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Canadians feeling optimistic about employers’ hiring, investment plans

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Canadians are feeling more optimistic about the workplace, according to a new Bank of Montreal survey which found higher expectations for everything from investment to hiring.

The survey, conducted in November by Pollara, found that 38 per cent of the 1,000 respondents believe their employers will hire more people this year – up 21 percentage points from 2012.

"This increased optimism can also be seen with the 45 per cent that expect their employer to make investments in new equipment and technology – up 25 percentage points from last year," BMO said.

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Meanwhile, the survey found that 42 per cent of those questioned nationally expect employee training and development programs to be offered by their employer this year – up 24 percentage points from last year.

"Canadian companies are making strategic investments to upgrade technology and processes, open up new markets, and invest in people," Steve Murphy, senior vice-president, BMO Commercial Banking, said of the survey results.

"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."

Regionally, Albertans were the most likely to say that their employer will be hiring more people in the coming year (52 per cent ).

They were also among the most likely to say that they will be investing in training (55 per cent) and purchasing new equipment (55 per cent).

However, the greatest increase in employee optimism was in Atlantic Canada. The survey found 38 per cent of respondents there expect more hiring (up from 6 per cent in 2012); another 38 per cent believe employers will invest in training (up 21 percentage points); and 47 per cent expect employers to upgrade technology and equipment (up 34 percentage points from 2012).

Nationally, Quebeckers are the least optimistic about improved hiring, with only 27 per cent expecting more hiring at their workplace. That compares with 40 per cent in Ontario, 42 per cent in Manitoba and Saskatchewan and 52 per cent in British Columbia.

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On employee training, 35 per cent of Quebeckers surveyed expect employers to offer training this year; 44 per cent in Ontario; 43 per cent in Manitoba and Saskatchewan; and 40 per cent in British Columbia.

Thirty-nine per cent of Quebeckers expect employers to invest in new equipment and technology, compared with 46 per cent in Ontario, 47 per cent in Manitoba and Saskatchewan and 42 per cent in British Columbia.

The Canadian Press

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