Talent Development Centre

Tag Archives: opportunity

All Talent Development Centre posts for Canadian technology contractors relating to opportunity.

Contractor Quick Poll: Hearing from recruiters?

How do you prefer to get job opportunities from recruiters?

A couple years ago, we asked Eagle’s recruiters about their preferred method to be contacted by IT contractors and passed it on to help our readers understand the most successful ways to build a relationship with a recruiter. Not surprisingly, we learned that everybody has different preferences for being contacted, based on their time management and organization processes.

This month, we’re curious to learn more about technology independent contractors and how they prefer to be contacted by recruiters at staffing agencies regarding new opportunities. What’s your preference in most cases? Do you like to hear a voice so you can ask questions immediately? Would you rather an email with the details or a text with a brief overview? Do you like to be contacted on LinkedIn? Or would you prefer to do your own searching and reach out to the recruiter when you find something that interests you?

Discover Vancouver and Its Job Opportunities

Cameron McCallum By Cameron McCallum,
Regional Vice President at Eagle

The Insiders’ Guide to Moving to Vancouver… Plus a Tip to Find Work When You Get Here!

The truth about the Canadian economy is that while some regions may be booming in job opportunities, others continue to struggle. Even in those cities where careers thrive for one trade or skillset, an expert in another field may not be getting the same luck. If you’re considering a change in venue to find a new career opportunity, have you considered moving to Vancouver?

Is Vancouver the Right Place for You?

Downtown Vancouver Sunset
Downtown Vancouver Sunset” by Magnus Larsson is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

We all have our perspectives on what a city must be like, even when we’ve never set foot in it. Vancouver is one of those cities that evokes a lot of different feelings amongst Canadians. It gets its fair share of press, both negative and positive, which feeds into the stereotypes we all have. For example:

  • We’ve all heard of the “crazy” Vancouver housing market — it exists, but both the City and Province are taking steps to make renting in Vancouver or purchasing a house or condo more affordable.
  • The rain — there is a lot in the winter, but winter is soooo short!
  • The beauty of the city — oceans, mountains, parks… what’s not to like?

The truth is, if you want to live in a city with access to an endless selection of outdoor activities, a thriving arts and culture scene, more international restaurants featuring ethnic and sea food than you will find anywhere, great post-secondary schools, and an airport that gives you access to the entire Pacific Rim, Vancouver is it!

The Job Market and Opportunities in Vancouver

Vancouver has a thriving economy. Already considered one of the most livable cities in the world, businesses are flocking to the city in record numbers and that is driving a lot of opportunity. Companies like Google, AOL, SAP, Amazon to name a few, have decided that Vancouver is a great place to put down roots. Access to Engineering grads and a lifestyle which attracts potential employees from all over the globe has made the city increasingly attractive. And with this “boom” the spillover effect is that other areas of the economy have to respond to the need for increased services and infrastructure. And that leads to more and greater job opportunities, which is where we are at today.

An Inside Scoop on Project Management Jobs in Vancouver!

Eagle is one of Vancouver’s leading employment agencies and we offer a number of IT job opportunities, both contract and full-time. Today, we’re fortunate to be partnering with BC Clinical and Support Services Society (BCCSS) to assist them in hiring a large number of permanent employees with IT Project Management expertise, including Portfolio Managers, Infrastructure Project Managers and Project Manager Team Leads.

Not only is this one of the largest initiatives that I’ve ever been part of, but it has to be one of the largest in Vancouver’s history! And it is not just the volume of recruits needed. The opportunity to work in the health sector, delivering services to mission critical staff and systems in a challenging and dynamic environment, is a rare opportunity that does not come along often. Fantastic Benefits, Pension and other perks all add to the attractiveness of these roles.

So if you’ve been thinking about moving to Vancouver or always had a question in the back of your mind as to what would it be like to live there. Stop thinking about it and act… now is the time.   Feel free to leave your questions in the comments section below.

