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All Talent Development Centre posts for Canadian technology contractors relating to business in Canada.

What’s on the Minds of Canada’s CIOs?

Morley Surcon By Morley Surcon,
Vice-President Strategic Accounts & Client Solutions, Western Canada at Eagle

What's on the Minds of Canada's CIOs?

 

While many CIOs are great communicators and share clear and motivating visions for the future, some can be tougher to pin down and it is sometimes hard to see what makes them tick. Even if the CIO at the company where you work is one of the former, it is hard to tell if he or she is part of the majority. Well, all this is to say that ITWorld Canada released the 2019 Canadian CIO Census and I thought I’d share some of the findings as they apply to IT Labour with you. This is particularly good information as it is Canadian-only data, and most of what you find online is US-content-heavy. So, without further ado, here is what the IT leaders in Canada have on their minds!

Hiring Plans for the Coming Year

Almost half (48%) of those surveyed are expecting to keep IT headcount at current levels, either by choice or due to a hiring freeze; while over a third (37%) are looking to increase the size of their teams. This makes for robust demand for talent in Canada. Only 4% suggest that they will decrease the size of their departments.

Day-To-Day Concerns

While 16 different “concerns” were cited, the top 5 things that keep most CIOs up at night are: Data Security/Privacy Issues, Uptime/Reliabilty Concerns, Compliance Requirements, Business Innovation Demands, and tied for 5th place was Making Data Actionable and Staffing.

CIO’s concerns for finding the right resources for their teams and projects has grown by over 55% over the past 3 years. This is a result of unemployment rates of IT workers in Canada hovering around the 2% mark, on average. Most economists consider “full employment” to be around 4% unemployment… as a consequence, most regions in Canada are in a supply-constrained state. With things even tighter in the US, they are exporting their labour shortages to Canada, enticing Canadian workers to travel down to work on their projects or they are employing “remote work”. The results are the same, save a global downturn of some kind, IT labour supply is going to become tighter and tighter… and our CIOs know this.

ITCT, StatsCanada Chart - ICT Employment

In-Demand and Out-Of-Demand Areas in IT

CIOs report having the hardest time hiring for the following areas: AI, Data Analytics, IoT, Mobile Development, and Cloud Services. Specific roles that are of particular interest include Enterprise Application Developers, Big Data/Analytics Specialists, Business Analysts, and Project Managers. All this was consistent with the CIO Census finding from last year, with interest in Application Developers growing slightly.

Given the focus that much of Canada’s IT sector has been giving to Cloud and As-A-Service technologies, it isn’t too surprising that the IT roles where they report “negative demand” is a tie between Data Centre Management and Application Maintenance and Support.

Although there aren’t many IT roles that CIOs claim might be reduced, there are some roles that may see some “turbulence” with some CIOs claiming to need to hire, while others are looking to shed workers. These include Help Desk, IT Support, Network Security, and IT Generalists… some of the people working in these roles may experience opportunities ending at certain companies, but demand from other companies will more than offsets the reductions that are expected, with the number of CIOs “hiring” outstripping those “downsizing” 3:1.

If you are interested in reading the entire CIO Census report, you may do so here.

 

Digging into the Trends and In-Demand Skills of the Canadian IT Job Market

Omar Khan By Omar Khan,
Account Executive at Eagle

Digging into the Trends and In-Demand Skills of the Canadian IT Job Market

 

Having worked in Western Canada’s IT staffing industry for several years, I’ve had the opportunity to see trends come and go, and I find it especially interesting to look deeper into what’s driving them. In our industry, perhaps the two most common trends we regularly monitor are overall hiring trends and demands for specific skills. Here are a few of my observations about what’s happening in the market today.

Overall Hiring Trends

Companies across Canada continue to talk about skills shortages and this will continue to be a topic of focus in the future. Managers in the IT sector are finding that additional duties are being put on their plates and thus the need for additional staff is growing. This lack of IT personnel not only affects the IT department but has an impact in other parts of the organization.

