Talent Development Centre

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

You’re Coming Off a Long-Term IT Contract… What Now?

You're Coming Off a Long-Term IT Contract… What Now?

Graeme Bakker By Graeme Bakker,
Director, Delivery Strategy & Development at Eagle

There’s nothing better than getting into a groove with the right client on the right project. The work is exciting, the team is fantastic and the pay isn’t so bad either. As you build relationships and get deeper into the project, your client is thrilled to extend your contract a few times, and before you know it, this has been your main gig for a few years. But alas, all good things must come to an end. The project is complete and as much as the client would love to reassign you, there just isn’t much going on right now. Suddenly, you find yourself back on the market.

Here are a few tips if you’re finding yourself job searching, or plan to be soon, and haven’t been in these shoes for a while:

  • Be proactive. If you are coming off of a lengthy contract, make sure to get ahead of your search and give yourself plenty of time before the current contract runs out.
  • If you take break, do it with caution. Many senior consultants will tell me that they are not worried about taking a couple months off if they can’t find something right away. This is not a good move as the majority of the time those couple months can add up to more time than you are comfortable with. In today’s market, it is never a bad idea to always have ‘irons in the fire.’
  • It’s going to be work, and you should be prepared for that. The market is always changing and what was in-demand and trendy might not be the way of the world since you were last looking for a role. You might have to interview more than once and the first role you interview for might not go through. Be prepared to do some work on your resume, put the ego aside and get all the information you can from your recruiter.
  • Stay connected. Speak with a recruiter (and continue to do so on all your contracts) so that you can keep your ear to the ground and are aware of what to expect since you were last interviewing. Staying up to date on the market trends throughout all your contracts is a good way to stay educated on what is expected for the next job.
  • Network! If you are not still doing this, it would be a good time to get back into networking events to put yourself out there and start to get used to selling yourself and your skills again. This will allow you to work out the interview muscles and get used to being forward about your accomplishments.
  • Be open to permanent roles. You might have been on the contract for quite a while and enjoyed the stability. In the current landscape and market we are in now, permanent roles are surfacing more and more. Be open to all opportunities, you never know.

Being back on the market after a long IT contract can be daunting and nerve-wracking. Fortunately, you don’t have to go it alone. Reach out to your favourite tech recruiter and I guarantee they’ll be happy to get you on your way and into your next placement before you know it.

IT Industry News for November 2020

Kevin Dee By Kevin Dee, Co-Founder of Eagle

This post first appeared on the Eagle Blog on December 7h, 2020

This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the Tech industry for November 2020. What you see here is a précis of the monthly report I produce, which will be available in more detail at the News section of the Eagle website, where you will also find back issues.

A Little History of previous year’s Novembers …

Five years ago, November 2015 saw Expedia pay $3.9 billion for HomeAway as a vehicle to better compete with Airbnb.  Zayo Holding Group became the first foreign company to own The apple logo and apple with a bite out of ita Canadian telco after paying $465 million for Allstream.  Other, smaller deals saw Apple buy Faceshift, a motion capture company whose technology was used in a Star Wars movie; and Lightspeed POS bought SEOshop, increasing its size as a competitor to Shopify.  Other deals saw Ingram Micro grow its Brazilian presence with the purchase of ACAO; PCM bought Edmonton-based services firm Acrodex; Data centre company CentriLogic bought infrastructure company Advanced Knowledge Networks; solution provider Scalar Systems bought another Toronto company, professional services firm Eosensa; and Washington-based New Signature bought Toronto-based Microsoft Partner, Imason.

In November 2016, Broadcom acquired Brocade Communication Systems for $5.9 billion; Oracle logo a large software company originally noted for its databaseAdobe purchased multi-channel programmatic video platform TubeMogul for $540 million; IT services and outsourcing provider Wipro Limited bought IT cloud consulting firm Appirio for $500 million; Oracle announced its plans to acquire DNS solution provider, Dyn Inc.; SoftwareOne acquired and integrated House of Lync; and Avnet completed an acquisition of Hackster.

Three years ago, in November 2017, the big M&A activity for the month saw investment firm Thoma Bravo pay $1.6 billion for Barracuda networksMcAfee also made an acquisition, Skyhigh Networks which used to be an Intel company.  Smaller deals saw Talend buy Restlet and Qualys buy Netwatcher.

