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Canadians optimistic about workplace investment

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Canadians are more optimistic than they were this time last year about employers’ investments in the workplace, according to a new poll.

The survey, conducted by Pollara on behalf of BMO Bank of Montreal, Toronto, reveals that 42 percent of the Canadian workforce expects employee training and development programs to be offered by their employer this year, up 24 percentage points from last year. Additionally, 38 percent believe their employers will hire more in 2013, up 21 percentage points from 2012. This increased optimism can also be seen with the 45 percent that expect their employer to make investments in new equipment and technology: up 25 percentage points from last year.

Regionally, the survey reveals, Albertans are the most likely to say that their employer will be hiring more people in the coming year (52 percent), and are among the most likely to say that they will be investing in training (55 percent) and purchasing new equipment (55 percent).

The greatest increase in employee optimism comes from Atlantic Canada:

  • 38 percent expect more hiring – up from 6 percent in 2012
  • 38 percent believe employer will invest in training – up 21 percentage points
  • 47 percent expect employer to upgrade technology/equipment – up 34 percentage points from 2012

“Canadian companies are making strategic investments to upgrade technology and processes, open up new markets, and invest in people,” says Steve Murphy, Senior Vice President, BMO Commercial Banking. “Businesses are looking to become as productive as possible, and that may mean taking advantage of historically low interest rates to finance their growth plans and upgrade their talent pool.”

“Even though the Canadian economy overall has slowed, employment remains healthy and the unemployment rate has come down,” adds Douglas Porter, deputy chief economist, BMO Capital Markets. “In recent months, the unemployment rate hit its lowest level in four years at just over 7 percent, and may well fall further later this year.”