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Alberta CEOs are predicting small- and medium-sized businesses will go on a hiring “spree” over the next year, according to a recent report.

TEC Canada (The Executive Committee) recently released its first quarter CEO confidence report, created by surveying its Canadian member CEOs from varying industries across Canada. The executives are asked several questions to gauge their economic outlook on the year. The overall outlook for the country wasn’t strong, but Alberta’s hiring is expected to see a boost.

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When asked whether the executives thought their total number of employees would increase, remain the same, or decrease, Alberta’s numbers trumped the rest. While less than half of the other provincial respondents predicted an increase in employees, 57 per cent of Alberta’s respondents expected to add to their ranks over the next year.

A little over 45 per cent of Canadian respondents said that they believed economic conditions in Canada have worsened in the past year, with a little more than 41 per cent saying they felt it hadn’t changed much. Similarly, nearly half (48.8 per cent) expected that the national economy wouldn’t change much over the next year. Despite the seemingly stagnant outlook, most Canadian respondents still weren’t considering layoffs.

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Alberta once again surpassed the national average for respondents not considering layoffs. While an average of 68 per cent of Canadian respondents said they weren’t considering layoffs, Alberta’s respondents were even more resistant to the layoffs. Nearly 78 per cent of Alberta’s respondents said they wouldn’t be considering layoffs.

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Although Alberta led in some areas, the province still has room for improvement in others.

Alberta’s productivity is reported to be an issue by its CEOs. Less than half of Alberta’s respondents expected their productivity to improve over the next year, which TEC Canada president and CEO Todd Millar pointed to as an issue.

“It’s the 44.5 per cent of Alberta CEOs who expect it to remain at the current level that is concerning,  and that goes for the other provinces as well,” said Millar, adding “merely maintaining the productivity status quo is not good enough if we want to grow our economy.”

Respondents were also asked what factors they considered to be holding back their productivity compared to the United States. In Alberta, CEOs pointed to a decreased availability of skilled labour, regulatory environment or government policy constraints, and the cost of labour. Alberta’s outlook was on par with the rest of the country, which similarly pointed to the same factors as limiting their productivity.

Twitter/X: @ZacharyDelaney

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