Half of workers plan to look for new job – despite economic headwinds

16 December 2022 Consulting.ca 2 min. read
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Fifty percent of Canadian workers are currently looking or plan to look for a new role in the first half of 2023, according to Robert Half’s biannual Job Optimism Survey. The staffing and HR consultancy polled more than 1,100 professionals in Canada between October 17 and November 7, 2022.

That represents a 19-point increase for job-leaving sentiment compared to Robert Half’s survey six months ago, when 31% of Canadians said they were looking to switch jobs.

The hike comes despite numerous economists and banks – including Goldman Sachs last week – highlighting the likelihood of a global recession in 2023. High-profile layoffs have already been occurring in the tech sector, which went on an ill-advised hiring spree during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Robert Half survey results align with numbers from an Isolved survey of US workers, which found 49% plan to explore their options next year. That would point to the Great Resignation – which has resulted in more than 4 million US workers quitting every month in 2022 – continuing unabated.

Job Search Plans

Various analysts, however, have pointed to the Great Resignation being a uniquely American phenomenon. Douglas Porter, chief economist at BMO, in a May 2022 article noted the Canadian spike in resignations lasted only months, with a similar pattern in the European Union. Trevor Tombe, an economics professor at the University of Calgary, wrote in a September blog post that though Canadian data isn’t as good as US data, StatsCan surveys point to the Canadian resignation rate being just 1% in August 2022. That’s no higher than pre-pandemic rates and well below the US’ consistent 3% or higher resignation rate.

In any case, the Robert Half research found that the categories most likely to make a career move in the next half-year were technology workers (57%), Gen Z and millennials (56%), working parents (55%), and employees who have been with their company for two to four years (61%).

"Many Canadian workers continue to have confidence in the job market despite news of layoffs and a slowdown in hiring," said David King, senior managing director, Robert Half, Canada and South America. "Professionals with in-demand skills know they have leverage given the talent shortage, and are open to new opportunities that offer more fulfilling work, a higher salary, and improved perks and benefits."

The top motivation for making a career move was a higher salary (62%) – the number one factor in the last four Job Optimism Surveys. Following that were better perks and benefits (39%), better advancement opportunities (30%), and greater flexibility to choose where and when they work (27%).