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Regional Job Market Update for Edmonton, Alberta

Kelly Benson By Kelly Benson,
Branch Manager at Eagle

City of EdmontonAlberta’s “recovery” from a challenging recession has been long, slow and a bit tortuous. On top of a challenging past few years, a belt-tightening by the provincial government last fall caused a ripple affect across a number of sectors.

In spite of starting 2020, with the highest unemployment rate in the country, many Edmontonians entered the new decade with a renewed sense of optimism. The only way to go from here was up, right?

Enter COVID-19.

These past 6 months have been very challenging, but things are slowly starting to turn. Edmonton is currently at 91% of pre-COVID employment levels and this slow climb back to “normal” is encouraging. A cautious optimism is slowly returning, but we are expecting higher than normal unemployment and low growth for the remainder of the year. With the threat of a “second wave”, there is still hesitation and many companies do not yet have enough confidence in the economy to kick-off large enterprise projects.

Among tech workers, the news isn’t all bad. Generally, less affected by major market swings, tech jobs have continued to remain in demand. On average, the unemployment rate in IS runs approximately 3-4% points below the general average.

With a few notable exceptions, it remains a buyer’s market with the number of job seekers outpacing the supply of jobs in Edmonton. Here at Eagle, we are seeing a steady increase in demand from our clients looking for IS professionals. While we aren’t back to normal activity levels yet, we are encouraged by this.

Looking ahead to the final quarter of 2020, we expect the greatest demand to be for contractors with specialized technical skills, including Software Developers, Data Engineers and Data Analytics consultants. Opportunities in Organizational Change Management roles also continue to come up as companies look to increase employee adoption and minimize resistance of some of the initiatives that were a result of rapid roll-out due to the COVID crisis.

With many IS professionals working remotely as the norm these days, the job market is also beginning to be more national in scale. Opportunities across the country are opening up to non-local resources as companies become more open to “out-of-town” contractors. Many local consultants are taking advantage of this to continue keeping their skills current while the local market continues its slow recovery.

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.

Regional Job Market Update for Toronto, Ontario

Brendhan Malone By Brendhan Malone,
Vice-President, Central Canada at Eagle

 

Toronto, Ontario Canada

 

The cat is out of the bag — Toronto is now an established world leader in IT and an innovation hub that rivals any city in the world.

Now what does this mean to the real job market?

Firstly, it means that a vast majority of Canadian fortune 100 companies have their IT headquarters in the GTA, plus IT start ups are finding Toronto to be the place to get started in record numbers. This brings an incredible opportunity to IT professionals, but what skill sets and profiles are the majority of these organizations looking for?

The answer to that lies in the customer. Companies today are all clamoring to create the best Customer Experience and the GTA job market reflects that, which can be seen in their position requirements. In addition to technical skills, they want to know their contractors can enhance the customer experience by knowing as much as possible about customers and, in return, provide that experience.

Specifically, companies are searching for:

Integration:

Resources with major project experience are in hot demand. There are many projects right now that are attempting to consolidate internal systems to ensure that when customers are contacting companies — regardless of the issue — they won’t be passed around from touch-point to touch-point, having to re-issue their info and explain their concerns over and over.

A meaningful customer profile is imperative in providing a positive experience.

Agile:

As more firms transition to the Agile methodology, the need for IT resources who truly understand the impact of their work on the overall customer experience is growing exponentially. In years past we have seen a large number of tester/QA positions go overseas. With the increased adoption of Agile, many of those requirements now sit locally as QA is part of every Agile team.

These business skills and knowledge are of course only part of it and in-demand IT skills remain. The hottest skills we see right now are:

  • Integration Experience
  • Full Stack Development
  • Core Java Development
  • Agile
  • Data Science
  • Security

It is important to note also that with this increased level of customer information and profiles comes an increased need for uncompromising security of that information. With that, the need for security resources remains high and demand far outweighs supply.

You may have seen the report Randstad recently published of the top IT jobs in the Toronto Market

  1. Developer/Programmer
  2. System Administrator
  3. IT Project Manager
  4. Quality Assurance Analyst
  5. Data Analyst
  6. It Business Analyst
  7. Help Desk Analyst
  8. IT Manager

While these positions may not look considerably different than they have in years past (except Agile), the difference we are seeing is in the requirement for business understanding and understanding of customer impact as well as the in demand traditional IT skills.

Understanding the customer is the goal of the companies hiring and they are looking for people who understand this goal and its impact on the bottom line.