Quebec SMEs Study Reveals Recruiting and Retaining Talent, Digital Shift and Competitiveness at Heart of Concerns
MONTRÉAL, April 17, 2019 – Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton takes the concerns of local businesses to heart and decided to survey 300 SME business leaders to better understand the issues and challenges they face. The study highlights the following: international markets remain under-exploited, recruiting and retaining talent are a concern and the digital shift is essential for sustainability.
Conquering international markets: a huge potential to be exploited
The study reveals that only 10% of businesses carried out international development in the last two years and one in ten SMEs plans on doing so in the next five years. Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton President and CEO, Emilio B. Imbriglio said: “In a globalization era, the international market presents a huge opportunity. It’s astonishing to note that Quebec SMEs focus mainly on local growth, when in fact they now have global access. Local businesses need to take advantage of international agreements put in place by our governments, such as the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union, the newly signed Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, or the new version of NAFTA. They could be better supported, particularly given the fact that 81% of businesses surveyed that have set up operations abroad consider their transaction to have been successful.” This being said, companies are still pursuing growth opportunities: 62% have completed development activities in the past two years; 37% diversified their products and services, 31% created strategic partnerships and 27% entered a new market.
Digital shift: challenges and opportunities
Although the digital shift seems to be a major challenge for Quebec SMEs, only 43% invested in it last year. “You have to invest continuously to remain competitive in a business environment where digital and other technologies are omnipresent,” added Imbriglio.
More broadly, the survey reveals that 41% of leaders do not have the financial means to develop innovation and 51% are not aware of all the financial resources available. Imbriglio stated: “Companies must be given the means to achieve their ambitions in order to invest in innovation. As our firm has been proposing for many years, an innovation tax credit is essential to help them increase their technology investments and enable them to pursue growth opportunities.”
Labour shortage – a key priority
Although businesses are investing in training and development (83%), the greatest challenge is recruiting staff (48%), followed by retention (23%). According to Marc Audet, President of AURAY Sourcing, a Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton subsidiary: “In the context of the current labour shortage, local businesses will have to find creative solutions to fill this gap. One possible approach is to recruit specialized talent from outside the country, since temporary immigration makes it possible to fill key positions quickly across the province. Perhaps some of the funds generated by the Immigrant Investor Program, that are not subsidized by the government, could be allocated to cover part of the international recruiting costs. These small amendments would help support the growth of Quebec businesses.”
About Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton
Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton is a professional services firm dedicated to the success of organizations and their leaders since 1948. The firm‘s advisors are committed to helping clients thrive by obtaining a deep understanding of what is important to them, their business and their industry. This knowledge, combined with a team of motivated and talented professionals help accelerate growth. A Quebec and Canadian leader in the areas of assurance, tax, advisory services and business recovery and reorganization, Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton boasts more than 2,600 professionals, including approximately 200 partners, working in over 100 offices across the province of Quebec and in the Ottawa and Edmundston regions.
Together with Grant Thornton LLP, another Canadian firm, and the Grant Thornton global organization, our global footprint spans across more than 135 countries with over 53,000 people who provide real insight, a fresh perspective and agility to keep clients moving ahead.
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