To address staffing issues, a trend that we have seen is that more and more organizations are hiring junior staff. They invest and hope to retain them by paying them well and/or train them on additional skills.

Another trend on the rise to address the shortages is allowing more remote work from different parts of the country, therefore gaining access to a larger talent pool.

Organizations are increasingly turning to staffing firms to help with their contingency workforce. Due to hiring freezes, contract work is on the rise and organizations are bringing in a contingent workforce, as contingent workers do not count towards organizational headcount.

Overall, we expect that organizations will continue to use staffing firms in large volumes, to access greater candidate pools to find top talent and to manage their contingent workforce.

More Specific In-Demand Skills

To understand where the location of job opportunities and what skills clients are hunting for most, it’s best to start at the top and understand what’s driving demand. Knowing what organizations are prioritizing and valuing gives insight into what kind of contractors they want to hire. Here are 8 specific trends I’ve noticed, and the in-demand skills as a result:

  1. Trends related to digital transformation continue and individuals with Transition and Change Management experience are growing in demand. In terms of accreditation for these types of roles, we are seeing requirements that include PROSCI for Change Managers and PMP for various other IT roles. The PMP certification is an indication there is more of an emphasis on soft skills for IT professionals to encourage productive collaboration.
  2. Hybrid-like roles are emerging as certain IT Professionals are wearing multiple hats i.e. Business Financial Analyst, Project Managers with Change Management backgrounds. On the notion of multiple hats, Managers are being asking for certification in AGILE, PMP and Scrum.
  3. The Cloud continues to be a popular subject and, with that, roles specializing in cloud migration, cloud system engineers, cloud architecture and cloud developers are also growing in popularity. Through these respective clouds, we are seeing more demand for experience in Virtual Machines.
  4. Healthcare continues to see transformation and in the needs of IT personnel. Cyber Security around healthcare is becoming more and more important. For example, many provinces are continuing to put strong emphasis on confidentiality of Electronic Medical Records and the patient privacy that surrounds them. This increases the need for security professionals across the country, especially in healthcare industry.
  5. Making sense of the overload of information and data in today’s business landscape is on the rise. Professionals with backgrounds in analyzing big data are in high demand. Roles such as BI Analysts and Data Scientist are roles our organization has filled and we continue to see demand.
  6. There is also consistent demand regarding network administrations, help desk and desktop support. Particularly around network administration, we are seeing requirements in certification such as CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) and other Cisco Certifications in security.
  7. Speaking of certifications, these can add up to 10 % in people’s salaries and add specialized knowledge. Certification in ITIL, MCSA (Microsoft certified solutions Associate), SAS and BI all are proving to be valuable.
  8. In many cases, tech is mixing with other areas of organizations. For example, we’re seeing more and more IT roles with more of marketing background in SEO, PPC, and Email Marketing .

Of course, that is just a few things we’re seeing right now. The future will see more opportunities in different areas. Although already popular, we’re bracing for an influx in demand for Blockchain, Machine Learning and AI.

Landing Your First Job in the Tech Sector in Canada

Sam Rahbar By Sam Rahbar,
Director, Training & Corporate Recruitment at Eagle

 

Landing Your First Job in the Tech Sector in Canada

 

Having moved to Canada at the age of 20, I personally experienced spinning wheels in the “job search”, feeling lost and hopeless. Fast forward 20 years later, there are thousands more jobs in the market but the challenges seem to remain the same.

I am approached every day by IT professionals through LinkedIn who are planning to move to Canada. They consistently ask me for direction and advice so I thought I would capture my thoughts once and for all.

Canada has been enjoying a steady growth in the tech sector, thanks in part to immigration policies that are driving U.S companies to expand their operations in Toronto and throughout Canada, according to an article by CIC News.

