Many Hamilton businesses anticipate post-pandemic hiring spree: report


Published April 29, 2021 at 5:52 pm


No one doubted that the pandemic and accompanying restrictions would negatively impact the local economy, but now we have a snapshot of just how hard Hamilton has been hit by COVID-19.

There is, however, some light at the end of the tunnel. Many local businesses in Hamilton are anticipating a hiring spree once restrictions are lifted and the virus is largely mitigated. 

According to a newly released report, businesses across all industry sectors and across every business size category have been significantly impacted by the pandemic and the resulting actions taken by governments to mitigate the associated health impacts.

The report was released Thursday (Apr. 29) based on an annual survey of 1,546 business leaders and entrepenurs in Hamilton. It was conducted between Jan. 19 and Feb. 14, 2021.

Compared to 2020, there was an employment decrease of almost 8,000 jobs — from almost 54,000 to about 46,000 — among respondents. The number represents a decrease of 14. 5 per cent.

The number was inflated by the hardest hit industries based on the survey: accommodation and food services and arts entertainment and recreation.

The food service industry cut nearly 59 per cent of its staff, while the arts and recreation industry cut nearly 48 per cent compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Some industries, though, were able to add to its total employees during the pandemic.

Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting increased its staff by 15 per cent in Hamilton. Meanwhle, finance and insurance added nearly three per cent to its employee total.

When respondents were asked how many employees they forecasted they will need when all COVID-19 related restrictions are lifted, the number of employees totalled 53,859 — which is 181 more than prior to the pandemic.

Leading the anticipatory hiring charge are owners of local retail businesses, who say they will increase their pre-pandemic staffing numbers by 14 per cent when things are back to “normal.”

Approximately 80 per cent of respondents reported a decrease in revenue in 2020 due to COVID-19, with approximately 25 per cent indicating that the decrease in revenue was 50 per cent or greater when compared to the prior year.

Hamilton’s Economic Development Division says it partnered with Workforce Planning Hamilton to launch “an enhanced Employer One survey to understand the needs of Hamilton based businesses and organizations over the next year and quantify the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The survey work was done in collaboration with the Flamborough, Hamilton, and Stoney Creek Chambers of Commerce; as well as the city’s 13 Business Improvement Areas (BIAs).

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