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Tag Archives: in-demand skills

Regional Job Market Update for Calgary, Alberta (December 2020)

Kelly Benson By Kelly Benson,
Branch Manager at Eagle

Regional Job Market Update for Calgary, AlbertaMuch like everywhere else in the world, Calgary’s economic recovery hinges on COVID-19 spread, as well as the availability of vaccines to finally put the pandemic behind us. If that weren’t enough of a challenge, our city’s recovery also depends on reasonable global oil prices, which could quickly be impacted by ongoing disputes in the Middle East over production levels.

Calgary’s unemployment rate is currently sitting at 10.4% and the economic data that is rolling in suggests that the path to recovery will be prolonged. It will most likely take a couple of years to build back what has been lost. 

While we are expecting COVID-19 to leave a lasting mark on the labour market and a long, slow recovery, we are starting to trend in the right direction.  

  • The number of job orders coming into our Calgary office is nearing where it was at the beginning of 2020.
  • While contract rates fell in some job categories in the early days of the pandemic, rates have been holding steady for the past 5-6 months.
  • Companies across the country have adapted well to remote work. As such, there is a greater appetite for remote workers and the job market for Calgarians is becoming more national in scale. Many local consultants are taking advantage of this to keep their skills current while the local market continues to recover.
  • The unemployment rate for IS careers typically runs a few percentage points below the general average, so we are closer to “a balanced labourmarket” than what it may look like in the government labour 

Demand for technical resources with specialized skills continues to remain high. In particular, demand is highest for: 

  • Software Developers
  • Data Engineers
  • Systems Analysts.

We are regularly seeing multiple offer scenarios across these categories. If you anticipate needing technical resources in the near future, our advice is simple. A quick and efficient hiring process and quick action will result in better outcomes. We are seeing far too many clients losing out on their first-choice talent because they are not making decisions fast enough. 

At the moment, there is currently an oversupply of talent in functional and leadership roles, but we expect this labour market imbalance to be temporary. Many of our clients are looking forward to new IT budgets and approved projects, as well as pent up demand and a better understanding of how to work and thrive in this new world.  

As we look forward to a very different and quieter holiday season, many of us are looking forward to bidding farewell to 2020. While 2021 may not offer a lot of quick fixes to the challenges that we face, there is light at the end of the tunnel and things are already looking up. 

Canadian Job Market Update for November 2020

Kevin Dee By Kevin Dee, Co-Founder of Eagle

One of the ways Eagle adds value is to provide regular job market information.  Sometimes it is a look at Canada as a whole and other times we focus more in-depth on specific markets.  This update is a high-level look at the Canadian job market, and the factors influencing it.  In previous months we have provided market updates, specific to different markets, which you can find through the links here:

Canadian Job Market Quarterly Update Across CanadaThere are a number of indicators that I have used over the years to give an idea of how things are going.  One such indicator is the markets, and for this purpose I have focused on the TSX.  When the pandemic hit back in March, the TSX dropped to 11,350, and here in mid-November it is sitting at 16,800.  In the last five years it has rarely been above this level, except for a few months just before the pandemic hit.  Generally, the markets have performed well even during a pandemic!

The unemployment rate is an obvious indicator for the job market, and as I write this the unemployment rate is at 8.5%.  Employment is coming back with employment numbers improving on average by 2.7% every month since May.  The recovery of course is very uneven with some professions taking a real hammering.  In April there were about 5.5 million Canadians whose jobs were affected due to the pandemic, and currently that number is about 1.1 million. So improvement, but if you are unemployed, that doesn’t pay the bills.  Surprisingly, according to Statistics Canada, the professional, scientific and tech professions are in a better position today than pre-COVID.  Another indicator saw October as the first month where the self-employed numbers improved since March, which is perhaps the start of good news for our independent contractor community.  In April, Eagle experienced a 70% drop in orders from our clients but have experienced a steady recovery since then, such that order levels are about 80% of the pre-COVID demand.  This of course can change as lockdowns and outbreaks occur, but we are optimistic that we will not go back to the April levels of unemployment.