The article states that between 2013 and 2018, there were 80,100 tech jobs created in Toronto, as well as 22,466 tech degrees issued. That means there were 57,634 more tech jobs than tech grads. The article references a CBRE report that says “Toronto and the San Francisco Bay Area stand out as strong tech talent job creators each adding at least 54,000 more tech talent jobs than graduates,” the CBRE report says.

This should surely mean that it would be easy to land an IT gig in Canada, right? Unfortunately, it’s not quite that easy because “Canadian Experience” is a common requirement. Just ask thousands of IT professionals who immigrate to Canada in hopes of picking up where they left off and continuing their career in Technology in Canada.

Here are a few tips to consider in landing your first IT job in Canada:

Don’t Rely Too Much on IT Staffing Agencies

There are many IT specific staffing firms/recruitment agencies in Canada (over 330!). They operate by charging their clients (companies who are hiring) to find them top talent (IT professionals) within a very short timeline. Clients invest good money to have access to candidates with recent and relevant experience, ideally from a competitor across the street (i.e. Banks wants people from similar banks and phone companies want people who worked for their direct telecommunication competitors). This applies across the board for 95% of the agencies out there. They thrive on providing access to Just-In-Time talent.

While you may be qualified and capable of doing these jobs, they are looking for more than someone who can do the job, they also want someone who has done the job.

Because of this, Agency Recruiters will rarely be helpful to you until you have your first local job or contract. At that point, you will want to start building a relationship with them and they will fast track your next step, guaranteed!

Apply to Jobs Directly, and Target Smaller Companies

In continuation of the previous point, apply directly to the companies you are targeting. Ideally, follow smaller companies.

Applying to job postings from the agencies or large organizations means you will be playing the waiting game. Big companies/brands tend to have many openings, but they also must screen through hundreds if not thousands of applicants for their openings. And, they also tend to hire individuals with local experience and from their competitors. Since their applicant pools is so vast, they can afford to be picky.

Small companies, on the other hand, typically do not have big recruitment budgets and they are looking for individuals who want to wear multiple hats. They are open to developing the right candidate, as it is win/win for both parties.

Finally, regardless of where you apply, make sure to keep track of your resume/application. This way you can follow-up, and it will also save you from looking disorganized (.i.e. you won’t be that candidate that applies to the same job multiple times).

Work with Career Coaches and Job Developers

There are many organizations who provide support in the job search world. Work with independent, government-backed entities such as Destination CEO. If you are in Toronto, connect with superstars such as Meena Dowlwani, who is doing some incredible work bridging skill and employment gaps. You might also check out agencies such as Costi, who offer various workshops that will keep your job hunt skills sharp!

Network

This is my #1 piece of advice. I cannot stress enough the power and importance of Networking. If you are looking for a fulltime role, your personality, energy, vibe and communication is 90% of the deal. None of these traits shine through on your resume!

Be Visible

Your LinkedIn profile needs to be up-to-date. Once you make meaningful connections, it is key that you follow up on LinkedIn and also connect in platforms such as this one. There are way more backdoor references that happen through LinkedIn than you can imagine! To many IT recruiters, if you don’t exist on LinkedIn, you do not exist!

Stay Positive

Desperation is visible, so don’t let it affect you! Be mindful of your attitude and approach your search with smile and energy! Keep this in mind, along with all the other tips and you’re sure to be a step ahead in your new job search.

Best of luck!

Canadian Technologies That Contribute to Global Innovation

Happy Canada Day to all Canadians, near and far, on paper and in spirit! Today is a day to celebrate what makes our country so great, including the innovations that contribute to Canada’s success on the global stage.

A couple years ago, in celebration of Canada’s 150th, BellMTS put together this infographic displaying the technologies and inventions by Canadians that made a lasting impact. We’ve always known Canadians are awesome, but you may be surprised at just how many technologies Canadians have contributed to.

So, when you are looking at the fireworks tonight in awe and amazement, think about all 150 years of Canadian innovation.

