A majority (89 per cent) of Canadian employers are expecting to face hiring challenges in 2024, according to a new survey from Express Employment Professionals.

It found difficulty in finding qualified candidates (45 per cent) was the No. 1 obstacle cited by employers, followed by increased job market competition (25 per cent), uncompetitive pay (24 per cent), the available talent pool doesn’t match their needs (23 per cent) and uncompetitive benefits (21 per cent).

More than half (55 per cent) of employers said their employees have asked for a raise in the past year because of the increase in the cost of living and. Indeed, two-fifths (41 per cent) of employed job seekers reported asking for a raise in the past year, including half (49 per cent) of generation Z respondents. Nearly three-quarters (72 per cent) of employers said they’ll increase wages in 2024.

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Still, half (49 per cent) of all respondents said they expect wages to stay the same and even fewer (41 per cent) said they’re expecting their company to increase wages this year.

More than a third (36 per cent) of employers said they have open positions that they can’t fill, mainly due to a lack of qualified applicants with the required hard skills (45 per cent), relevant experience (36 per cent) and soft skills (26 per cent). Notably, 35 per cent of employers also noted a concern about the general lack of applicants overall.

Similarly, more than half (56 per cent) of job seekers agreed one of the biggest challenges they face is finding job opportunities that match their qualifications, including lacking the required hard skills (26 per cent), soft skills (13 per cent) or communication skills (13 per cent) for open positions.

A third (34 per cent) of job seekers cited companies that claim to be hiring but are only collecting applications and resumes to review as a barrier in their job search, with millennials (72 per cent) and gen-Zers (70 per cent) most likely to express this sentiment, compared to generation Xers and baby boomers (54 per cent and 53 per cent, respectively).

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