Saudi Arabia targets Alberta nurses in face of budget crunch

A recruiting company hopes to exploit the province’s hard line on public sector workers by targeting Alberta nurses who may want to work in the Saudi Arabia.

Recruiter anticipates province will slash staffing in light of dropping oil prices

A billboard on 118th Avenue in Edmonton petitions for nurses to work in Saudi Arabia. (CBC)

A recruiting company hopes to exploit the province’s hard line on public sector workers by targeting Alberta nurses for work in the Saudi Arabia.

A billboard towering over traffic on 118th Avenue lists incentives for the overseas positions, highlighting tax-free income, seven weeks of vacation and free housing.

The billboard, one of 25 erected across Alberta by Helen Ziegler and Associates, went up last week

Nursing student Jaydee Consul says she would be interested in working overseas. (CBC)
A spokesperson for the recruiting company said they anticipate the province will reduce staffing levels due to the drop in oil prices.

Jaydee Consul, a third-year nursing student at Grant MacEwan University, worries about her employment prospects in Alberta and is intrigued by the possibility of working overseas.

"I'd be interested in it, because I don't really have a family or anything, single, ready to travel and explore."

Given the grim employment prospects in our province, recruiters don't need much to draw nurses elsewhere, said Heather Smith, president of the United Nurses of Alberta.

"I think the incentive is a job," she said.

Smith worries the province could lose a generation of new nurses.

“There should be efforts being made by Alberta Health Services to say we will have a job for you, we want you to stay here. Because most of the workforce that moves outside of the province does not come back.”

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