Vancouver: North America’s Newest Tech Hub

Cameron McCallum By Cameron McCallum,
Regional Vice President at Eagle
Vancouver: North America's Newest Tech Hub
Vancouver Sunset by gags9999 Licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Mention Vancouver and a few things come automatically to mind: Gorgeous landscapes, Stanley Park, laid back people, rain and pricey real estate, to name a few. And while a lot of people know about the Technology industry here, most of you probably have no idea just how big the industry is.

In fact, Vancouver has 3 “Unicorns” or local startups listed at over 1 billion dollars in value (Hootsuite, Avigilon and Slack) and major players like Microsoft, SAP and others have set up shop in trendy locations around Gastown, Yaletown and other interesting Vancouver locations.

While we are yet to approach the scale of IT hubs like the San Francisco Bay area, Washington D.C. or Seattle, Vancouver continues to be an increasingly attractive place for tech companies to do business. Great universities and a rapidly growing millennial population provide a steady supply of talent. Liberal immigration laws provide an even deeper labour pool. Add in relatively cheap commercial real estate compared to U.S. locales and it is easy to see why more and more industry players are locating to Silicon Valley North.

Check out this article from Vancouver Economic Commission for a better understanding North America’s newest tech hub and why you can expect it to be the best city for technology job opportunities in the coming years.

The Outstanding Opportunities for a Senior Executive

Frances McCart By Frances McCart,
Vice-President, Business Development at Eagle

The Outstanding Opportunities for a Senior ExecutiveIs there life after being employed fulltime at the Executive Level? The short answer is YES!

Over the past 5 years, the Canadian marketplace has seen an increase in the demand for Interim Executives, as well as for industry experts to provide subject matter expertise in the role of a Management Consultant.

More and more, as senior executives take packages from Fortune 500 Canadian Firms, for whatever reason, they quickly learn that there is an interest and strong demand for their skills.  Organizations across Canada and around the world want to draw upon their deep industry expertise on an as needed basis, without the high costs associated with having these professionals on a full-time basis.  The resulting agreement is attractive to both parties – the Executive gets to pick and choose their own clients and projects, and when they want to take one on (many take months off between roles) and clients gain the flexibility of hiring an exceptional, results-focused consultant, but only when they need them.

If you’re considering the management consulting route, but unsure if you’ll be able to find work, consider this: Hot interim and management skills in demand right now are for industry experts who possess deep knowledge of running large enterprise-wide programs at the Program Director and Portfolio Director level.  Another hot skill in demand is for industry subject matter expertise from industries such as banking.

In particular from banking are those execs who possess deep knowledge of the payment industry.  Fintech companies are entering the payment marketplace very quickly, and while these firms have the deep technology skills and entrepreneurial flare, many are lacking expertise around governance and compliance rules.  Already at Eagle, we have seen Fintech firms seek out these experts to ensure their offering is in compliance with government regulations.

The Fintech industry is just one example. In fact, there are a plethora of opportunities in all industries for senior-executives to take on a new career and have flexibility, while bringing value to multiple organizations.  If this is something that interests you, but you’re unsure where to start, leave your questions in the comments section below. Or, if you made this switch and have any advice to offer, we’d love to hear about that too!

Hang Your Hat in Winnipeg

Cameron McCallum By Cameron McCallum,
Branch Manager at Eagle

It’s funny how we develop preconceptions of things.  While there might be some semblance of truth involved, often the evidence that we use for forming our opinions of something comes from anecdotal or third party sources.   So how, without experiencing something directly, can we develop such strong feelings?   This seems to be particularly true when we talk about places and locations.  We associate a place or location with very specific words or emotions and those take on a life of their own.  I currently live in Edmonton, Alberta, a vibrant northern city with a ton of exciting urban projects and a population hovering close to 900,000 and rapidly closing in on a million.  And yes, I get it, winter can be long and summers short but honestly, this is a great city with lots to offer. Can a million people be wrong or completely crazy?

