Senior level chartered accountants in Canada expect fewer university and/or college graduates to be hired this year, according to the most recent CICA/RBC Business Monitor (Q1 2009).

Although half of the respondents indicated that their hiring levels were expected to be unchanged from a year ago, 17% indicated that their company’s hiring levels would decrease. This is up sharply from 8% of respondents last year. Only 6% of the respondents suggested that their company was planning to increase the number of graduates hired in 2009.

Respondents indicating that they plan to hire fewer graduates compared with last year were most likely to cite the economic downturn in Canada or decreased sales. Other factors referenced included an economic slowdown in the United States or an economic slowdown in other markets.

“The fact that the number of graduates hired may decrease this year is not a surprise,” said Kevin Dancey, president and CEO, Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA). “Companies are making tough choices in these tough times. However, as we recently reported, these same chartered accountants expect Canada to experience economic growth by the end of the second quarter of 2010. Perhaps, those tough decisions will soon become a little easier to make.”

For this Q1 2009 report, emailed surveys were completed by 539 CAs of 3,724 identified by the CICA as holding senior positions (CFOs, CEOs and COOs) in publicly or privately held companies in Canada. The response rate was 14%, with a margin of error associated with this type of study at +/- 4.2%, with a confidence level of 95%.