When Carly Smith took a promotion and moved to a new advertising firm, she said one of the hardest parts of being on-boarded remotely was gauging the new company’s culture.

“You typically drink in a lot of culture just by being a fly on the wall,” said Smith, a Toronto-based advertising professional, in an interview. “You absorb it organically. Being in your home, and only being able to connect with people through a video call that’s quite orchestrated, made that part quite difficult.”

Getting up to speed in her new company's corporate culture and feeling productive also took longer than usual, as she didn’t have a deskmate to rely on for help about her new work environment, she said.

As economic activity ramps back up amid labour shortages found in some industries, that struggle to acclimatize in a new job is becoming a problem Canadian workers may soon face.



“The career business is sort of musical chairs.” said Bruce Powell, managing partner at recruiting firm IQ Partners Inc.  “When the music starts and everyone’s up and moving, that’s a good time to consider making a move because there are seats opening up.”

“If the economy is really good, or if the economy is really challenged, people move less. But when the economy is in a transition time, there’s this pent-up desire for change.”

Powell said his firm had notched a 21-year record for revenue with the phone ringing off the hook from clients at all employment levels, especially in mid-management positions.

“People haven’t gone on vacation, they haven’t left their house. They need to mix it up just to keep their sanity.” he said.



Hiring has picked up in Canada in the last few months, according to Riva Gold, Canada editor for LinkedIn News.

“Hiring is definitely up compared to one year ago,” said Gold in an interview. “It’s simply a better time to be looking for a new job than it was in spring or even summer of 2020.”

The social media site said hiring across most, but not all industries, really started picking up in May. Some industries, are even hiring at a faster rate than they were in 2019.

LinkedIn said its hiring rate for May, calculated by the number of users who added a new employer to their profile, divided by the total number of users in Canada, was up 124 per cent from may of 2020, and up 8.7 per cent from may of 2019.

The data points to an uneven recovery, but the hiring rate was up significantly in May for the healthcare, software and information technology, education and real estate sectors, when compared to the prior month, the prior year and 2019.

When comparing hiring activity to last year, the data can be skewed by early impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic which brought some industries to a standstill, said Gold. But others, she adds, are creating new positions because services offered are more in-demand now than they were pre-pandemic.

Unsurprisingly hiring activity in May for the recreation and tourism segment has made leaps and bounds from May of 2020, but activity was still 32.6 per cent lower than it was in 2019.



For those who didn’t lose their jobs as a result of the pandemic or are looking to change companies or even careers, priorities have shifted.

“Employees are still interested in advancing their careers,” said Gold. “But hours and location and well being have become much higher priorities than they were before.”

“Questions about working from home and hour flexibility, are coming up earlier in the hiring process, and more frequently.”

Nowadays, companies are aware they have to be prepared to offer improved flexibility in order to retain top talent, said Powell.

“Most businesses are not reverting back to their pre-pandemic structures,” said Powell. “Most are maintaining some sort of hybrid flexibility, so it’s not like going back to what it was.”

“The few companies that are structuring their future in an old-school nine-to-five manner are the ones struggling to find talent.”

Powell said the onus should mostly be on the new employer to make staff feel at home, even by remote.

“If there is a challenge, it’s the onboarding. It’s the socializing,” said Powell. “That’s where companies are going to have to work hard to make sure their employees are engaged.”



Any Canadian seeking a new job can expect increased competition from other fellow job-seekers, according to Gold, who advised that a job seeker would be wise to stress the skills acquired adapting to a remote-work environment, rather than worrying about any prolonged absence in a traditional office setting.

Having recently moved jobs herself, Smith stressed the importance of asking questions and setting boundaries.

“Don’t be afraid to set boundaries as work and life all of a sudden are all mixed up together.” said Smith.

“Take it slow and ask questions. You won’t be able to soak things up through your surroundings.”