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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

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.

Regional Job Market Update for British Columbia

Cameron McCallum By Cameron McCallum,
Regional Vice President at Eagle

Vancouver SkylineWhile the job market in Vancouver and BC might be seen as being relatively flat this year and there have been signs pointing to a softening of the economy, those more qualified than I point to an economy currently operating at near capacity. In general, employment numbers are high and unemployment low. According to Central 1, B.C.’s job vacancy rate is highest amongst all provinces, pointing to a shortage of skilled workers across industries. This is certainly true in the IT sector where specialized skills remain in demand and finding suitable resources remains a challenge. Is the local market tapped out? Not quite, but again, a fairly robust economy, not to mention business and client expectations, means that there are a lot of changes underway. And change, more often than not, leads to opportunity.

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

We’re definitely seeing an uptick or continuation in the popularity of SAAS and if you combine it with Service Management for example, you should be taking notice of the number of Service Now initiatives taking place not only in BC but across Canada.

More and more of our clients are also in the midst of cloud transformations and there is a need to find project specialists who can assist with managing changes to the delivery of IT to the organization.

Large scale infrastructure projects are also widespread, everything from more basic, but urgent, Windows upgrades to very large deployments of hardware and software. We’ve also noticed a demand for virtualization experts in recent months.

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 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.

What roles are our clients looking for? Despite all of the tech buzz that exists in the market, we continue to network with and recruit senior level Project Managers, Business Analysts, Architects and Testers…the bedrock of any IT project. With all the initiatives underway, project managers who have a strong record of delivering projects from inception to completion will find lots of opportunity in the Lower Mainland. Business Analysts fulfill all kinds of needs on a project. It may be straight forward requirements analysis or there could be aspects of change management and communications or process mapping and reengineering. Enterprise Architects are in short supply and in demand as well and finally testers, both automation and manual varieties are needed.

If you have any of these skills, 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

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

Toronto… The Place to Be for Technology

Toronto, Ontario CanadaToronto has long been recognized as a centre of technology in Canada.  That reputation only grows with each passing month and year.  Toronto is among the best cities in the world to work in technology and there are over half a million working in the technology space in Toronto.  This number is growing fast as is the roughly 25% of those that are self-employed. Plus, a recent study by the Compass Group showed that Toronto’s tech growth is outpacing the rest of the country almost 5-1.

What is responsible for this growth?  It is a number of things and anytime in economics or business that there are numerous factors to growth, that is a very good thing.

Let’s look first at the straw that stirs the drink for Toronto’s Tech sector — our major financial institutions.  The Big 5 are all headquartered in Toronto and in 2018 continue to invest massively in technology.  Cloud computing, security, application development, risk management through technology, customer experience, are all areas that the banks continue to invest in.

The Major Telco’s equally influence the Toronto Technology sector.  The intense competition for customers has led to significant investment in a better customer experience through technology.  This competition also drives investment in the latest network and cellular technologies to bring faster speeds and better experiences for their customers.  2018 has been a huge year for this type of infrastructure investment in Toronto and elsewhere.

The new world business Goliaths such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter have all recently invested money and resourcing in Toronto and continue to grow their presence in 2018.  In today’s world of technology, you can never really be a true world technology hub without their presence.

And let us not forget the importance of a vibrant environment for start-ups.  Uber, Airbnb, Facebook, were all start-ups at one time, making it critical that Toronto maintains a not only viable but an exciting environment for start-ups to take root.  Companies like Top Hat, Bridget, and others are following in the footsteps of more established start-ups like Shop.ca and Fresh Books.  2018 has seen an incredible number of start-ups show us exciting things in Toronto.

The landscape is bright for technology in in Toronto in 2018.  The battle for talent is fierce but it also shows that this is where a huge pool of talent resides.  The healthy mix of factors described above has Toronto in a good place for years to come.  If you are technology professional in Toronto it appears you are in the right place.