"Winnipeg from Above second version" by user:Haljackey - :File:Winnipeg_from_Above.jpg. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.
Winnipeg from Above second version” by user:Haljackey:File:Winnipeg_from_Above.jpg. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

Every place has its positives and negatives and we humans are pretty good at adapting and making a place our home.  But I’m not here to defend my choice for living in Edmonton.  Instead, I want to talk about Winnipeg.  Why?  Simple — Eagle works across Canada with clients from all geographic locations, including Winnipeg. As it turns out, Winnipeg happens to have a lot of great opportunities right now and it is a challenge filling these roles.  So I want to highlight why you as a contract professional, might want to pay more attention to what is happening there and why it is important for you to do so.

  1. There are lots of opportunities in Winnipeg!

It may not be a large city (600k) but Winnipeg has a healthy market for IT professionals and any number of exciting initiatives to take part in.  I’ve seen an increasing need for Project Managers, Business Analysts, Programmer Analysts and Management Consultants along with a number of other skills.  Rates are competitive and it is not overly difficult to find accommodation and settle in, and Winnipeg is the center of Canada (no it is not Toronto) so it’s an easy flight home for a weekend visit, typically not more than 2 hours, whenever you might need to be there.

  1. There is less Competition!

Competition in major markets can make it a challenge to line up contracts, especially when the market slows down in your particular location.  If you are living in Toronto, sure there is a lot of volume but the number of applicants for a single posting means you are competing against many, equally talented and skilled workers.  And if you happen to be in Calgary right now, you know the impacts of the price of a barrel of oil on the job market.  The volume of work is certainly less in Winnipeg, but there is also a shortage of professionals to do the work, so if you’ve come to the conclusion that you wouldn’t mind a change, you just might find that Winnipeg has a lot to offer.

  1. Winnipeg is fun!

Stop rolling your eyes!  I lived in Winnipeg for a number of years and I can speak from experience.  I also had the chance recently to visit Winnipeg and talk to a number of out-of-town contract resources that we’ve placed with clients there.  All of them spoke of being a bit reticent about moving to Winnipeg initially.  But all of them also said that once they were established, they began to see that the city had a lot going for it.  They talked about golfing, joining the Running Room, visiting the new Human Rights museum and just generally getting a feel for the vibe of the City.  I know that Winnipeg has a vibrant cultural scene, great restaurants and lots of options for entertainment.

  1. This doesn’t have to be forever!

You never know, you might actually find you like it so much, you end up staying.  And that is exactly what one of our contractors decided to do.  He found things that he really liked about Winnipeg and he also found a place with a decent economy and good opportunities for someone with his skills.  But even if you don’t end up deciding to stay forever, Winnipeg represents an opportunity to work your next contract while seeing what makes the city tick.  Just remember, traveling for a contract is not everyone’s cup of tea.  Not only do you have to take care of the logistics of moving and the impact that will have on your life, but it is also extremely important that once you’ve accepted a contract, you are committed to seeing it through to the end.

So what do you do if you are interested?  Just follow this link and see what we have open and if you see something that matches your experience and skills, simply apply.  Who knows, a new life adventure might be waiting for you in Winnipeg.

Now’s the Time for IT Contracting in Government

David O'Brien By David O’Brien,
Vice-President, Government Services at Eagle

As the Canadian economy continues to sputter and struggle to gain its footing thanks to the sudden and now seemingly here to stay (at least for the mid-term) low oil prices, growth in our economy and job numbers will likely be flat. Most economists would agree that this is the new “reality,” at least for a while, with perhaps slim hopes that the booming American economy, combined with a low Canadian dollar and lower energy costs, other regions and sectors within Canada will bounce and pick up the slack. To date, however, that simply has not been the case.

What, then, is the role of Government and Public Sector as an employer or choice for contractors as we go forward in times like these? In the past during recessionary times, Governments have had to step up and infuse in to the economy while Private Sector resets and re-calibrates.

