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All Talent Development Centre posts for Canadian technology contractors relating to the Canadian job market.

Regional Job Market Update for Ottawa, Ontario (August 2019)

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

Ottawa Job MarketWhile the Canadian economy shed over 24,000 jobs in July and the national unemployment rate edged up to 5.7% from 5.5%, the disappointment was not reflected in the Ottawa market (and let’s be sure to add context — these are still historically low rates of unemployment.)

The employment story in Ottawa for the same month was one of continued robustness, with the region adding 12,300 jobs in July, dropping the unemployment rate sharply from 5.6% in July to 4.8%. The local tech market along with the Federal Government continue to drive the market as both seek to fill positions in what is rapidly becoming one of the tightest technology talent markets in Canada. In fact, Shopify recently introduced an innovative program to attract “lapsed” developers, former developers who have taken more than two years off and are out of the market. The program will train them back up on the job — surely a sign of the times in an effort to attract talent.

With a pending Fall election, there is no doubt an expected slowdown in hiring, specifically net new IT projects with the Feds. That said, however, this summer has been one of the busiest experienced with numerous large RFP’s on the street and the Feds still forecasting to create 10,000 new jobs over the next 5 years.

TD Bank recently released a study that looks at the evolving inequality in the labour market as it relates specifically to technology and cities in Canada. We have asserted for some time that while the national unemployment rate is a healthy 5.2% to 5.9 % range, the “technology” unemployment rate is likely less than half that national rate at around 2.0% to 2.5%. The reality on the ground, however, is in major cities it is in fact closer to 0 per cent! The study shows that the 5 major centres in Canada of Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary and Ottawa make up over 70% of the entire digital services employment in Canada, backing up the near 0% technology unemployment rate. With these kind of market forces in play, in cities like Ottawa, we can verify undoubtedly the scarcity of resources. It’s no surprise that Canada experienced the fastest clip in wage growth in a decade of 4.5%, up sharply again from 3.8% in June.

Recent global economic indicators have brought talk of a possible recession in the months and years ahead, as the long recovery cycle comes to an inevitable cooling off; however, it’s tough to fathom given the local technology market we see in Ottawa today.

In demand roles around the Ottawa tech job market this summer include Architects, IT Business Analysts, System Analysts, Programmers and Project Managers.

What to Expect from the Edmonton IT Job Market in Fall 2019

Brianne Risley By Brianne Risley,
Delivery Manager at Eagle

A couple weeks ago, Cameron McCallum shared a snapshot of the Edmonton Job Market. As we all enjoy the warm Alberta summer, it’s the perfect time to look ahead at the market trends gaining momentum into Fall 2019.

In-Demand Skillsets

“In-Demand” skillsets are Eagle’s measure of job roles projected to be required by “70% of our Edmonton-based mid-to-enterprise-sized clients within the next 3 months”. It also functions as a good indicator of where we are in the software development lifecycle (SDLC).  With the popularity of PM/BA, and particularly OCM skillsets, it’s clear we are in early stages of some large-scale capital projects. The demand for Developers or Quality Assurance professionals will intensify in late Fall as these projects spin up.

In-Demand IT Skillstes in Edmonton for Fall 2019

September will be heavily focused on three “R“s – replacing, retiring, or redesigning legacy applications in favor of something cloud-enabled, consolidating existing apps, or enhancing an application for better functionality. Why the Windows Server admins? Because the legacy on-prem hardware is going through a refresh cycle, and some of it makes more sense to virtualize or migrate to the cloud to support the new systems.

Trending IT Projects

As a candidate, here are the key projects that should be highlighted on a resume to ensure you are aligned with what mid-sized to enterprise Edmonton-based companies are targeting. If you are a hiring manager with one of these projects in your care, there will be increased competition for strong candidates. Now is a good time to extend the people you have!

Trending IT Projects in Edmonton in Fall 2019

IT Employment Across Canada

Alberta continues to suffer with a high unemployment rate, but that is not the case for Information Technology. In practice, resource availability in IT within Alberta is tight with most candidates leaving “Company A” to take a role at “Company B” vs. being out of a job.