Job seekers willing to “go where the jobs are” will always fare better than those unwilling to relocate.  In Canada, the four largest provinces represent close to 90% of the jobs, with Ontario being the largest (close to 40%); Quebec (approx. 23%); BC (13.5%) and Alberta (12.5%).  So, when considering where to look for jobs, a province that employs a lot of people and has a relatively low unemployment rate is a good place to look — BC, Quebec and Ontario all fit that bill.  Alberta is still struggling because of the hit on the oil and gas sector.

One of the big factors affecting the Alberta market is the price of oil.   The price of a barrel in Canada is just under $30 and between $13 and $15 less than world prices.  One factor for this price differential is Canada’s reliance on just one client, the United States.  Unless this changes that will likely remain a factor in Alberta’s economy.   There are however still opportunities in Alberta, just not the booming demand we saw in the past.

The US is Canada’s largest trading partner and represents both opportunity and risk.  A Democratic government is not likely to be a friend to the oil and gas sector, which will continue to hurt Alberta.  Pre-COVID, the US enjoyed record levels of employment, with significant skill shortages.  There has been a significant dampening on the jobs front during the pandemic.   We have seen significant investment in Canada by large US companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google etc. all adding to their Canadian presence to tap into the talent up here, and I expect that to continue, but likely after the recovery.  Canada is also currently able to attract skilled immigrant talent easier than in the US, whose immigration laws are more prohibitive, but a change in government in the US is likely to ease that issue.  We will know more as the new administration rolls out its plans.

Tech job activity was very strong pre-COVID and while we have not recovered to the same levels yet, there is still good opportunity for in-demand skills across Canada, and that demand is increasing.  Technology has played a huge part in allowing companies to operate during the pandemic, with Digital Transformation allowing work from home strategies and websites, security and payments systems playing a significant role in the proliferation of online buying.  We typically suggest the tech unemployment rate as being about half of the general unemployment rate, but in COVID times, I would suggest an even wider gap.  The general unemployment rate of 8.5% includes the huge impact on the hospitality, travel and retail world while many tech professionals have been able to continue to work from home.  It would surprise me if the tech unemployment rate is more than 4%, which is not far off full employment.

For a more detailed look at the specific markets across Canada I suggest you read the linked writeups from Eagle’s Executive team across the country, referenced earlier.

Eagle’s focus is technology professionals and the most in demand areas/skills recently have included: Cloud, Government, Telecom, Security, Payments, CRM, Digital, Big Data, BI and AI; Agile BAs, Change Management, Quality Assurance, Architects, Solution Architects, Front & Back end developers, Full Stack developers, DevOps engineers; and even mainframe is making a comeback!

In summary, people with those in-demand tech skills and experience should have little difficulty in finding employment, either contract or perm if not immediately, then very soon!  A willingness to relocate to the bigger centers will only increase marketability.

It remains to be seen when things will return to something “more normal”, but life needs to go on and people in tech are in demand, many can work from home and that demand is only going to increase.

For employers our advice is this:

If you see great talent that will be a fit in your organization then act now, because their availability will not last long.  We will return to skills shortages sooner rather than later.

Now is a great time to refine and speed up that hiring process!  Finding, screening, hiring and onboarding can all be done remotely and efficiently, and will become an absolute necessity very soon.  We are still seeing our candidates receive multiple job offers and clients losing talent because they are too slow to make a decision, even now!

What Are the Most In-Demand IT Skills for 2020?

Eagle’s founder, Kevin Dee, recently had the opportunity to participate on a panel in a webinar hosted by CPA4IT. The event, titled The Future of Work for Independent Contracting Webinar, set out to discuss how Canadian IT contractors can survive and thrive in this time and what practical tips that they can utilize to achieve success at work as an Independent Contractor.

One topic discussed was the most in-demand IT skills for 2020. While there are a number of exciting and new technologies on the horizon, sparking demand from top employers, Kevin Dee explains in the video below that the traditional, basic roles are still in highest demand and are not going anywhere.

Eagle’s CEO, Janis Grantham, is joining the panel for the next webinar hosted by CPA4IT on Thursday, October 22nd. They’ll be building on the previous discussion and answering questions about the future of work for independent contracting in Canada. Click here to register today.

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.