Canadian Technologies That Contribute to Global Innovation

Summary: Enhancing Canada’s Critical Infrastructure Resilience to Insider Risk

Enhancing Canada’s Critical Infrastructure Resilience to Insider RiskEarlier this year, the Canadian Government released a document to provide Canadian critical infrastructure organizations information on how to mitigate insider risk. It defines insider risk as “anyone with knowledge or access to an organization’s infrastructure (both physical and computer networks) who maliciously, or by chance, misuses their trusted access to harm the organization’s employees, customers, assets, reputation or interests. As defined by Carnegie Mellon’s CERT Insider Threat Centre (CERT Inside Threat Center, 2016), an insider risk is a person that works from within an organization to subvert the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the information contained within the walls of that entity.”

Given security risks are relevant for all technology professionals in all industries, it is a good document to read through and understand. If you can’t look at it immediately, here is a summary of the eight recommended security actions, divided into three themes:

Theme 1: Establish a Holistic Approach to Security

  1. Establish a Culture of Security
    1. Establish Senior Management Engagement and Accountability
    2. Identify a Senior Official Responsible for Managing Insider Risks
    3. Build a Whole-of-Organization Commitment to Security and Emphasize Leadership at All Levels
  2. Develop Clear Security Policies and Procedures
    1. Define Clear Expectations and Outcomes (ex. account access management, password control and integrity, access rights, etc.)
    2. Identify Risk Levels of Positions in the Organization
    3. Align Employee Access with Position Risk Levels
  3. Reduce Risks from Partners and Third Party Providers
    1. Understand Key Assets and Systems
    2. Know Your Partners
    3. Know Your Risks

Theme 2: Know and Empower Your People

  1. Implement a Personnel Screening Life-Cycle
    1. Conduct Pre-employment Screening
    2. Implement Ongoing Employee Security Screening
    3. Incorporate Departure and Internal Movement Procedures
    4. Establish Transparent Security Policies
  2. Provide Training, Raise Awareness, and Conduct Exercises
    1. Provide Regular Training to Decrease the Risk of Unintended Security Infractions
    2. Raise Awareness of Potential Warning Signs (ex. alcohol abuse, changes in financial situation, absenteeism, etc.)
    3. Foster a Culture of Vigilance and Empower Employees

Theme 3: Identify and Protect what is Critical

  1. Identify Critical Assets and Protect Them
    1. Identify and Rank Key Assets and Systems
    2. Secure Key Assets and Systems
    3. Leverage Signage and Visible Deterrents to Access
    4. Apply the Principle of Least Privilege
    5. Separate Duties
  2. Monitor, Respond to, and Mitigate Unusual Behaviour
    1. Track Remote Access and Monitor Device Endpoints
    2. Establish Effective Incident Reporting, Tracking, and Response Measures
    3. Raise Awareness of best practices regarding the use of Social Networking Sites
  3. Protect Your Data
    1. Establish and Test Business Continuity Plans and Procedures
    2. Implement Procedures to Limit Information Exit Points

Motivation and Opportunity: Entrepreneurship, Career Change in Canada’s Female Workforce

Guest post by Gloria Martinez of womenled.org

Motivation and Opportunity: Entrepreneurship, Career Change in Canada’s Female WorkforceA recent study of Canadian workers by the recruitment agency Hays Canada has revealed that half of the working professional population are unhappy in their current jobs. And unhappiness among female workers appears to be at an all-time high — 54 percent of Canadian women fantasize about quitting their jobs with many claiming they want more money, while others put the blame on a bad culture fit.

For many Canadian women, happiness at work didn’t happen until they made a career change. Many chose to follow a private passion rather than fight their way along a difficult and frustrating career path to advancement in companies that showed little interest in cultivating and promoting in-house talent. The fact that Canadian women are starting businesses at a higher rate than women in any other G20 country is a positive and encouraging indication that many are seeking personal happiness through entrepreneurship.