IT Employment Across Canada as of Dececember 2018 (source: e-Talent Canada)

Fun Fact: In 2017, 1 out of 20 of our Edmonton clients would accept remote workers on IT projects. Today, that number has increased to 1 out of 10.

Why? Better collaboration technology (O365/Cloud-enabled apps) is available, and companies have a need to expand beyond the local market to gain access to markets with a greater concentration of IT workers.

The market outlook in Edmonton remains strong in Fall 2019. Please connect with me if you’d like to learn more!

Regional Job Market Update for Edmonton, Alberta (July 2019)

Cameron McCallum By Cameron McCallum,
Regional Vice President at Eagle

City of EdmontonBy all accounts, Alberta’s recovery has been long, slow and a bit tortuous. Kind of like the last 10+ seasons of the Edmonton Oilers. According to economists, rising incomes, combined with continuing population growth, helped to buttress retail and other components of both the region’s and the city’s economies so far this year, but growth has been disappointing in the 1.3% range.

Previous risks identified are expected to continue and will likely offset gains in other areas. For Edmonton these include:

  1. Oil prices falling again and/or an increase in the price differential between West Texas Intermediate and Western Canadian Select. While the previous government was able to reduce this gap, increased supply (Americans fracking activity and Donald Trump’s aggressive energy policy) could signal lower prices.
  2. Continued challenges getting our oil to current and potential new markets either by rail or pipeline. I don’t think I need to expand on this although there has been some progress in the Transmountain debate!
  3. Stricter controls on carbon emissions and political and public opposition to energy projects continues to constrain longer term growth in the energy sector. Not sure it matters what side of the political coin you are on but I have no doubt that it is the continued legislative uncertainty and political rhetoric that is giving industry nightmares. Nobody likes uncertainty!
  4. And the continuing international trade conflicts or threatened conflicts continue to rock the markets and serve to depress the global economy. The US seems intent on winning concessions and the various posturing of nation leaders has hit close to home as China has banned Canadian pork and canola, directly impacting Alberta farmers.

But what has this meant for the Edmonton IT sector?  While economic growth in 2019 has been marginal, the IT sector continues to thrive. Looking back at internal numbers from this time last year would suggest little has changed. Our clients continue to seek talent for key projects and they continue to ask Eagle to provide them with that talent to move initiatives forward. Edmonton’s diversity is again its best defense.

Perhaps the only blip on the radar has been the fallout from the election of a new provincial government. As is often the case in these scenarios, the new government has decided that it is best to freeze hiring on projects and according to our sources, existing contracts are being allowed to end naturally and extensions are not being offered. A significant uptick in applications to our Eagle website is evidence that there has been a recent surge in available resources. This could mean greater competition for jobs and contracts. Typically these are short lived interruptions but with the province in debt, and a government that campaigned on getting the debt under control, it might be too early to predict with certainty that hiring will begin again soon. The provincial government is a massive user of contract IT resources so this will have to be monitored.

So what is hot in the market. We saw the following “Hot Skills” in the first half of 2019 and all indications are that these skillsets will be in demand for the rest of the year. There are a couple of more that we’ve added to the list:

  • Microsoft Stack Expertise (C#, HTML, CSS etc.)
  • Cloud Consultants
  • Infrastructure Specialists (VMWare)
  • Change Managers
  • Network Analysts (for cloud preparation)
  • Agile Project Managers

Regional Job Market Update for Calgary, Alberta (June 2019)

Kelly Benson By Kelly Benson,
Branch Manager at Eagle

Regional Job Market Update for Calgary, AlbertaCautious optimism has been the name of the game in Calgary this past year. However, recent developments have many dropping the word “optimism” from that phrase. Our city is still plagued with uncertainty related to low oil prices, no ability to get our resources to new markets and heightened government regulations. This has led economists to take a good hard look at our province and the reports are concerning:

However, in the spring, Albertans elected a new government who won (in part) due to an obsession with job creation. This new government has brought confidence to some (and panic to others!). Corporate Calgary appears to be feeling positive about this change and is watching closely to see if these new initiatives will help. Only time will tell!

