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Most Canadian employees are ready to quit their jobs, survey finds

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Canadian employers may need to step up their game if they want to avoid costly staff turnover, a new survey suggests.

Research conducted by Nielson on behalf of human resources software company Ceridian found that nearly three quarters of respondents were either looking for work, or would consider jumping ship if approached with the right opportunity.

Among 1,001 Canadians and 1,000 Americans surveyed for the company’s annual Pulse of Talent report, 37 per cent said they were either actively or casually looking for a new job, and 36 per cent say they’d consider a new position if recruited.  

In November, the unemployment rate in Canada hit its lowest point since Statistics Canada started tracking that data 40 years ago. Given the particularly tight labour market for skilled workers, human resources experts say companies can’t afford to assume staff will stick around — even for a few years.

In fact, most of the employees surveyed said they knew within one year on a job whether or not they’d stay long-term.

Lisa Sterling, who heads up HR for Ceridian, said that means employers must act faster to work with junior employees on their career development and job satisfaction — things that naturally build loyalty.

Lisa Sterling, head of human resources for software company Ceridian, said employers risk losing staff if they don’t reach out to them early in their tenure to ensure there’s a clear path for their development and growth. (Ceridian)

Going for growth

Perhaps unsurprisingly, better pay was the reason cited most often for accepting a new job — but not by a landslide. After compensation, people were most likely to leave because they didn’t find their work interesting, followed closely by not feeling respected, and by lack of opportunity to take on new responsibilities.

Sterling says that doesn’t surprise her. “I think it’s absolutely imperative for organizations to have a significant structure around a growth philosophy. It’s incredibly important for people at any age to feel like they have growth and movement.”

Traditionally, employers target senior staff for promotions and opportunities to expand their portfolios of responsibility, she says. But that won’t cut it today.

Millennials do have a desire to do work that is interesting to them … I think they’re more willing to walk away than the generations that came before them.”– Lisa Sterling, Chief People and Culture Officer, Ceridian

“The expectations are different than even 10 years ago,” said Sterling. Raised by baby boomers, many of whom clocked long hours on the job, millennials don’t want to wait decades for work they find fulfilling.

“Millennials have a desire to do work that is interesting to them. Things that give them joy and satisfaction. I think they’re more willing to walk away than the generations that came before them.”

Sterling says that spirit is beginning to influence older workers, too. “It’s one of the positive things that we’re seeing from millennials — they’re driving this desire for meaning across the organization regardless of age.”

Beyond the corporate ladder

All of this requires employers to rethink the traditional career path in ways that don’t necessarily require somebody to move into management in order to grow in their role.

“The way work is evolving now, it’s more about continuing to have an expansion of your knowledge and your experience,” says Sterling. “It doesn’t always mean climbing a ladder.”

Employees of Klick Inc. on a monthly lunch-hour bus trip, this time to St. Lawrence Market in Toronto. (Klick Inc.)

Klick Inc., a Toronto-based technology and health marketing company, has won dozens of best-employer awards, including being named a Top 100 Best Places to Work in the Globe and Mail seven years running.

Executive vice-president Glenn Zujew said that’s because of the emphasis the company places on keeping staff happy both in and out of work. 

On the personal and professional growth side of things, the company has thousands of hours of curated online training content on its so-called Klick University — and not just for work-related tasks.

“You can learn how to DJ here; you can learn how to get your first mortgage. You can learn how to be a designer,” he says.

Investing in retention

Klick has a team entirely dedicated to making sure staff are happy, said Zujew. It runs monthly lunch-hour outings to visit local attractions, holds sessions that help staff adjust to new parenthood, organizes clubs that cater to various interests. It takes groups to football games and has even brought puppies into the office. On Father’s Day, it held a pickle-making workshop and on Mother’s Day a flower arranging class.

If a staffer is pulling long hours on a special project, said Zujew, “they’ll reach out to the family and make sure some Swiss Chalet is delivered to the home or a cleaning person is sent.” It’s a small investment with a big return in loyalty, he says.

“The cost to retrain somebody, to bring in a new employee and do all the onboarding is way greater than doing something like that.” 

Priyanka Mehandiratta, a Toronto-based human resources consultant, said employers are wise to take this kind of holistic approach to retention.

“Employees have a lot of choices now,” said Mehandiratta. “If the work doesn’t give you the satisfaction at the physiological level, you’re not going to do it for a long time.”

She says workplaces must cultivate an employee-friendly culture that’s inclusive and flexible. “If you’re stuck in an old-school model and still looking at when an employee is coming or leaving work, I don’t think you’re going to stay relevant.” 