Opportunity and pay

Many have gone out on their own having grown tired of too few opportunities to take advantage of their education and experience. Canada’s gender pay gap is one of the largest among industrialized countries, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. Pay inequity has led many Canadian women to seek better options in other fields, including finance, construction and civil engineering, and take advantage of hot new job markets, such as computer and information systems, medicine and human resources.

A new career

One of the most positive life changes you can make is deciding to turn a passion into a career and start enjoying the prospect of going to work every day. Former Toronto advertising exec Jane Canapini decided to start a travel blog after a memorable hiking trip to Greece and Italy. Andrea Raco left the insurance business to become a personal success coach. If that sounds appealing, decide on what happiness and success mean to you. It could lead to anything from starting a dog-walking service to designing commercial websites or writing online marketing content for a broad range of clients.

Emphasize personal strengths

Becoming an entrepreneur can mean embracing radical change, like working from home or working a second job while getting a new business idea off the ground. Phoebe Fung of Calgary gave up a career in the oil and gas industry to pursue her passion for wine to open Calgary’s first wine bar. Despite struggling to find financing, within a decade Fung’s Vin Room had opened three locations in the Western Canadian city. The appeal of doing what she loves was strong enough that Fung was willing to forego a salary in the first two years according to the details of the financing deal she was able to secure.

Refreshing your resume

For anyone wanting to sell their strengths and experience to a prospective employer or seek funding for a new venture, an updated, well-written and attention-grabbing cover letter and resume are essential. Remember that a good resume should strike a balance between brevity/concision and compelling information, while a solid cover letter will be written toward the industry to which you’re applying.

If your resume needs a good overhaul, check out online resume templates for appealing designs/layouts and color combinations. A potential employer in a different industry will want to see evidence of initiative, creative thinking and resourcefulness; in other words, evidence that you would make a good addition despite having come from a different field.

Today, women in Canada are heading financial technology companies, philanthropic organizations, fashion companies and boutique bakeries, while organizations like Women in Communications and Technology seek to encourage greater female participation in the digital industry. An increasingly tech-savvy and agile workforce is helping create new – and, in some cases, unforeseen – opportunities.

Canada’s Small Business Tax Changes from the New Federal Budget

Morley Surcon By Morley Surcon,
Vice-President, Western Canada at Eagle

Canada's Small Business Tax Changes from the New Federal BudgetI thought I would write this blog entry as a follow up to another that I’d written a number of weeks ago entitled, “Canada’s Proposed Tax Changes for Small Business” where I encouraged the contracting community to take notice, get educated and have their voices heard.  With the presentation of the new Federal Budget, these are no longer “proposed changes” but are, in fact, the new reality of the corporate tax system and its policies.

What was presented was a good news/bad news story for the small business owner. Finance Minister Bill Morneau was forced to consider the backlash from the policy changes that he and his government proposed several months ago, resulting in a somewhat softened stance when it came to Small Business Tax policy.  The final policy, presented along with the rest of the Federal Budget, took some of the sharp edges off their plans for reform, but it will still have its impact felt by the small business owner.

The following are some of the take-aways from the new budget as it pertains to Small Business Taxes and their implementation:

  • Income splitting has now been addressed and curtailed
  • New passive income taxation rules won’t have much of an effect on newer businesses or very small businesses starting out; but will impact older, better established and/or highly successful businesses whose passive earnings are already built up and substantial. Any company earning $50,000 or less in passive income will qualify for the Small Business Tax Rate but, once more passive earnings are reported, the tax rate will gradually increase until the point where passive income equals $150,000 (or more) and at that point passive income will be taxed at the General Corporate Tax Rate levels.
  • A concern that is getting a lot of attention is the widening gap between Canada and the USA’s corporate and personal tax environments. With the new tax reforms south of the border, there is a more significant tax advantage in doing business as a US-based entity; and this provides their companies with economic advantages over Canadian businesses. Investment becomes more difficult to attract which impacts Canadian companies’ ability to innovate and build. Moreover, there is a growing fear that mobile professionals such as doctors, scientists and technology professionals may choose to relocate state-side to take advantage of higher wages (paid in US$) and lower taxes.

