February, driven by gains in full-time work.
- The unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.8 per cent as the number of people searching for work held steady.
- In the 12 months to February, total employment grew by 369,000 or 2.0 per cent, reflecting increases in both full and part-time work.
- Over the same time period, total hours worked was virtually unchanged.
Ontario was the sole province with a notable employment gain in February. Employment declined in Manitoba and was little changed in the remaining provinces.
- Employment in Ontario rose for the second consecutive month, up 37,000 in February, boosted by gains in full-time work (+59,000). The unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.7 per cent as more people participated in the labour market. On a year-over-year basis, employment in the province increased by 2.7 per cent or 192,000.
- Employment edged up in Quebec in February, continuing the upward trend that began in the autumn of 2018. The unemployment rate was little changed at 5.3 per cent. In the 12 months to February, employment in the province increased by 1.3 per cent or 55,000.
- In Alberta, employment was virtually unchanged from the previous month and on a year-over-year basis. The number of people searching for work increased in February, pushing the unemployment rate up 0.5 percentage points to 7.3 per cent.
What employers need to know
The demand for skilled talent persists, and employers need to be prepared to negotiate salary with potential hires to entice top candidates. If you’ve already researched local trends to calculate the salary for the position, what else can you do to ensure compensation discussions are constructive for you and the candidate? Here are two quick tips:
- Be transparent from the get-go. Be proactive about discussing salary with candidates early in the hiring process. The “money discussion” is unavoidable, so why put it off? Transparency gives candidates the opportunity to walk away if they feel the pay won’t meet their needs. And it allows you to focus on the applicants who do find the salary acceptable.
- Highlight perks and benefits. Salary is only one part of a compensation package — and not necessarily a dealmaker or -breaker for all candidates. So, underscore other high-value offerings, such as paid vacation time, professional development opportunities or telecommuting programs. And don’t forget benefits like retirement savings plans, which many workers covet.
If you come across a candidate you believe would be an ideal fit for the job and your organization, be willing to flex on salary to the extent possible.
What job seekers need to know
How prepared are you to talk salary with an employer once you receive an employment offer? Research from Robert Half shows that 65 per cent of hiring managers in Canada don’t expect candidates to accept the initial salary they propose. So, you can be sure that they know they need to be ready to negotiate.
To lay the groundwork for a productive discussion, research current and relevant salary data first. Consult resources like Robert Half’s annual Salary Guides to determine the going rate for the position you’re targeting and your experience level. Robert Half’s Salary Calculator can help you drill down on specific figures for your geographic area.
Once you’re in a salary negotiation, apply these two strategies for success:
- Be specific with numbers. If you’ve done your homework, you should be able to tell an employer what starting pay you believe you deserve. You can provide an exact number, or a range that is somewhat narrow — for example, $60,000-$68,000. Also, know what your baseline salary is going in — that is, the bottom-line figure you would accept before walking away.
- Explain why you’re a good investment. If you’re asking an employer to flex on compensation, help them see why they should consider your request. What “return” can they expect by agreeing to a higher starting salary than they may have budgeted for the position? Share examples of how you believe your skills and experience would enhance the business.
It’s important to be forthright about the level of compensation that you seek. The employer needs to understand what your expectations are — and you need to negotiate a salary that will meet your needs. Just be careful not to focus so much on salary that you overlook the value of the full compensation package that’s on the table. You may find that the benefits and perks the employer is offering may mean more to you than a bigger paycheque.