David Aplin Group's Vice President of British Columbia and Saskatchewan, Jacqueline Gallagher, reports to the Edmonton Journal on hiring candidates from Alberta in the BC marketplace, and the challenges recruiters are facing. [Read the full article]
The pool of talented and unemployed job applicants is growing in Alberta, but recruiters in British Columbia say poaching workers from the other side of the Rockies has challenges. Jeff Abram, president of SearchWest, a sales, marketing, operations, finance and accounting recruiting firm in Vancouver, said he’s “aggressively seeking” Albertans to move to Vancouver, but once workers start to crunch the numbers they realize a job on the coast is not always a coup.
A job in Vancouver doesn’t often come with the same paycheque or title as one in Calgary, for example — where more company head offices are located — and the cost of living is at least double. A $700,000 or $800,000 home in Calgary might net a one-bedroom downtown condominium suite in Vancouver, Abram said. That, or they face a one- to three-hour commute from the suburbs. “They’re really caught in a tough spot. They can’t afford not to work, but they can’t afford to live here, so what do they do?” he asked. “If I were them, I’d be looking east. I wouldn’t be looking west.”
Alberta’s jobless rate hit 7.4 per cent in January, the highest it has been since February 1996, when West Texas Intermediate, the benchmark grade of U.S. light oil, traded for $18 US a barrel. Alberta shed 10,000 jobs in January and 35,000 the past year. Those who are taking jobs in Vancouver and other expensive parts of B.C. are moving on their own and sending money back home to their families in Alberta, Abram said.
Another recruiter based in Vancouver says that setup is unsustainable and makes top-notch candidates less appealing to employers. “Typically, what we’ve seen happen with the business cycle is if we headhunt someone in Alberta now, as soon as the price of oil rebounds, and it will eventually … then all of the Albertans look to return home,” said Jacqueline Gallagher, vice-president overseeing recruitment in Saskatchewan and B.C. for the David Aplin Group. “That’s a tough candidate to present to a client because the client really doesn’t believe the candidate is committed to their move to B.C.,” she said.
Employers are more willing to hire Albertans to cover contract positions, but would rather hire locally to fill full-time jobs, she said. And now they have more local talent to choose from as people originally from Saskatchewan return home from the Alberta oilsands looking for work. Bruce Powell, managing partner at IQ Partners in Toronto, which recruits in marketing, finance and technology, said clients are generally looking to hire quickly, so a candidate who has to move isn’t ideal. “We’re not really needing to recruit into other geographies. It doesn’t mean we aren’t getting people reaching out … but we haven’t run out of available talent in the market that we’re in so that we have to cast outside of our market,” he said. Powell’s tip to Albertans wanting to relocate is to build their work profiles based on the market they’re pursuing, including getting a phone number with the corresponding area code.
Edmonton still looks like a step in the right direction
Even though Tyler Cunningham is moving to Edmonton as the economy has been hit by falling oil prices, he sees it as a step up from the job market he’s used to in Windsor, Ont. Windsor has the highest unemployment rate in the country at 9.6 per cent. It was so bad there, he found a job in his field of marketing in a city 5-1/2 hours away. He commuted, returning home from Peterborough, Ont., on Fridays and leaving again Sunday nights. “Perhaps (the economy is) dour for those experiencing it in Edmonton, but it’s more positive than I’m used to,” he said.
Cunningham doesn’t have a job lined up in Edmonton, where the unemployment rate is 6.5 per cent, but his wife does. She works in the health-care sector and was wooed to Alberta, he said. “It’s a shame, I just feel like I’m just a few years off from when it was such a heyday, when everyone was running out,” he said. “Now I’m coming in when seemingly everyone is leaving. It’s tough and it’s hard to anticipate what to expect.”
Original SOURCE ARTICLE: Edmonton Journal
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