There’s quite obviously a lot more to it than the above three points.  You can read more about it by following the links below:

If you have ideas, comments or opinions about the new Federal Budget that you would like to share with our readership, please leave a comment below!

What Stats Canada Says About Canadians and Digital Technology

When we reference Statistics Canada, it’s usually in regards to unemployment rates and stats around job trends that are important for any employer or job seeker to know. Of course, Stats Canada does more than track job trends. Among the many items they track, they keep a close eye on technology, where it’s going and how Canadians are interacting with it.

Towards the end of 2017, Stats Canada released this infographic discussing The Internet and Digital Technology. We can use it to draw many conclusions, although there is nothing extremely new. Canadians are continuing to use technology to improve their lives for many reasons and the younger generations are embracing it more. The infographic can pull you in further when you start reviewing the specific stats and trends about the types of devices used and their popularity, as well as the popularity of the Internet across Canadian provinces.

2018 is Looking Great for Jobs in Canada… What Does That Mean for Employers?

David O'Brien By David O’Brien,
Vice President, East Region & Government Services at Eagle

As we head into the New Year, the economic news across the country, especially as it relates to employment and jobs in Canada, would strongly suggest we are at or close to peak full employment in Canada. While some regions are more active than others, we are seeing in many cities and provinces the lowest unemployment recorded in over 40 years! Canada created over 422,000 jobs last year, the best year since 2002, and many are full time. Quebec is at a record low 4.9%, plus Ontario and the West are also performing.

2018 is Looking Great for Jobs in Canada... What Does That Mean for Employers?Further economic indicators point to and back up this booming jobs market as wages have begun to creep up, a sure sign of a tight labour market. The Bank of Canada increased its rate a quarter point early this month, the 3rd increase since last July. The US economy looks to be also firing on all cylinders with recent massive tax changes which will only serve to increase the Canadian export economy provided a certain “very stable genius” doesn’t cancel NAFTA.

Here at Eagle, we are undoubtedly experiencing the effects of such a market in seeing a shortage of available candidates, candidates receiving multiple offers and down time between assignments being very short or non-existent. The ACSESS Staffing Index, a measure of billing hours in Canada among temporary labour, bears this out as it hits some of its highest levels in years. We also know that the “Technology” unemployment rate in Canada is likely less than half the nominal rate, likely in or around 2%.

Recent conversations with both the Federal Government and Ontario government suggest a looming crisis in attracting the next generation of technology professionals so desperately needed as their workforce ages out.

So what can clients, companies and governments do to thrive in a very tight job market? Here are a few suggestions meant to help navigate successfully to get the right people at the right time.

  • Review your hiring processes to be sure they are tight and efficient. Accelerate your hiring process where you can. Candidates with multiple offers — the “A” candidates — will not be available through an extended interview or hiring process in this market.
  • Hiring Managers need to review expectations. Many skills will not see multiple candidates to assess and therefore be sure you prioritize your “must have criteria” as the days of a candidate having 10 out of 10 requirements may no longer be realistic.
  • Work with your agency partners. Ensure a good and accelerated feedback loop exists, be proactive with your staffing partners on upcoming needs, be nimble on offers, and review competitive rates and salaries with your agency partners and others in the market to be sure your expectations align.
  • Make sure you understand your value proposition as a company to attract “A”candidates and articulate it to your partners so that we can help you. Know your organization’s “sizzle and its steak “. Understand your market, your comp structures and skills availabilities in your market and engage your staffing partners to fill in the gaps
  • It’s not the time to “overplay” your hiring hand. The market has changed and being slow to the market will not reward you. Be flexible. You will need valued partners because all but a very, very few elite companies will need help since the days of advertising an opening and sitting back to see what comes are gone

There will always be other ongoing events to stay abreast of, for example Toronto recently making the “shortlist” for the new Amazon HQ, (a move Apple no doubt is now likely to repeat). Although chances are slim they ultimately win, imagine if they did. It would present a huge game changer and competition for not only all of Toronto’s employers but many in Canada as well!

