HR professionals expect hiring to be modest in early 2013, says the latest edition of the Flash-Emploi CRHA newsletter and survey.

For this first quarter of the year, the net difference between hiring expectations amounted to +3.9%, a 19% drop compared to Q4 2012. Additionally, the net difference in hours worked equals -0.1%, which represents a drop of 12.4% over last quarter.

Both of these indicators have fallen in relation to the end of 2012 and compared to a year ago.

“The job market is getting off to a slow start, particularly in large corporations where a number of managers anticipate they’ll have to reduce their workforce in the coming months,” says Florent Francoeur, Ordre President and CEO.

She adds, “Luckily, the situation is stable among SMEs, as well as in the public and parapublic sectors. [We] hope this slowdown will pick up.”

Read: Canadian job market rebounds

The good news is the anticipated gap between pay increases and inflation is positive for the second quarter in a row. This indicates many employers intend to offer above-inflation pay rises in the coming year.

Read: Canadians will get raises in 2013

Also, companies don’t seem to be experiencing the same levels of labour shortages as they were in late 2012.