Regional Job Market Update for Calgary

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

Calgary Job Market Outlook: The New NormalCautious optimism.  That is how the job market in Calgary might be best described.  Eagle has witnessed more new hiring over this past quarter than we’d seen of any previous quarter in the past couple of years.  Still at far lower levels than prior to the Oil & Gas meltdown, it represents a marked shift as a broader range of companies have participated in the hiring.

Economists from the National Conference Board and ATB are predicting that a lot of the growth will be seen coming from new, smaller and start-up companies.  There certainly appears to be more activity in these areas.  As the City has made significant efforts to diversify its corporate company-base, new-to-Calgary and start-up companies are building on their infrastructure.  They tend to have fewer requirements than the traditional O&G corporations, but there are more of them.  Certainly, a trend to watch over the coming months and years.

Supply of resources available also appears to be returning to normal levels.  In March, Eagle’s Calgary office had significantly fewer people apply to online job postings compared to the same period in 2017.  Rates have remained stable for quite some time now after having been knocked back due to the local recession.

Top IT Job Titles from this past month include:

  1. Developer
  2. Business Analyst
  3. Systems Analyst
  4. Support
  5. Quality Assurance

There hasn’t been too much variability in these top requests over the past months.  However, new requests for people with skills in Cloud and Cyber Security have been growing.

One disturbing trend that we have noticed is that there have been fewer contract extensions offered vs. times past.  Despite the uptick in new roles coming out, there is trend across the industry seeing a drop in extension rates.  The reason for this is not exactly clear but could be a sign that companies are shifting the way they use contingent labour.  Certainly, there are more companies that have implemented maximum tenure rules and that may be having an impact as well.  But it is something that we plan to follow closely.

What does the future hold?  It is still difficult to say with any level of surety.  I do expect that new, smaller companies will continue to drive innovation and will be a source of new opportunities here in Calgary.  Should some of this pipeline mess be resolved in favor of new capacity, there would likely be a “bounce” in the O&G market, with Oilsands companies, particularly, having some relief.  Regardless, it will take some time for local investment by the O&G industry to come back.  A lot of investment dollars have been committed to projects (and acquisitions) elsewhere, often south of the border.  Clear and decisive government intentions/policy will likely be needed before true confidence returns to this industry.

Has IT contingent labour hiring turned the corner for good? The last 3 months would indicate an improved and sustained hiring environment.  But only time will tell if this will be a long-term trend.  I expect that until the end of June, at least, there should be stable demand for IT resources.  Then the summer months will hit, and all bets are off.  Some summers can be very busy, while others are quiet.  When we came out of the 2008 – 2009 general recession, the summer was super-busy as people worked hard to make up for lost time.  However, that particular slow-down (although sharp and deep) was short in duration.  Things bounced back quickly.  This time around, we have been dealing with a depressed market for 2+ years, our economic muscles have atrophied, and companies have made structural/fundamental changes to their IT organizations.  This makes it difficult to predict whether our local economy continue to drive the need for jobs over the summer months.  As time goes on, be sure to watch the Eagle job boards, confer with your recruiter contacts, and keep active in your professional networks to gauge for yourself what is to come.

Best wishes for good business in the upcoming months!

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.

Contractor Quick Poll: How do you feel about 2018?

Eagle regularly shares our outlook of the job market and technology industry, explaining the trends that we see in the market. Of course, what we see isn’t always the same as what independent contractors across Canada see.

As the year comes to a close, we what to know how you’re feeling about 2018 in your field. Will it be easier or harder to find a job? Feel free to share your insights in the comments below.

Calgary IT Job Market Update at the end of November 2017

By Morley Surcon (Vice President Western Canada at Eagle) and Brianne Risley (Delivery Manager at Eagle)

The following is a short summary of the IT Labour and Job Market in Calgary – supply, demand, and dynamics.