BUT… IT has a Better Story to Tell

While the general unemployment rate in Calgary is hovering around 7%, the good news is that Calgary’s ICT unemployment rate is 4.1%, which most economists would agree is “supply constrained”.

Every day, we are seeing our clients exploring different ways to use technology and, as a result, demand for IT professionals is increasing. Leveraging technology has become the “new” way of doing business and businesses are embracing it. However, at low unemployment levels, it is simply more difficult to attract and retain staff, which can make it difficult for businesses to leverage these new technologies to achieve growth.

Year-over-Year Growth

Here at Eagle, we have seen a consistent improvement in our business over the past year. Comparing year-over-year data, our volume of job orders is up 40% and we have also seen a 20% reduction in applicants to our job postings. The need for resources is steadily increasing and the number of candidates looking for work has decreased.

Where is the Demand?

In a city that has too few jobs, there are absolutely some positions that are hurting for talent. We continue to see demand (and low supply) in the following areas:

  • Development: full stack developers, front-end developers, BI developers
  • IT Business Analysts with technical depth
  • Project Managers
  • Solution Architects
  • SAP Consultants

Project-based activity has been picking up across most industries that we support. The majority of the project and programs are falling into one of these categories:

  • Digital Transformation
  • BI/Big Data
  • Application Modernization
  • ERP

Demand in these areas is expected to continue as our clients continue to initiate multi-year initiatives. Given that we are already somewhat constrained by the availability of qualified resources, we expect demand to outpace supply in these areas in the very near future.

Regional Job Market Update for Montreal, Quebec

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

After some sluggish months for the Canadian economy, April saw record numbers of jobs created not seen since 1976 with 106,000 new jobs, far exceeding economists’ expectations. Canada added over 426,000 jobs in the last 12 months and though many had forecast an imminent recession, it now appears that may not be in the cards. Perhaps more indicative of a better economy is a stronger wage growth component of 2.5% increase. Perhaps salaries are finally catching up with the increase in jobs and we’re seeing the effects of an overall tightening labour market.

Panoramic Photo Montreal city fron Mount RoyalAs we look at the Quebec Employment numbers, we confirm what we have seen both operationally and practically in the market. Quebec continues its run of strong labour numbers with the second lowest unemployment rate in the country (second only to BC provincially) and, at 4.9%, it’s over a full point lower than neighboring Ontario. Montreal continues to have a lower rate of unemployment than Toronto. Drilling down further, we know that the National rate of unemployment for technology hovers at less than half the broader rate, at slightly above 2%. However, in Technology Urban Centres like Montreal with a burgeoning Video game sector, AI sector and Financial sector it is likely very close to 0% which is what we at Eagle are currently seeing play out in the marketplace.

Canada has bet big on AI with centres in Toronto and Edmonton but Montreal also has a thriving and burgeoning AI ecosystem. In addition to the Federal funding in AI investment, the city benefits from a huge Province of Quebec investment, similar to what the Province  invested in attracting big video gaming players to Montreal. Swedish giant Ericsson, French Tech Consultancy Axionable and Samsung are just some the global giants to have recently opened AI accelerator/Labs in the city of Montreal. In addition to Montreal already being a North American gaming hub, clearly it is becoming an AI hub as well. Over the past couple of years, global behemoths Google, Facebook and Microsoft have set up shop in Montreal in the hopes of taking advantage of the much sought after talent developed as a result of these new thriving hubs and tech ecosysytems.

Traditional sectors such as Telecom, Financial Services and Aerospace who are already fighting to attract the talent they need now have to out-hustle these “sexy ” giants of tech industry. Talent in Montreal have multiple options and clients now need to be certain they are quick to hire, have compelling stories to sell, competitive salaries and are working hand-in-hand with their talent partners in what is now a very heated market.

Hot roles in Montreal include Mobile Developers, DevOps/Middleware, BI Specialists, Security Specialists and all things Java.

