Recruiters from B.C. look to Alberta with Challenges: Edmonton Journal

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.
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…
Read the rest of this article on the Edmonton Journal.