November 2018 was a busy month in the M&A space, with lots of action!  The largest deal saw SAP shell out $8 billion for experience management company Qualtrics.  Not far behind was Commscope paying $7.4 billion for telecommunication equipment maker Arris.  Vista Equity partners paid $1.94 billion for cloud software company Apptio; and private equity fund CVC paid $1.8 billion for a global IT and managed services provider, ConvergeOne Holdings.  The final billion-dollar deal saw Blackerry make its largest acquisition to date, paying $1.4 billion for AI cybersecurity startup Cylance.  In other deals, Thoma Bravo bought security testing vendor Veracode for $950 million; LinkedIn paid $400 LinkedIn Logomillion for a surveying startup, Glint; power management company Eaton paid $300 million for Turkish company Ulusoy Elektrik; and Citrix shelled out $200 million for intelligent portal company Sapho.  There were plenty of big name companies out shopping with no price tag named. Accenture bought a German design agency Kolle Rebbe; Apple bought AI company Silk Labs;  HPE bought big data company Bluedata; Oracle bought Talari Networks; Cisco bought networking company Ensoft; Microsoft bought another AI company, startup XOXCO; Red Hat (recently purchased by IBM) bought storage startup NooBaa; VMware bought Kubernotes startup Heptio; Symantec bought a couple of companies, Appthirty and Javelin Networks; and DXC bought a couple of companies, TESM and BusinessNow.

Last year, November 2019 saw quite a few “big dollar” deals.  The biggest saw Apollo Global taking TechData private in a deal worth $5.4 billion.  Google sold its Stubhub subsidiary to Viagogo for $4.05 billion; Xerox sold its stake in Fuji Xerox such that Fujifilm will own the whole entity at a cost of $2.3 billion; Google paid $2.1 billion for Fitbit; and Opentext paid $1.4 billion for security company Carbonite.  That is a lot of $ billion deals for one month!  Other deals saw Proofpoint pay $225 million for threat management company ObserveIT; DXC picked up solution providers, Virtual Clarity and Bluleader; Rackspace bought professional services company Onica, and Mimecast picked up DMARC Analyzer.

Which brings us back to the present …

 November 2020 continued the trend of M&A activity that we have seen these last few months, despite or perhaps because of the pandemic.  Certainly, there are distressed companies “out there”, but many companies are also just continuing to pursue their long term strategies.

The biggest deals this month saw Adobe shell out $1.5 billion for Workfront, a work management software company; Coupa Software paid $1.5 billon for AI powered supply chain design and planning company Llamasoft; Telus International also bought AI capability with their $1.2 million purchase of Lionbridge AI; and Palo Alto Networks paid $800 million for security vendor Expanse.

IBM logoSecurity company FireEye paid $186 million for cybersecurity investigation automation company Respond; and Connectwise paid $80 million for cybersecurity company Perch SecurityIBM made a couple of acquisitions; TruQua Enterprises is an SAP consulting company and Instana an application performance monitoring company with AI capability.

Cisco logoThere were  plenty more deals including Cisco buying cloud company Banzai Cloud; Splunk  bought network monitoring company Flowmill; Ping Identity  bought developer Symphonic Software; cybersecurity company Barracuda bought remote access company Fyde; StorCentric bought storage company Violin Systems; and another cybersecurty deal saw Acronis buy CyberLynx.

Apple was in the news this month, settling a case related to their throttling performance on iPhones to encourage users to upgrade.

Around the world we continue to deal with the pandemic.  There is promising news of vaccines, which will bring some relief as they are rolled out.  Economic indicators and job numbers have been improving for several months, but we are seeing rising cases and more lockdowns so the recovery is forecast to slow down.

That’s my look at the tech industry for November 2020. The full edition will be available soon on the Eagle website.   Until next month Walk Fast and Smile … don’t forget to be safe, wear a mask, wash your hands and socially distance.  We will get through this together!

Regional Job Market Update for Toronto, Ontario

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

Toronto, Ontario CanadaCOVID-19 has spared almost no business and the IT job market in Toronto is no exception. While it has certainly been spared some of the devastating consequences of other industries like the airline, hotel, and hospitalities, it has not been without pain and hardship of its own.

We’ve seen a mix of reactions and strategies from organizations to get through this turmoil, and it all depends on the company’s individual circumstances. While some are able and willing to use this time to accelerate their digital transformation and IT systems others are simply not financially able to, depending on where IT fits within their business and the impact of COVID.

Overall, though, there are technology employment trends that are standing out, many of which are the result of COVID-19 adjustment strategies. For example:

  • There is an increased demand for security resources as companies deal with the challenges associated with a remote workforce and the security challenges associated with keeping data secure from so many remote locations.
  • The demand for resources skilled in data analysis and analytics is expected to continue, if not rise.  Companies are competing to better understand how their customers operate in this reality.  Data positions are in high demand and this looks to continue.
  • Web-based projects continue to be on the rise, with UI and UX developers being sought after throughout all industries.

