Of this number, 93% do not intend to offer pension plans within the next three years, a press release said.
The SME Confidence Index stands at 67.4. The economic sluggishness plaguing Europe and the U.S. is affecting Québec SME leaders, pushing the index down by more than two points from May. That month, the reading was up slightly from February (+1 point).
The Index also found the majority of SMEs are still projecting a sales increase in the next 12 months – a sharp decrease of 7.1 points compared to three months ago, indicating much greater concern about sales.
SME owners generally anticipate a net increase in their number of employees in Québec, but more than 25% expect it to stay the same or decrease. Down just 1.1 points, this indicator has remained fairly stable since May.
Luc Godbout, a professor at Université de Sherbrooke and lead researcher in public finance at the Research Chair in Taxation and Public Finance, is especially interested in the labour shortage and the baby-boomer departure from the workforce. He said, “It’s astonishing how despite the fact that 40% of SMEs are already feeling the effects of the labor shortage on sales and believe that the imminent departure of the baby-boomers will affect their business, they are not clamoring to take advantage of the incentives offered by the Québec government to encourage experienced workers to remain in the workforce. The fact is that only one out of four favors holding onto workers by deferring their retirement. In-house training is a much more popular strategy, and sourcing is preferred to integrating immigrant workers.”
The online survey polled 215 Québec SMEs with 10 or more employees and sales of $5 million and greater. Respondents were invited to complete the survey between August 29 and September 8, 2011.