Let’s look at job creation during this collapse in oil prices where the jobless rate rose from 6.6% to 6.8% from January to February. In the past year, private sector added 28,000 positions while at the same time Public Sector added 43,000 jobs. Looking at February itself, there was a loss of 29,000 Private Sector jobs while 24,000 were added in Public Sector.

As a result, many contractors have been displaced out of resource-based companies and others. So, is it time to reassess your choices as a contractor and get into Public Sector if you have not before?

There are many very valid reasons why you may want to take a Government contract Success in Public Sector Contractinginstead of one from the private sector, here are but a few:

  • Government projects, by their nature, tend to be longer term projects. Hence the average IT contract in Public Sector is longer.
  • The Feds, provinces and municipalities all make extensive use of Contractors, especially in IT. With the true cost of hiring full-time employees (ie. pensions, benefits etc ) the model of contractors is very valuable. As a result, there is and will continue to be a lot of opportunity.
  • Demographics in Governments see many in Public Sector employees set to retire in droves and opportunities, as a result, will abound.
  • If one so desires, it is an excellent way to transition to full time in the Public Sector.
  • There is ample opportunity to leverage your experience once you have successfully completed a Government contract; multiple departments within Feds, Provincial and municipal governments all value Public Sector experience.
  • Government Security Clearance is a bona fide advantage and added feature to enhance your business as a contractor.
  • There is more stability. While projects are subject to rigour, there is not the same “unpredictability” in the Public Sector. Governments do not tend to close branches, get out of business lines or sell divisions abruptly.
  • It’s called “Public Service” and, yes, I may be old fashioned but there is pride in committing to and helping Canada be a better place to live!

So if you’re not already considering it, yes now is the time to look at Contracting in the Public Sector. Do you need help making the leap or getting a foot in the door? We’d love to help you.  Leave your questions below!

The “Alberta Cycle” and How it Affects Contractors

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

My responsibility at Eagle is Western Canada focused.  That said, I reside and work out of Calgary which is vying with Toronto to be Eagle’s largest branch.  Sure, we have great people, strong process and excellent service delivery, but, let’s face it, without the unequalled strength of the Alberta economy, we would only be a fraction of our size.

So, what am I saying here?

The whole country is well aware that the price per barrel of oil recently dipped below the $50 mark and the medium term prognosis isn’t encouraging.  Our clients are making the necessary adjustments to this new business reality and the economy (along with our local business) is slowing as a result.  It is times like these that can make one feel like Chicken Little, thinking that the sky is falling; however, this couldn’t be further from the truth.  Sure there will be some period of time where things will be tighter and more uncomfortable, but this gives the economy a chance to take a breath and consider new processes and/or technological innovation.  It is an opportunity for Alberta companies to make a planned renewal, to remake ourselves stronger and better competitors.

In the short term, we expect to see (and are, in fact, already seeing) more contractors andCycle and gears consultants “between gigs” — this will undoubtedly have a negative impact on rates in the local market.  Long term contracts, permanent opportunities and contract extensions are now much more appealing.  My advice to Alberta-based professionals working in times such as these is to put things into perspective by recognizing that this is part of the Alberta Cycle and realize that the tough times will end. Consider this time as an opportunity to invest in yourself and your personal business by upgrading your knowledge through continued training/education. This way, you too, will emerge stronger and better able to compete.

This TED Talk on global labour challenges should provide encouragement that your skills as a professional will be very valuable, whether you live in Alberta or elsewhere in Canada or abroad.  People with the highest level of skills will be in the heaviest demand and for those of us living in Alberta, it would be good to remember this as we prepare for the next “up” cycle.

You Job Search Shouldn’t Rest Over the Holidays

Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Stop Searching for IT Contract Opportunities Over the Holidays

We’ll all use this holiday season to relax, enjoy time with family, and even be a little lazy.  Given how busy we are the rest of the year, taking a break is necessary and there’s a good chance that what won’t be on your mind is searching for new contract opportunities.  If Business person working during holiday mealyou are able to squeeze it in between meals and movies, though, you just might set yourself up for a rewarding 2015.