There are 3 “Trends” That Eagle has Noticed Over the Past Months:

Calgary IT Job Market UpdateCalgary has Developed an IT Skillset Gap: Information Technology changes and evolves very, very quickly. This means that what is “leading edge” today, may be “old news” in a matter of months. Over the past 18 months, Calgary companies have had a focus on sustainment. As a result, contractors have not had the opportunity to work on the technologies that are pushing the industry forward and a noticeable gap has developed between the skills available in the local Calgary IT community and the types of technology that are now starting to be requested by some organizations. Eagle is finding that in areas such as Dashboarding, SaaS, Front-end Development and Cloud development, it is difficult to find local people with the experience/knowledge in newly-in-demand technology. For example, we are now seeing demand for people with CSS/Javascript vs. the C# .NET that used to be so prevalent in the Calgary market. The same is true in the SAP space, where our customers are now looking for people with Fiori or HANA experience. We are seeing that companies are reaching out to out-of-town resources to fill these ‘niche’ skills and, in some cases, are paying elevated rates to do so. Companies may also be bringing in outsourcing companies and/or specialty partners to implement new-technology focused projects, going the way of out-sourcing or out-tasking to supply niche resources rather than running the projects in-house themselves.

Move Toward Greater Simplification:  Companies have been working towards consolidation and standardization over the past months. This encompasses both the technology that they use as well as the business partners with which they choose to work. Organizations in Calgary have shed roles over the past year(s) and must, therefore, focus on their core business/industry. It is increasingly difficult to find “the cycles” to complete projects that they do not have the in-house skills to complete. We are seeing much less custom development work in favor of their chosen ERP’s solution and/or implementing off-the-shelf software packages with little customization. And, instead of building up their own teams, more organizations have been opting to outsource or out-task project work to 3rd parties. Additionally, many of the companies in Calgary have undergone a vendor rationalization, reducing the number of suppliers/outsourcers that they deal with on a daily basis. This represents a clear shift in the quantity and types of roles for which staffing agencies are being hired and a greater degree of simplification for the companies themselves.

M&A Project Work: In Calgary, the majority of any new project work across many sectors is attributable to mergers and acquisitions. The necessity of integrating IT departments, reporting capabilities and business processes standardization work has created a short-term ‘bump’ in contract work. Many of the projects are due to be completed early in the New Year (or before). Once finished, these companies will be shedding staff once again to remove redundancies due to overlap in roles between the two companies and freeing up the staff that were solely employed for the integration project work itself.

The Following Market “Conditions” Have Also Been Noted:

Rates: Rates for non-specialized roles have remained flat for the past 6+ months. The exception is for ERP as demand has increased, albeit often for specialized skillsets as described above. Company “rate roll-backs” have halted as the employee and contractor rationalizations have been completed.

Skills with High and Growing Demand:  Eagle has noticed increased interest for contractors with the following skillsets:

  • Front-End Developers
  • Java Developers/Software Engineers/DevOps
  • Cyber Security Consultants
  • Project Managers (Agile, ERP, some Infrastructure)
  • ERP (Fiori/UI5) enhancement/upgrade work
  • IT Reporting – Cloud tools for data visualization – Tableau, Spotfire, Hana and related data warehousing/BI work. Predictive analytics and driving business value from data stores.

Skills with Neutral Demand:

  • Network/Storage Administrators
  • SaaS implementations (Sales Force, Service Now, Workday) + Traditional ERP (SAP/PS/Oracle)

Skills for Which We Have Seen a Decline in Demand:

  • .NET Developers (this is the first time in 10+ years that demand for Java/Front-end skills have outstripped .NET in Calgary)
  • Server Analysts/Administrators (Outsourcing companies are handling much of this demand by leveraging overseas options)

Existing open roles for Calgary can be viewed on here Eagle’s Job Board.

**Disclaimer: The market summary above reflects Eagle’s own experience. Please understand that this does not include interaction with 100% of the market. Eagle’s clientele tend toward the larger enterprise companies, therefore experience in Calgary’s SMB market may be substantially different.

If your experience or observations have been different, I encourage you to leave a comment so all may learn from your perspective as well!

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.