As stated, the outlook for IT jobs in Toronto is rosier than many other industries and locations.  Jobs grew in Ontario in June and July and IT far outpaced the median here. Specifically in Toronto, employers are continuing to recognize the strength of talent that’s out there. Once again, CBRE ranked Toronto the 4th best city in North America for tech talent in 2020, citing an overall 5-year employment growth of 36.5% and 5-year wage growth of 11.2%.

Part of the city’s success is due to the thousands of immigrant tech workers choosing to come here rather than the US, and Toronto is benefitting from that trend. Policy south of the border is encouraging more immigrants from Silicon Valley to make the Great White North their home, and leading companies are following the talent, choosing Toronto for their headquarters.

As we all band together to get through these tough times, the future remains bright in the Toronto IT market.  The expectation that organizations will continue to invest in IT in Toronto means the demand for top talent will remain high. That said, competition for contracts is also strong, so if you’re an IT contractor navigating your way through tough times, my advice is to continue expanding your networks and talking to recruiters. Companies who are hiring are doing so quickly, meaning the contractors who are top of mind and keeping their skills fresh are the ones most likely to get the gig.

Regional Job Market Update for Montreal

David O'Brien By David O’Brien,
Senior Vice President, Business Development at Eagle

Panoramic Photo Montreal city fron Mount RoyalThe COVID-19 Pandemic and associated deep recession in Canada has made market,  job and employment reports a bleak exercise indeed. As GDP has shrunk substantially in Canada and in fact globally , employers shocked with an unanticipated event reacted initially by stopping hiring then, implementing layoffs, and finally followed by a” how do we survive” — more specifically “Are we prepared to compete in a fully digital marketplace?”

Quebec, and more specifically Montreal, was hit very hard and early by the pandemic. The unemployment rate in Quebec went from a near full employment rate of 4.2% in February to 14.2 % in May. We know from previous data that the technology unemployment rate is about half the general  broader unemployment rate.  The question is where did the Montreal tech job market go? Well, we know that at the same time the pandemic was raging through employment markets and economies, there was an incredible Big Tech rally that completely defies what was happening on the street. This added hundreds of billions of dollars of wealth to companies like Apple, Amazon , Microsoft and Ottawa’s own Shopify, which recently passed RBC as Canada’s largest capitalized company  worth $164B !

Montreal is one of 3 big Tech hubs in Canada, along with Toronto and Vancouver. We certainly saw this market resilience in Montreal as it was one of  Eagle’s busiest branches relatively speaking throughout the Pandemic. The city, while also hit hard early with the Pandemic, also led Canada in restoring some sense of the new “abnormal ” as it moved first to open the economy in Canada. With diverse sectors along with Tech, for example Telco, players in Montreal moved quickly and continued to hire what now was more generally available resources in an strategic effort to amp up their digitized commerce and service offerings.

We have seen now many organizations in Montreal and elsewhere take the event as a time to evaluate their digital strength and no doubt in time refocus on projects to ensure they are able to survive and thrive in an ecommerce world. In demand roles in Montreal include PMs, Full Stack and Application Developers , QA resources along with Security and Cyber resources.

The New (and, likely, persistent) “Normal” — Constrained Labour Supply — Opens New Opportunities for Canadian IT Contractors

The New (and, likely, persistent) "Normal" -- Constrained Labour Supply -- Opens New Opportunities for Canadian IT Contractors

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

I’m just going to come out and say it… Unless there is a global economic melt-down, tight labour supply is here and it’s here to stay. If you already believe this to be so, stop reading and spend your valuable time on another blog post as I’m just going to re-affirm your convictions. If you aren’t sure about this (or are one of those people who really enjoy having their convictions re-affirmed), then by all means… read on!

With respect to the “baby-boomer-retirement-leaving-a-shortage-of-workers” scenario, this has been predicted for decades, and the United States appears to have hit their tipping point this past year. Yes, their economy is strong but it is more than that; they are at 50-year lows in unemployment rate (another ½ point lower and they’ll be at 70-year lows). This is a measure of broad-based employment – not just technical (or even professional) roles, its pretty much across the board. However, in tech, it is even worse. There are more job openings than there are people in the space needed to fill them. In my last blog post for Eagle’s Talent Development Centre, I discussed the growing “skills gap” but this isn’t what I’m referring to here (although the skills gap is part of it). There are more open roles in IT in the USA than there are IT people looking for work, regardless of the skills gap (the fact that the skills gap exists just makes the issue a whole lot more impactful). Industry followers have predicted that fully 1/3 of the US’ open IT positions may go unfilled. Because of this, the US is exporting their shortages to the rest of the world by either opening new offices in other countries, having foreign workers move to the US to work or, more often, hiring remote workers who can complete their jobs in their current country of residence.