There are several reasons a job search over the holidays can increase your odds of winning a contract.  Here are a few:

  1. Organizations are still hiring. Even though many of us will take a break, business will absolutely continue to operate.  Companies are always planning their next moves, projects are always moving forward, and people are always needed (usually sooner rather than later).  If you keep an eye on your favourite job boards, you’ll notice that, although there won’t be many, there will be new opportunities appearing.
  2. Less competition. And while those new opportunities are appearing, fewer people will be seeing them. Remember, most people use the holidays to “turn off”. When you “turn on” for a few minutes each day, you may be the only person applying to a job.
  3. Budgets reset.  While not true for all organizations, many companies reset their budgets on January 1st.  They suddenly have money to spend and will want to get projects going the second 2015 starts.  They’ll use the holiday period to find contractors to work on those 2015 projects.
  4. Recruiters are easier to reach.  As we said in #1, it may be slower but business doesn’t stop during the holiday season.  Many recruiters are still at their desk and may have some extra time.  What a great opportunity to call them, build relationships, and discuss upcoming roles.
  5. People change jobs in the New Year.  2015 will come with a slew of resolutions and some of them will be to make a career change.  Be proactive by getting your name in front of recruiters and hiring managers over the holidays, and you’ll be the first person they call in January.
  6. Show enthusiasm and initiative.  If anything, taking the time to apply for jobs, writing cover letters and checking in with your network shows that you’re serious about your business.  Many clients love that personality trait and will recognize you for it.

We’re not recommending you cancel your vacation, ignore your family and work for the next few weeks straight.  But could you monitor some websites and make a few calls?  It just might pay off!

10 Opportunities for Contractors

We often say there is no better time to be an independent contractor in Canada, and weTen Opportunities genuinely believe that.  If you’re considering contract work but are unsure if there’s enough opportunity, consider this: ALL great companies use some form of temporary or contract help at various times.

Here are just ten reasons why they do that!

  1. For project work.  Assigning full time staff to a project (a) is sometimes difficult; (b) can cause problems in the role you take them from; and (c) can create issues at the end of the project if there is no new role available.  Hence using a contracted solution works well.
  2. Work with an uncertain future.  It might be an initiative with promise, a pilot of a new line of business or any “high risk” venture.  Companies don’t want to risk having their employees left with no job if the initiative gets canned!
  3. Filling in for staff who are away. Maternity leave, sick leave, leaves of absence are just some examples.
  4. Filling in the role while the company looks for the permanent person. Sometimes that “stand in” person becomes the permanent person, and sometimes companies just need an “interim manager” while they find the perfect candidate for the full time role!
  5. Someone with a very specific skill set. The knowledge isn’t in the organization, but they don’t need that expert forever!
  6. Requiring a “non-partisan” opinion. Companies may seek advice from an expert who has no political ties inside the company.
  7. There’s nobody who has every skill. A company may have money for one headcount, but that headcount needs to have different skills at different times: three months of logistics skills around the holiday season, three months of financial skills around year end closing, and other skills the rest of the year. That’s three different three month contracts!
  8. Knowledge transfer.  There may be a requirement to get employees up to speed on a new system, technology, process etc.  In this case, companies often bring in the expert to work with them through a transition period.
  9. Cost containment.   Contractors are often a more cost effective solution than a full time employee.  When you factor in the cost of hiring, career & HR management , training, loaded benefits, pension costs and the potential of severance costs, a contractor is often a great answer.
  10. Opportunity cost.  For many companies the cost of not advancing a project or other agenda is far greater than the cost associated with bringing in contract help.  If it needs to get done and they don’t have the resources on staff, they bring in contract help!

These are only 10 of the many reasons companies need contractors and, therefore, only 10 of the many reasons there are plenty of opportunities for contractors in today’s economy.  Whether or not it’s for you depends on many variables, but don’t rule it out.  If you have questions, reach out to a recruiter at your favourite staffing company or leave your questions in the comments below.  We’re always happy to help!