TORONTO, Dec. 5, 2011—Half of Canadian manufacturers who responded to PwC’s new third-quarter 2011 Manufacturing Barometer study said they expect positive hiring over the next 12 months. Only 5% reported they are planning to reduce their workforces, resulting in a net workforce projection of plus 1.2% over the next year.
“Despite some doom and gloom surrounding the manufacturing industry of late, it is not all bad news for Canadian manufacturers,” says Calum Semple, Consulting partner and leader of the Operational Turnaround practice at PwC. “The mining, energy and aerospace industries in Canada are booming, creating strong demand for suppliers.”
But growth in the mining, energy, and aerospace industry can be a double-edged sword for manufacturers, helping to explain why 45% said that the lack of qualified workers was a significant barrier to their growth. “While resource-rich industries are key drivers of demand; they also draw substantially on the supply of skilled workers,” says Semple. “Energy and mining companies are struggling to find qualified employees and their significant draw on employment is trickling down to their suppliers.”
Of the 50% of companies looking to hire within the next 12 months, the most sought after employees will be professionals/technicians (45%), followed by skilled labour (26%). “The Canadian economy is experiencing a significant shortage of skilled workers at all levels, from welders and engineers to HVAC technicians,” says Semple. “This is an opportunity for Canadians looking for skilled employment to boost their incomes, but they may have to be willing to be retrained and relocate, as many of these job opportunities are not in the big cities.”
PwC’s Manufacturing Barometer is a quarterly business outlook study and includes 38 Canadian-based manufacturers. It provides a 12-month outlook for revenue growth, M&A, new investments, hiring plans, emerging business trends, together with an outlook for US manufacturers.
See-saw of deal making
When it comes to deals, fewer manufacturers (26%) are planning M&A activity and expansion to foreign markets than their US peers (35%). The majority who do anticipate deal-making in 2012 said they will be making new strategic alliances (42%), followed by new joint ventures (29%). Less than a quarter will expand to new markets abroad (24%) whereas almost 40% of American manufacturers plan to do the same.
On the flip side, Canada continues to be an attractive place for foreign companies who are looking to new, more stable markets to grow their businesses and offset the concerns of an uncertain global economic environment. Mid-market deals in industrial manufacturing showed surprising resilience in Q3, up 7% over the prior quarter. Interestingly, many industrial deals were in resource vertical sub-sectors, notable transactions included:
“Recent deal-making is the first sign of strength we have seen in the industrial sector post-crisis,” says Semple. A third of the Canadian manufacturers surveyed also said they are planning new and major capital investments, investments as a percentage of total sales is moderate to high at 7.6%.
For more information, please visit www.pwc.com/ca/industrial-manufacturing. A copy of the report is also available from the media contacts.
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