As Canadian provinces begin entering Stage 3 of reopening, they are also embarking on another promising economic phase: rehiring. A new survey conducted by Wagepoint, creators of online small business payroll software, found that 58 per cent of small businesses that laid off staff due to COVID-19 are now planning to rehire in the next three months.
The results of this survey are supported by Wagepoint’s own database of more than 12,000 small businesses. The online payroll company found layoffs in March represented 60 per cent of layoffs this year, but by the end of June, 55 per cent of those employees had been rehired, an upward trend that continued into July.
“Small businesses employ more Canadians than any other part of our economy. So, when they got hit hard by COVID-19, we all got hit hard,” explains Shrad Rao, CEO of Wagepoint. “But small businesses are built on entrepreneurial optimism. They’ve always fought against the odds, and now we’re seeing them do it again. Wagepoint is honoured to be there with them every step of the way, giving them the tools they need to rehire, rebuild, and carry on with their vision.”
COVID-19 forced Canada’s small businesses to make big changes incredibly fast
When COVID-19 first struck, 60 per cent of Canadian small businesses were forced to make rapid changes to their workforce. Here’s a breakdown how those small businesses responded:
- 40 per cent reduced headcount (either temporarily or permanently)
- 44 per cent reduced hours or compensation
- Firms with 10 or more employees were the hardest hit (70 per cent reduced either headcount, hours, or compensation)
- Firms with fewer than 10 employees were still impacted, but less so (57 per cent reduced either headcount, hours, or compensation)
Responding to COVID-19 underscores the need for flexibility:
As Canada’s small businesses continue to overcome the unpredictable nature of economic fluctuation and recovery, similar patterns of furloughing and re-hiring are likely to be seen in the coming months and potentially years.
Findings from the small business survey suggest a growing awareness of the need for speed and flexibility in payroll. Seven in ten (72%) of small business owners believe payroll is important (on par with sales, invoicing, and general accounting), and two in five of those (40%) that reduced headcount agreed that payroll needs to be flexible enough to accommodate quick changes to their workforce. Furthermore, over a quarter (26%) of small business owners said paying employees quickly and accurately has taken on a whole new meaning during COVID-19.
About the Survey:
Findings are based on the results of a survey of Canadian small business owners conducted in mid-June 2020. Exploring how small businesses handle payroll and other functions, the survey included 300 English-speaking business owners, CEOs, or General Managers of companies with 2 to 99 employees, all drawn from AskingCanadians’ robust research panel. For a recap with further information and infographics, please click here.