Which industries are hiring in Western Canada and which are experiencing a deep freeze this winter? As we combine economic research with the observations of our senior staff members, a picture of the current labour market emerges. While many industries struggle as the pandemic begins to consume its second calendar year, others are presented with opportunity.
Healthy Construction Job Market
“Construction companies are looking for experienced candidates that can hit the ground running, such as Civil Engineers, Estimators, Project Managers, etc.,” notes recruiter Alessia Pagliaroli. It’s a trend that her fellow recruiter Karen Epp notices as well, as does Goldbeck’s Certified Professional Human Resources Consultant Judy Slutsky.
Indeed, Statistics Canada reports that BC’s construction sector added 6,600 jobs in December.1
According to the annual survey conducted by the Independent Contractors and Business Association, industry confidence is even stronger in the northern part of the province than in the south.
“You look at things like Site C, LNG, Coastal GasLink. A lot of people happening in BC, which is fantastic,” says Mike Davis with the ICBA.2
According to the survey there is high demand for glaziers, insulators, fabricators, crane and equipment operators, roofers and pipefitters.2
“Labour problems are huge. Doesn’t matter what sub-trade you talk to. Everybody’s in the same boat, suppliers are having a hard time getting people,” says Prince George home builder Allen Creuzot . “It’s just really tough finding qualified labour. Any labour.”2
Disruption giveth and taketh away; Pagliaroli has seen an increase in demand for engineers who can help design solutions for new needs even as pre-Covid roles faded away.
“They are now required by all the companies that, during Covid, had to come up with new products to keep up with the change of times,” explains the Goldbeck Recruiter. “Engineers are essential to develop new products and modify the existing ones.”
Both Epp and Pagliaroli have noted that the building materials industry has also been buoyed by the healthy construction industry.
“As a consequence of the steady growth of the construction industry, building materials manufacturers and distributors are also looking for sales reps to increase their revenue,” says Pagliaroli.
Other Job Markets with Demand
There continue to be jobs within the supply chain.
“B2C who have a fulfillment centre are hiring workers to work onsite,” says Slutsky, adding that this particularly includes retail clothing, home goods and non-perishable/ packaged food (candy in particular).
She observes that the market for non-technical labour continues to be strong, a trend that includes the healthcare industry. “These tend to be hourly wage hires with little experience needed and on the job training provided,” she says.
Other companies she sees hiring right now include IT, tech stores, fast food restaurants where delivery and pickup business has increased, and recreational/sport centres who offer training, coaching, lifestyle/food support programs, and fitness products. These include bike stores, yoga studios, and fitness studios, particularly in Vancouver.
Unfortunately, for many industries the current picture is not so rosy. In light of new lockdowns and social distancing measures, it comes as no surprise that our senior staff are seeing little action in hospitality, tourism, entertainment, and brick and mortar retail as they struggle with lockdowns, safety protocols and customer hesitancy. Finance, insurance, and rental/lease markets are also cool.1
Overall Recruiting Market
Despite, or maybe because of, the uncertainties of the pandemic, there continues to be demand for high achievers.
“Like always, companies are willing to pay for talent,” says Business Development Manager William Goldbeck. “I think the demand for the very top talent is as strong as ever because, if you can be a difference maker at $120K and produce twice the amount of someone who would command $80K, companies do understand the value in that, despite concerns over the bottom line.”
Pagliaroli believes that many of the new listings are a result of last year’s cuts.
“Companies in every sector took advantage of Covid to clean house, so now they are starting to think about replacing those who were let go with more effective individuals.”
With so many people out of work, Goldbeck notices an overabundance of applicants, adding to his workload.
“I think the number of job applicants for employers posting online is through the roof – and not in a good way,” he says. “People may think having a ton of resumes is good but, if you are looking for a particular fit with a precise skillset and you have 500 resumes of junk, that is just a pain. The amount of job seekers is at a point where certain job postings get absolutely hammered.”
Goldbeck has years of experience linking professionals with companies seeking high level staff. With many quality individuals currently available, Goldbeck is uniquely qualified to measure fit and provide carefully considered candidates for positions in a range of industries.