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Regional Job Market Update for British Columbia (November 2019)

Cameron McCallum By Cameron McCallum,
Regional Vice President at Eagle
Downtown Vancouver Sunset
Downtown Vancouver Sunset” by Magnus Larsson is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

According to Central1, the BC economy continues to be one of the strongest in Canada and a couple of key indicators were quite positive in October. Employment numbers were up 0.6% which represents 15,300 persons or nearly 2.57 million persons seasonally adjusted. Most of this uptick came from the Vancouver Metropolitan Area (28,000 persons) and the news wasn’t so positive in other parts of the province where the natural resources, goods producing and manufacturing sectors all showed weakness. Interestingly, real estate sales in the lower mainland which had showed signs of weakening after government-introduced impediments is showing signs of a rebound, and MLS sales climbed for the 7th time in the past 8th months. BC’s unemployment rate at 4.7% remains the country’s lowest followed by Quebec at 5%. Low unemployment rates suggests a tight labor market and here at Eagle, the challenge to meet our clients’ demands means we need to use all tools at our disposal to reach an often “passive” candidate pool who in turn, have the luxury of picking and choosing which opportunities to pursue.

With all this in mind, BC continues to be an exceptional place to be if you are working in the IT/IM sector. Jobs remain plentiful in the public and private sectors as organizations pursue their own brand of digital transformation in an effort to better deliver value to their customers. This might be focused internally on projects that help an enterprise better manage their data (Business Intelligence) or in how a firm manages their IS, as either on premise, cloud or a hybrid solution. And because this technology impacts so many organizational domains, it in turn fuels other initiatives needed to support the transformation and this seeds other projects.

What makes these projects so exciting is that the technologies being employed are somewhat newer and experience — or even better, expertise — with that tool immediately puts you in demand. This might involve technologies associated with the Microsoft stack and Azure and feature products like SSIS, SSRS and Power BI. Or, if the project is using open-source utilities, you might be noticing expertise is required with Hadoop, Spark, Scala, Kafka or Hortonworks.

Speaking of software companies and products, BC continues to be a hotbed of established and younger IT product and services companies, perfect for the new grad or experienced Software Engineer. In fact, in a list published November 8th, Deloitte announced the 2019 winners of its Technology Fast 50, Companies-to-Watch and Enterprise Fast 15 Programs and 10 of the top 50 were BC Tech companies (2nd only to Ontario).

BC remains a strong market for IT professionals and the myriad selection of projects that require top resources does not seem to be abating, especially in the lower mainland. The extra work for IT professionals is the never-ending onus to upgrade and keep your skills and experience relevant and that can be a challenge.

BC Technology Jobs Aren’t Only in Vancouver

Cameron McCallum By Cameron McCallum,
Regional Vice President at Eagle

Vancouver Victoria, Canada’s Newest Tech Hub!

Victoria, Canada’s Newest Tech Hub!Who knew? Ask anybody about Silicon Valley North and they will very likely mention Vancouver and the well-established and recently emerging tech sector that is driving a great deal of the city’s business environment. And they wouldn’t be wrong. But Victoria — “home of the newly wed and nearly dead” — is not just managing to sneak into the conversation, they are earning bragging rights of their own with nearly 900 tech companies, 20,000 workers and close to 4 billion generated in economic impact. While they won’t challenge Vancouver when it comes to sheer size and muscle power, Victoria is punching well above its weight.

On a recent trip to the provincial capital, I had the opportunity to speak to a number of clients who talked about the importance of the industry and how it has helped to revitalize the city, including the reestablishment of the downtown core area and the development of tech nodes such as the Vancouver Island Technology Park which shares space with Camosun College and Fort Techtoria. Fort Techtoria is the brainchild of VIATEC (Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council whose stated mission is “to serve as the one-stop hub that connects people, knowledge and resources to grow and promote the Greater Victoria technology sector”. A visit to the webpage gives the following quote from Dan Gunn, Executive Director of VIATEC.

Fort Tectoria Logo“We built Fort Tectoria to support entrepreneurs, creators and innovators throughout Greater Victoria. Much more than just well-appointed offices housing 35 early-stage tech companies on the upper floors, our main floor was designed to provide a gathering place for hackers, makers, movers and shakers to host meetups, workshops, networking sessions and events. We look forward to hearing what you have in mind.”

Why Victoria? A few common themes came to light. First, Victoria isn’t Vancouver. The cost of doing business reflects life in a smaller community. Space is certainly cheaper and workers who can’t afford or are otherwise allergic to the price of real estate in Vancouver, find Victoria to be a bit easier on the paycheck. Accordingly, demand for new office space from within the tech sector has now outpaced government in the downtown core, and interestingly, in a city as old as Victoria, this demand has specifically targeted older character buildings giving new purpose and life to the city’s historical assets. The sense of support in the community was also mentioned. The idea that VIATECH exists to help get industry together to solve problems and share ideas is a powerful magnet for startups and tech enterprises. And what about attracting applicants for work? It is a challenge but the same sense of community, decent weather by Canadian standards and a conglomeration of tech business means the word is getting out and the same workers who may have once targeted Vancouver are now starting to take notice of Victoria.

Are you interested in working on the island? If so, Eagle is always looking for great candidates for a variety of roles with great clients in Victoria.