Regional Job Market Update for British Columbia (April 2019)

Cameron McCallum By Cameron McCallum,
Regional Vice President at Eagle

Current economic forecasts for BC are a bit of a mixed bag. Most economists are predicting an economic slowdown over the next three years, according to a report released Thursday by credit union Central 1. The report specifically references the housing market downturn impacting GDP growth in BC.

Vancouver SkylineIt is expected that the resultant drop in demand and prices will trigger a sharp contraction in housing construction and reduced condominium pre-sale activity which will result in “the most pronounced drop in broader residential development since 2009.”

At the same time, another credit rating agency, the Domestic Bond Rating Service (DBRS Ltd.), confirmed the provinc’s long-term debt rating at AA (high) and the short-term debt rating R-1 (high). DBRS Ltd. stated in a news release “The ratings remain well supported by the province’s diverse and growing economy, positive outlook, ample fiscal capacity and low debt burden.”

DBRS’s rating comes after the international credit rating agency Moody’s confirmed in January its AAA rating of B.C., making it the only province in Canada to be rated triple A by all three international credit rating agencies (Moody’s, Standard and Poor and Fitch).

Another bright spot is an expected uptick in capital investment, including LNG projects which should drive associated construction and infrastructure projects. Is a pipeline in the future? With a new government in Alberta, expect that conversation to heat up quickly. And with the aforementioned triple A rating, the cost to borrow remains attractive which should continue investment in BCs infrastructure and public services.

So what does that mean for you as an IT professional?

It should mean that things will not change all that much. The very low unemployment rates in the province and even lower rates for information technology should be considered positive factors for opportunity. BC remains an attractive location for business and a cooling, more reasonable housing sector should, in theory, correct one of the structural impediments to attracting talent. Public sector spending shows no sign of weakening as municipal and provincial governments respond to demand from their constituents for new and better servicing. In fact, the healthcare sector in particular is experiencing massive transformation and this is driving a need for project specialists.

If you have specific experience with Cerner or other large Electronic Health Records packages, you’ve probably noticed that you are in demand and you’re probably shutting down LinkedIn in an effort to get away from recruiters and headhunters who are trying to connect with you.

But it’s not just specialist skills that are in demand. These projects are large and touch so many aspects of an organization that we are seeing requirements for all skillsets including the pillars of any initiative, Project Managers, Business Analysts, Architects, Developers and Testers. And as with any transformative work, we’ve seen a large uptick in the demand for Change Managers and Organizational Change Managers.

The one downside to these opportunities is often the mandatory requirement that candidates have previous clinical or healthcare experience. The question our recruiters are most often asked by clearly frustrated candidates is “How do I get experience in healthcare, if they won’t hire me because I lack healthcare experience?” The first step is to get an understanding of the types of technologies and software used throughout the industry (ex. Cerner), and determine if your current skills or toolset are transferable. If not, you may need further training or experience. But in the meantime, you can certainly use that knowledge to craft your selling message to recruiters and hiring managers.

What’s hot besides healthcare?

Large scale infrastructure projects continue to need resources for anything from basic, but urgent, Windows upgrades to very large deployments of hardware and software. And on the application development side, it depends on what you are programming for. Microsoft still controls a large portion of our corporate client’s landscape and we continue to see a need for .Net programmers. But full stack, mobile and web developers who have worked with Java or JavaScript related tools such as Node.js, Angular or React will also find a pretty healthy demand for their skills.

And the cloud continues to drive demand for infrastructure specialists and integration experts who can get “on premise” and cloud systems talking to each other.

As I’ve mentioned before, if any of this is familiar to you and your area of expertise, you should feel pretty good about your employment or engagement opportunities in BC. The public sector and crown corporations are robust. Work, especially in the health sector, has exploded and there is no reason to believe it will slow down. The private sector has a good mix of large, traditional corporations delivering products and services along with a steady influx of startup and app centric software shops. All in all, BC currently offers lots of opportunity but as always in Information Technology, having a bit of a specialization will help open doors.