In an article posted by CIO Dive, they discuss the severe shortages for Cloud experts. They suggest that Cloud specialists aren’t even answering their phones anymore as they are getting 20+ calls every week about new opportunities. The solution for filling these roles, the article suggests, is to hire based on attitude and aptitude and train what is needed. Interestingly, this article could have just as easily been written about some other IT technology and still remained valid — replace Cloud with AI, Blockchain, CyberSecurity, Data Science, Big Data Analytics or any number of other “hot technologies” and the message would still hold true. A shortage in labour is the new normal.

What are IT consultants, employees and contractors to do with this information? Well, it certainly will put more power in your hands to choose the roles, projects and companies that you want to work at. And you may find yourself and your staffing company partner in a better position to negotiate rates on your behalf. But as I wrote in my previous blog, other aspects of the opportunity are sure to become more important in your decision making. The following attributes may hold greater weight when applicants make their own, personal decisions as to what constitutes “premiere assignments”:

  • Strong corporate mandate/message/culture… matching your own morals and philosophies
  • Flexibility… work/life balanced offered and/or having the ability to complete remote work
  • Team Dynamics… fitting in with the existing team, their approach and practices
  • Is the project set up for success?
  • Leading edge technology or approaches leveraged by the company… learning something new and keeping your resume current
  • In the same vein as the point above, are training and/or certifications offered by the company that is doing the hiring?
  • Work environment perks… free snacks, catered lunches, bring pet to work, etc.
  • Will the project allow you to “make a difference”? Is your work truly impactful?
  • Tuition reimbursement… typically a perk offered to permanent hires at some companies, but as supply tightens, this may become more common!

Some of these attributes or “perks” are mostly seen in the permanent hiring of employees; however, as supply becomes even more constrained and companies look to increase their competitiveness for resources, it is likely that some of these (or perks similar to them) will make their way into the “offer-package” for gig jobs as well.

This all sounds pretty good, but if you are on the wrong end of the skills gap, this blog post may ring hollow. It is a difficult position to be in when you no longer have what companies are asking for… but people who choose to make their career in the tech-industry understand that life-long learning and re-training is a necessary part of keeping relevant. And, as mentioned above, companies will begin to hire people based on their aptitude and core-skills and train the rest. Keeping up with your networking, building relationships with multiple recruiters, and staying “in the loop” will also be critical to maximizing your exposure to new opportunities.

By embracing change and closely following the latest tech-trends, a career in technology will be rewarding and, with long-term labour supply constraints, you may find more opportunities for meaningful work and an environment that really fits your personal and professional needs. The future is bright — there may never have been a better time to be a contactor!

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

Kelly Benson By Kelly Benson,
Branch Manager at Eagle

Regional Job Market Update for Calgary, Alberta

While the employment numbers were relatively strong across the country in 2019, Calgary’s recovery remains frustratingly slow.  Our city still faces many of the same challenges with low oil prices, limited markets for our resources, low consumer spending and too high unemployment rates.  The good news in all of this is that many of our clients are now focused on looking forward with an optimistic belief that the biggest challenges are now behind us.

We are so used to hearing about all the things that are not going well, that it often puts a damper on the things that are going well.  When we look for positive narrative, we see a lot of great things happening in our city and much of the positive news is in the IT and Tech space:

Tech job activity has been steadily increasing over the past few years and a lot of that is being driven by a shift to digital.  With digital transformation, the definition of a career in IT is also shifting.  The result is that tech jobs are on the rise and we continue to see demand increasing for tech roles in non-tech companies.  Afterall, the banks no longer employ primarily bankers and energy companies employ far more than just geoscientists.

No longer do we only think of the big tech companies when we think of Data Engineers and Software Developers. More and more of our big corporate clients are developing their own internal Innovation Labs where they are experimenting with leading-edge technology including Advanced Analytics, Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain.

The biggest challenge for business in Calgary is that the demand for good tech talent is high.  Many of our largest clients are embarking on similar journeys at the same time, which is creating temporary skills shortages.  Because Calgary lagged other markets in new technology adoption, the availability of talent experienced in the newer technology is lagging and we are being forced to look for talent outside the city to get access to certain expertise more often than we would like.

At Eagle, we have seen demand for IT talent steadily increasing over the past year that is combined with a steady decrease in the number of active job seekers applying for roles.  More work available.  Less people to do that work.  Doesn’t that sound like a good problem to have?  It depends who you ask!  The talent supply and demand gap is getting wider and is a top concern for executives.

Where is the current demand in Calgary?

  • SAP S/4HANA
  • Data Analytics/Data Engineering
  • Data Science
  • Development – Java (React/Angular/Node)
  • ServiceNow
  • Cloud expertise–AWS, Azure

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.