“Our survey clearly shows that businesses can’t afford to ignore the major changes in Canada’s workforce and digital technology,” says Pierre Cléroux, Vice President, Research and Chief Economist at BDC. “The impacts of these trends are profound and offer great opportunities for Canadian business owners. Those who get ahead of the changes are building stronger, faster-growing and more profitable companies.”
“Digital technologies are already transforming how we live, learn and work,” says Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism. “This trend is only going to accelerate further. And while this technology represents tremendous opportunity, it also requires that we adapt to these modern realities. Our government is working hard to build a strong foundation of tools and supports, so that our entrepreneurs and small businesses have all of the resources they need to expand, grow and create modern jobs in today’s global economy.”
Embracing cultural diversity: a winning recruitment strategy
While several studies emphasize that companies with an ethnically diverse labour force perform better financially, only 6% of Canadian entrepreneurs reported relying on immigrant workers to fill their needs for skilled employees. Immigrants will account for two-thirds of Canada’s population growth in 2022 and up to 80% by 2032, according to Statistics Canada data.
“Our survey shows that entrepreneurs need to do more to understand the contributions that new Canadians could make to their business,” says Pierre Cléroux, Vice President, Research and Chief Economist at BDC. “Many business owners are missing out on this important pool of talent.”
Businesses that took action to facilitate hiring skilled workers, such as new Canadians, expect higher annual sales growth.
Use of e-commerce platforms expected to double by 2020
Digital platforms are making it simpler and more convenient for customers to get what they want, when they want it and how they want it. And consumers are making purchases armed with more information than ever before. In fact, BDC found that nine out of 10 consumers systematically visit a company’s website before contacting it for information, and more than half of the business-to-business buying process is done online before a salesperson is contacted.
According to BDC, businesses that have embraced digital technologies have improved their customer experience (49%), boosted revenue growth (34%), and enhanced their efficiency through lower costs (36%) and better productivity (45%).
Yet, survey results suggests that, social media aside, digital technology adoption remains quite low among small businesses, with less than one quarter of businesses with fewer than 20 employees currently using e-commerce platforms. Fortunately, this proportion is expected to rise to about 48% by 2020.
BDC’s survey was conducted online with 1,413 business leaders across Canada. The survey was sent to members of a BDC panel as well as to a group of panellists recruited by Maru/Matchbox.