27% of NA manufacturers hiring this year: Sage

Ninety-two per cent say they will hire full-time help.

Product demand drives hiring.

IRVINE, Calif. — Twenty-seven per cent of small and mid-sized manufacturing and distribution businesses in the US and Canada expect to increase the size of their workforces in 2013, according to a Sage North America survey.

The provider of business management software and services based in Irvine, Calif. said the SMB Hiring Outlook Survey revealed that among the businesses planning to add jobs, 83% said the decision was driven by stronger demand, while 23% cited an improved economic outlook.

Of the 242 executives responding to the survey, 45% said their workforces would remain the same, while 21% are undecided.

Only 7% would decrease their workforces and of those 43% cited reasons for not hiring as steady or weaker demand, 41% economic outlook and 31% healthcare costs.

Of those who have hired or plan to hire this year, 92% are seeking full-time help.

Among companies who hired in both 2012 and 2013, 39% expect to hire more employees this year than they did last year, while 52% plan to hire about the same number.

Sage also polled Canadian businesses about hiring trends and their perception of how measures introduced in the recent federal budget will impact their businesses.

Nineteen per cent of the 605 businesses said they have hired or will hire this year. Of those, 77% said a stronger demand is driving hiring, followed by improved economic outlook (23%) and the availability of a better pool of desirable candidates (11%).

Those who have decreased or will be decreasing the size of their workforces (8%) or make no changes (55%), said the factors influencing their decision were: steady or weakened demand for their company’s service or product (40%), economic outlook uncertainty (22%) and costs of doing business (22%).

Last year 31% increased their workforces. However, with risks to Canada’s economy building, businesses may be preparing themselves for the worst, said Nancy Harris, senior vice president and general manager at Sage 50 Accounting, Canadian Edition.

The federal government announced several measures in its 2013 budget, including the Employment Insurance Hiring Credit and Canada Job Grant. When asked which factors have influenced or will influence their decision to increase the size of their workforces, only 3% identified either initiative.

Other survey highlights include the following:

• Fewer Canadian SMEs have hired or will be hiring full-time positions in comparison to their US counterparts (67% vs. 82%), but more are planning on hiring part-time positions (45% vs. 29%).

• Midsized businesses with 20 to 99 employees are twice as likely to be hiring this year than small businesses with 1 to 19 employees (36% vs. 14%).

• Half of those not planning to hire seasonal help reported there wasn’t a business need to do so.