Organizations can still get the “A” candidates if they take to heart some of these and other suggestions and adapt to the marketplace. If not, it’s going to be costly with C and D level candidates.

Quarterly Job Market Update Across Canada – Q3 2017

Kevin Dee By Kevin Dee,
Chairman of the Board at Eagle

General Observations:

The unemployment rate at the end September was 6.2%, an improvement from the 6.5% unemployment rate at the end of June.  During the previous 12 months, Canada added 320,000 jobs (almost 289,000 full time).

For the purposes of this report I focus on the TSX and during the third quarter it returned to the Q1 level just above 15,600, a gain of about 500 points.

The oil patch continues to struggle, with the price of a barrel hovering in and around the $50 a barrel range.  The continued lack of support from the various levels of government has led to the cancellation of the Energy East pipeline.  This will mean (a) lost jobs, but also (b) reinforce a message to the investment community that Alberta oil is not a good investment.

The Canadian dollar has been relatively strong lately and in the third quarter ranged between 78c US and 82c US.

There is little change in the banking sector, which is one of the bigger employers in Canada.  The talent demands for the banks address areas such as regulatory changes, new product development, new service offerings and addressing the aging workforce.  On the other side, new technology and offerings also displaces some of the roles traditionally found at the banks.  The banks remain a good place to find employment, but increasingly the skills needed are specialised.

The telecommunications sector is another large employer in Canada.  Like the banks, this sector is operating in an environment affected by new technological change, demographic pressures and regulatory change in addition to extreme competition.  While they demand the best talent in order to compete, they are also careful about keeping employment costs under control, particularly as they are also acquisitive, which can mean a big focus on integration of acquired companies.  Some of the drivers of demand here include the highly competitive nature of the business, investment in infrastructure, technological innovation and a need to plan for a retiring “Boomer” workforce.

The US economy continues to add jobs, and over the third quarter averaged about 90,000 new jobs per month.  The demand for skills in the US is luring talent from Canada which is good for the individuals but not so good for Canada in the long term.

The demand for the “trades” continues unabated, as the construction industry seems to be forever busy.  Cranes dot the skies of Canada’s largest cities, and home renovation projects are hard to staff!

The three levels of government in Canada are big employers.  As an example almost all of the jobs added in Canada in September (about 100,0000) can be attributed to public sector jobs.  Clearly the increased government spending is not a boon for the economy, but good for those looking for public sector jobs.

The Canadian Staffing Index is an indicator of the strength of the largest provider of talent in any economy (the staffing industry) and an excellent barometer of the health of Canada’s economy. The reading at the end of the second quarter was 114, which was up from 110 last quarter, and also 110 in Q3 last year.

Here at Eagle, we experienced an expected drop in demand over the Summer months, of about 10% from the second quarter however demand was up 10% over the same quarter in 2016.  There was a corresponding drop in people looking for work over the Summer months.

More Specifically:

The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) is Eagle’s busiest region, representing about 60% of our business.  It is also the 4th largest city in North America, containing more than 50% of Canadian head offices and with a population of approximately six (6) million.  This market continues to be one of the busiest markets in Canada, and we see strong demand from our clients for skilled talent.  There is some concern that new legislation from the Ontario Government (Bill 148) will have a negative effect on the temporary help market in particular.

Western Canada continues to struggle, receiving little help from our Federal government and not helping themselves much at the provincial level.  The cancelling of the Energy East pipeline was a tough blow for the region and optimism in the oil patch is low.  While the Conference Board had expected Alberta to be the fastest growing province in Canada for 2017 I doubt we will see that happen.  The BC economy continues to do well despite the concerns about legislation to curb foreign investment in real estate.

