The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey for quarter 4 of 2015 suggests a limited hiring expectation in Alberta. This is a more limited expectation than that of previous quarters but I hope to highlight that despite the flat hiring expectation, employers still anticipate a significant amount of hiring activity over the coming months. It does not mean that there is no hiring anticipated in Alberta for the next few months. The survey is conducted quarterly to measure employer’s intentions to increase or decrease the number of their employees in their workforce during the upcoming quarter. The survey has been running for over 50 years and is one of the most trusted surveys of employment activity in the world. Net employment is derived by looking at those planning to hire, reduced by those anticipating cutbacks. For Edmonton the survey shows 15 percent of employer’s plan to hire, while eleven percent anticipate cutbacks. 13 percent of Calgary employers plan hiring, while 11 percent anticipate cutbacks. In Red Deer the activity is less with five percent of employers planning to hire, but only five percent anticipating cutbacks. Across the board the result is expected to be flat, but for every lay off there is a hire expected.
What does all of this mean?
First, it means that there is a relatively good amount of hiring anticipated, considering the size of the Alberta workforce. Based on the survey, the number of people working in Alberta is anticipated to be stable. The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers says that 35,000 oilpatch jobs have been cut this year (approximately 25,000 from the oil services sector and 10,000 from exploration and production). This feels like a sharp contrast to a year ago but this is not the whole picture. Other industries are picking up as Alberta job growth overall has been flat. That is well reflected by the survey expectations, which suggest that when looking at the overall picture, there will be jobs. BUT, many of the jobs will be different. It can be very difficult for someone who has worked for many years in one sector to consider that their future job may be outside of their scope or specialty. History also tells us that when jobs are unavailable in one area, they become available in another. For those who find themselves in this situation, I suggest that you think about the following:
1. Where are your skills best applied? Could your job teach you a new skill or set of skills?
2. Do you have the opportunity to refresh your education so you are prepared for the future?
For the job seeker, this time is about employment flexibility and transferable skills. The last quarter of the year is historically a quarter when the energy sector will set their budgets for the upcoming year. It is also a quarter when the wholesale and retail trade sector is at a peak. The survey results and the statistics continue to support an overall flat environment, but in fact a good amount of employment movement. Mobility, transferability, and flexibility are key attributes for those who will be the most successful at this time. Change can also represent a time of renewal and preparation for your next GREAT step in the world of work.
We regularly read the news of cutbacks and wage reduction. But the reality is there is hiring. I get asked if there are “any good jobs” left. The answer is an overwhelming YES.
Finally, during this time when employers are looking to do more with less, approaching every day with the intent to be OUTSTANDING will set you apart.