Regional Job Market Update for Toronto, Ontario

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

Toronto, Ontario CanadaThe IT job market in and around the Great Toronto Area continues to have a positive outlook for technology professionals. Hot off the heels of being named the fastest growing tech centre in North America in a recent study by BMO Capital Markets, and #4 overall in terms of size, Toronto continues to be filled with a wide range of opportunities.

The major banks continue to “drive the bus”, so to speak, as they compete to stay ahead of the curve and continue with innovative projects. Specifically, they’re nearly constantly investing in Security, Anti-Money Laundering, Big Data, Customer Experience and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Their desire to work with the best people is ensuring that demand for these talents remains high and is not slowing down.

The other major industry driving the GTA IT job market is telecommunications. There is fierce competition among the Telco Giants and their battle for the most superior customer experience is driving their talent needs. On top of regularly investing to improve in their services, security remains a constant and major investment in this industry, thus driving a high demand for security experts with telecommunications experience.

Perhaps the even more exciting IT job opportunities coming out of Toronto stem from the continued and increasing investment from tech giants. Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Uber (just to name a few) have all opened or expanded offices in the area, creating full-time and contract opportunities alike for IT professionals across the spectrum.

Toronto is a home for tech talent and these companies’ investment in Toronto verifies this.  Instead of  the famous movie line “if you build it they will come” from Field of Dreams,  a more appropriate slogan for Toronto is  “they are there, so lets go build it.”  With 241,000 (CMBA) tech workers, and a talent pool that is growing faster than any other market in North America, Toronto is proving to be a place to be for growing tech companies.

In conclusion, Toronto is an exciting place filled with job opportunities for IT experts, but also filled with strong competition for the leading jobs. Companies are looking for the best people to do the job and hiring quickly once they find them. My advice to a job seeker is to ensure your skills are up-to-date, your resume is always current, and be prepared to submit your information quickly to recruiters as new jobs open up.

Regional Job Market Update for Ottawa, Ontario

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

As 2018 came to a close, the Ottawa Job Market in December saw the unemployment rate tick up to 4.9% after a fairly robust job gains in October and November. Technology did continue to be a bright spot, with more job gains in December, however, not enough to offset losses in other areas of our local economy.

Shopify LogoHarley Finkelstein, Co-Founder of the near $16B (with a B!) Ottawa-based Shopify, recently tweeted (@harleyf) about the outlook for Ottawa. The advent of new LRT, a booming startup ecosystem with lots of new angel investors, and the nearby natural beauty Ottawans have easy access to all seemingly underscore the steady but sure sense that the Ottawa Technology economy, while not the boom of the early 2000’s, has reason to be very excited about where things are going. We’re seeing a number of newly funded and burgeoning startups traverse across technologies, including AI, Blockchain, IoT, autonomous vehicles plus traditional software-based companies. While not the halcyon days of the Nortels/Corels of the very early 2000’s, there is certainly plenty for Ottawans to be optimistic about.

Ottawa Job MarketThe other big player in the local market is of course the Federal Government who have been on a steady hiring pace for quite a while. Large players like Shared Services Canada are hiring many IT contractors on a permanent basis to help them deliver technology services across Federal Government Departments. The past Quarter, and in fact year, has been a very busy one for IT Staffing agencies providing the government with the critical IT resources the Feds need to reach their Digital Government goals. The Federal Government is focused on moving more and more to cloud-based services and will need a lot of help from private sector to do so from Data Architects through Data Residency and Security. With the burgeoning Start-Up scene growing together with the many more mature technology sectors I have referenced, it is hoped the Feds will look to review and revise their contingent hiring practices to be quicker, cleaner and more efficient to continue to compete in the months and years ahead in Ottawa.

As the calendar turns over to 2019 and we look ahead, history will tell us that Election years tend to somewhat freeze hiring as ruling governments look to hold steady any technology project announcements. Visions of Phoenix Pay stories and in the headlines keep politicians up at night with fear, we will see if that is the case in the coming months.

Roles in demand in Ottawa currently include Front End Developers, PMs (including a need for Agile PMs for the Federal Government), Data Architects, Cyber Security, and Testers.

