Statistics Canada just released the March 2019 Labour Force Survey, reporting little change in employment for March, with the unemployment rate holding steady at 5.8 per cent for the third consecutive month.
Highlights in March
- In the first quarter of 2019, employment rose by 116,000 (+0.6 per cent).
- More people were working in the finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing industry, and in public administration in the month of March.
- On a year-over-year basis, employment grew by 332,000 (+1.8 per cent), with gains in both full- (+204,000) and part-time (+128,000) work.
- Following two consecutive monthly increases, employment in Ontario held steady in March. As a result of more people looking for work, the unemployment rate rose by 0.2 percentage points to 5.9 per cent. On a year-over-year basis, employment in the province was up 2.4 per cent or 175,000, mostly in full-time work.
- In Alberta, employment overall was little changed in March as gains in full-time work were offset by losses in part-time work. With fewer people seeking jobs, the unemployment rate declined by 0.4 percentage points to 6.9 per cent. Employment in the province was virtually unchanged compared with March 2018.
- In British Columbia, employment held steady in March. Year over year, 79,000 (+3.2 per cent) more people were employed.
What employers need to know
Employers must do many things — and well — to compete effectively for skilled professionals in this tight hiring market. That includes offering a standout compensation and benefits package, shining a light on your organizational culture, and moving as fast as possible in your hiring process. And then, once a top candidate agrees to join your company, you must do something else to ensure all your hard work doesn’t go to waste: offer an outstanding onboarding experience.
In-demand professionals expect a lot more from the onboarding process than just getting an office tour, an employee handbook, and maybe a first-day lunch outing with their new boss and teammates. For example, they would like to:
- Arrive at the office to find their workspace and technology already set up for them.
- Discover that they have a mentor to help them navigate their new workplace.
- Learn more about how their contributions are going to make an impact at the company.
Also, new employees don’t want to spend their first day filling out paperwork. So, if possible, send routine paperwork to new hires in advance.
A seamless, supportive onboarding process that extends well beyond day one helps set the right tone with new hires and sets them up for success. The experience that new employees have during their first days and weeks on the job is critical to helping them fit in and become productive fast. So, be sure to include a well-structured and high-touch onboarding process among the many things your organization does to engage top talent.
What job seekers need to know
When you’re searching for a job, you can become so focused on getting your foot in the door that you don’t think about what might happen after you start a new job. Will you have a lot of support from the outset and feel like the business is invested in your success? Or will you be thrown into a sink-or-swim environment, without any sign of a flotation device?
First, never assume that a company will provide a comprehensive onboarding process that extends much beyond a first-day orientation. Yes, many leading employers are pulling out all the stops when onboarding workers — automating as much of the process as possible, offering extensive training on the company’s culture and values, ensuring new hires get ample one-on-one time with managers, and more. But many other businesses don’t do these things.
Don’t let your onboarding experience be a journey of total surprise. During the interview process, consider asking the hiring manager questions such as:
- Can you tell me about the company’s onboarding process? What does it entail, and how long does it last?
- What type of training or professional development opportunities will be available to me during my first few weeks and months on the job?
- How and when does the company typically measure a new employee’s performance?
The answers you hear not only will reveal a lot about the company’s culture but also will help you decide if it’s the type of environment you’ll thrive in. It also stands to reason that if the company offers a thoughtful and extended onboarding process, it truly cares about seeing its new hires succeed.