In the end, it’s the employees who make the company and that’s the simple truth.– Priyanka Mehandiratta, HR consultant

Mehandiratta said employers can keep people happy by cultivating “a culture of feedback” so both staff and managers know how they’re doing.

“Listen to your employees, promote from within, train from within,” she said. When employees feel valued and heard, they’re more motivated to go above and beyond at work, said Mehandiratta.

“In the end, it’s the employees who make the company and that’s the simple truth.”  

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Real Estate

Montreal real-estate prices climbing much faster than Toronto or Vancouver: study

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MONTREAL — The cost of housing per square foot has skyrocketed in Montreal while other cities saw little change over the last year, according to a new national survey.

The study found that condominium prices in downtown Montreal are up 13.5 per cent from last year to, on average, $805 per square foot.

That’s not as high as other cities, but it’s catching up — and Montreal’s rate of growth is outpacing other major Canadian cities.

Toronto’s condo prices grew to $1083 per square foot, an increase of just under 10 per cent, according to the study. In Vancouver, where you can find some of Canada’s most expensive condo prices, rates are down 4 per cent to $1192 per square foot.

To make the comparisons, Canadian real estate giant Century 21 collected data from real estate boards across the country to calculate the home costs per square foot.

“It’s important to compare apple to apples,” said Todd Shyiak, the company’s vice president of operations.

Montreal’s rise was even more explosive for detached homes and townhouses.

Detached houses in Montreal’s downtown and southwest rose to $958 per square foot, 40 per cent up from last year.

“It’s wild,” said Century 21 broker Angela Langtry. She says the pandemic raised demand.

“People had a lot of time to figure out they don’t like the home they’re in,” she said. “They all want pools.”

There was a big spike in sales, she noted, following a pause in brokerage during the spring, at the peak of the pandemic.

Experts say the pandemic will push people into the suburbs as they search for affordable housing and home office space.

“A huge portion of our society’s housing needs changed overnight,” said Shyiak. People “no longer need to be 10 minutes from the office.”

He says that could mean less demand for condos in the future. “People want their own front door,” he said.

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Carttera buys prime downtown Montreal development site

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Carttera has acquired a prime downtown Montreal site at 1455 De La Montagne St. which will mark its third development on the thoroughfare.

“We think it’s probably one of the best, if not the best, locations in the whole city,” Carttera founding partner Jim Tadeson told RENX. “We’ve had great success on De La Montagne.”

The two earlier projects are: L’Avenue, a building with 393 residential units, 84,000 square feet of office space and 34,000 square feet of retail that was developed with Broccolini and occupied in 2017; and Arbora Residences, a two-phase development with 434 rental and condominium units in three buildings being built in partnership with Oxford Properties.

Thursday’s latest acquisition, for $48.5 million from 630745 Ontario, is a 31,750-square-foot surface parking lot with flexible mixed-use zoning on the corner of De La Montagne and De Maisonneuve Boulevard West.

The site is near the Vogue Hotel Montreal Downtown, the new Four Seasons Hotel Montreal and high-end retail.

“It’s zoned for up to 203,000 square feet of density, which we’re going to take advantage of,” said Tadeson. “Our vision for the site is a condominium project with some retail.”

Since there is no demolition required and no heritage issues to contend with, Toronto-based Carttera plans to move ahead quickly with the luxury project.

It’s in the concept design phase and Tadeson said it could take six months or more before it’s prepared to make a submission to the city.

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Real Estate

Montreal Has the Hottest Real Estate Market in Canada Right Now

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If you thought Toronto’s real estate market was on fire, it’s time for a second take, because the market in Montreal is the hottest in all of Canada right now.

A newly-released annual report from CENTURY 21 Canada reveals that, following an early-spring decline due to the COVID-19 pandemic, sales numbers are bouncing back and house prices across the country are maintaining their strength. The study compared the price per square foot of properties sold between January 1 and June 30 of this year, compared to the same period last year.

In Toronto and Vancouver, unsurprisingly, prices remain high. But while regions across the country are seeing varied stories when it comes to their housing market fluctuations, Montreal stands out — there, prices have increased dramatically since 2019. While the numbers remain lower than Toronto and Vancouver, that housing market is proving to be the country’s strongest right now.

In Quebec’s largest city, prices have increased significantly since last year, particularly in the downtown detached house and townhouse markets. For example, the price of a detached house in Montreal’s downtown and southwest rose 42.14% to $958 per square foot, while townhouses went up 44% to $768, and condos, 13.55% to $805. Comparatively, in Toronto and Vancouver, prices saw more modest increases or, in some cases, even declines.

“Even though real estate in Quebec was not considered an essential service, we have seen strong demand and a jump in prices in 2020,” said Mohamad Al-Hajj, owner of CENTURY 21 Immo-Plus in Montreal.

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