Regional Job Market Update for Calgary, Alberta

Kelly Benson By Kelly Benson,
Branch Manager at Eagle

Job SearchingAs we head into the last 6 weeks of 2018, it is a good opportunity to reflect back on how far we have come these past 11 months.  We entered 2018 with cautious optimism and – as expected – we have seen a slow and steady improvement in tech/IT hiring this year.

What is most encouraging is that the hiring activity spans many different industries and – with more diversification – comes more confidence that we can weather the setbacks that are inevitable on the road to full economic recovery.

That said, we still have a long way to go before we can remove the word “cautious” from our vocabulary when talking about Calgary’s labour market.  High unemployment rates, falling capital investments, high office vacancy rates and heavily discounted Canadian crude continue to challenge our city and the pace of recovery is not nearly as quick as we would like it to be.

While the unemployment rate remains high, technology is a great place to be with ICT careers expected to outpace all job growth in Canada by a rate of 4:1 (ICTC, Labour Market Outlook, 2017-2021, April 2017).  In particular, the trend toward automation and digitization in many sectors is creating interesting contract and career opportunities. Combine that with the limited IT spend over the past few years due to the recession and the resultant pent-up demand for IT project work.

So what does the current market offer IT professionals in Calgary?

Project activity centres around these four main buckets:

  • Big Data/BI/Analytics
  • Cloud Migration
  • Digital Transformation
  • SaaS Solution Implementation
  • Cyber Security

The most in-demand roles/job titles include:

  • QA Automation
  • Java Development
  • Cyber Security
  • Project Management
  • Agile Business Analysis

The overall supply of resources with these skills has shifted and we have moved into a candidate market.  There are less available consultants and – those who are looking – often have a choice when it comes to selecting their next assignment.

In these areas, it is of utmost importance for our clients to work closely with their recruitment partners to deliver the right message to attract the best candidates.  Additionally, we encourage our clients to speed up the hiring process and be flexible with “must have” technical skills when hiring.

Given the improving labour market, we are expecting to see a bit more labour movement in the first quarter of 2019 as both independent consultants and long-term employees pursue new opportunities more aggressively to gain new project experiences.

The landscape for technology workers in Calgary is improving and we expect it to continue into 2019.  Be sure to keep an eye on the Eagle job board and keep your recruiter informed as you start to think about pursuing new opportunities.

Regional Job Market Update for Montreal, Quebec

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

Panoramic Photo Montreal city fron Mount RoyalRecent data has shown that both the job market and job growth has slowed in Canada’s largest metropolitan centres, including Montreal. While Central Canada, including Quebec, has led the growth in the last year, with the exception of cities like Kitchener and Ottawa in Ontario and Sherbrooke in Quebec, that growth is slowing slightly.

This past year, Quebec, and specifically Montreal, has very much been a positive employment and jobs story in Canada with consistent unemployment rates below the Canadian average due to a strong economy. Underlying all this is a very significant labour shortage, plus an aging population and over 100,000 estimated positions currently going unfilled. In fact, the recent Quebec Provincial election featured the skills shortage and how to address it as a very prominent issue for all the parties.

Nowhere is this more an issue in Quebec than in the technology sector. There are 250,000 tech jobs in Quebec. In Montreal and Quebec City, the tech sector is the third largest private sector employer, behind traditional companies in Financial Services and Telecom. It is led by exciting companies in Artificial Intelligence and Video Game technology. Provincial subsidy programs have targeted job growth in technology and Quebec’s technology sector has essentially been at full employment for a very long time. Montreal is now recognized as one of the top cities in North America for AI talent.

The last several months, we at Eagle have seen a very strong increase in demand for both permanent and contract resources in our Montreal office and there is an almost acute shortage of candidates for most client requirements. Clients are and will continue to adjust to this new reality by speeding up their hiring processes, having more flexibility in their must-have and desirables requirements, and in working with their staffing partners to be sure their value messages to candidates are fresh and attractive.

Some of the most sought after roles in recent months in Montreal include Project Managers, Developers, Tester/QA roles, System Analysts and Business Analysts.