Eagle’s Eastern Canada region covers Ottawa, Montreal & the “Maritimes”.  Ottawa is very much a government town again, although there are some smaller tech companies rising from the ashes of Nortel, JDS and the previously large tech sector. The government continues to employ a lot of people (22,000 more in The NCR since the Liberal government took office) but despite significant Federal government hiring the unemployment rate in Ottawa has been a concern.  Quebec appears to be enjoying a renaissance as its unemployment rate is now better than Ontario’s, in addition to having healthier finances.  They have been able to attract industries (such as large data centres) to help the economy and add jobs.  It doesn’t hurt that their hydro rates are very competitive as opposed to Ontario’s situation.  The Maritime Provinces don’t represent a great opportunity for the job seeker, however PEI and Nova Scotia are both showing signs of an improving economy.

The Hot Client Demand.

At Eagle our focus in on professional staffing and the people in demand from our clients have been fairly consistent for some time.  Program Managers, Project Managers and Business Analysts always seem to be in demand. It might just be our focus, but Change Management and Organizational Excellence resources are in relatively high demand too. Digital, big data, data scientists, analytics, CRM, web (portal and self-serve) and mobile expertise (especially developers) are specializations that we are seeing more and more. On the Finance and Accounting side, we see a consistent need for Financial Analysts, Accountants with designations and public accounting experience plus Controllers as a fairly consistent talent request. Expertise in the Capital markets, both technical and functional, tends to be a constant ask in the GTA.  Technology experts with functional expertise in Health Care is another skill set that also sees plenty of demand.  This demand fluctuates based on geography and industry sectors, so we advise candidates to watch our website and apply for the roles for which they are best suited.

Outside of Eagle’s realm some of the in-demand skills include the classic tradespeople, drivers, and new tech skills like Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, video gaming skills etc.

Summary:

There are numerous good indicators for Canada’s economy and hence job seekers, but there are also some challenges on the horizon:

  • NAFTA re-negotiations may have a negative impact on our economy;
  • We don’t yet understand all the implications of the Energy East project being cancelled;
  • January in Ontario will see the introduction of Bill 148, a severe increase in minimum wage plus new labor laws that will hurt business and cost jobs;
  • January we will see the introduction of new carbon taxes in Ontario;
  • Our Federal Government is introducing new tax changes affecting small business, possibly to help pay for their out of control spending;
  • At the same time that Canada is raising taxes, the US is encouraging small business through tax breaks, which may well cost Canada as some companies will be forced to go where they can make money.

If all of this goes ahead, then we will see a big impact on the job market.

Canada added 320,000 jobs in the last year which is good news for today’s job seekers.  The BIG elephant in the room is whether the factors listed above will conspire to undermine our economy and create a government driven recession.

For job seekers there remain the bright spots, caused by demographic shifts (retiring Baby Boomers), jobs moving to Canada from more expensive places like Silicon Valley and companies developing new technologies.  The large employers, such as banking sector, insurance sector, retail sector, telecommunications sector and the construction industry will always require large workforces representing job opportunity. The growth of the “gig economy” creates new opportunities for people to define their own destiny and become mini-entrepreneurs, or build new enterprises.

The effect of US policy changes by the Trump administration remain to be seen.  Having said that, some possible impacts include immigration (positive for Canada); trade agreements & protectionist policies such as the NAFTA negotiations (possibly negative for Canada); and defense (possibly negative for Canada) all having some impact.

Job seekers should research and understand the growing sectors and where the in-demand jobs are.  They also need to be willing to go where the work is!  If I was looking for work I would be moving to the larger centres, investing in in-demand skills and increasing my marketability with the right “attitude”.

That was my look at the Canadian job market for the third quarter of 2017 and some of its influences.