Rise in Alberta job openings does not spell return of high paying jobs, says job recruiter

The number of jobs in Alberta is trickling back, but the types of open positions are not necessarily the same as those lost in the downturn, says a Calgary job recruiter.

Unemployed engineers are likely going to retrain in order to find work again, says About Staffing CEO

Sharlene Massie, the owner and CEO of About Staffing, says although job vacancies are on the rise in Alberta, laid-off engineers are facing a nearly impossible slog to get back into the workforce. (Evelyne Asselin/CBC)

The number of jobs in Alberta is trickling back, but the types of open positions are not necessarily the same as those lost in the downturn, says a Calgary job recruiter.

According to Statistics Canada, the number of job vacancies in Alberta rose by 8,500 in the second quarter compared with the same period last year, which equated to 50,925 job openings in the province from April to June.

Sharlene Massie, the owner of Alberta-based recruitment firm About Staffing, says compared with this time last year, her firm is 100 per cent busier — busy enough that her company has had to hire two new people.

The rise in job openings is being driven mostly by small and medium-sized businesses hiring again.

"The last couple of years has been, 'wait, wait, don't hire, don't hire, too afraid,' but now they're starting to say, 'oh actually I think we're going to be OK, so we're ready to hire now,'" Massie told the Calgary Eyeopener on Friday.

Massie says she's seen a need for a little bit of everything — administration, sales, accounting, IT, analysts. However, employers are looking for people who have a combination of education and skill-set.

"The people who have gone back to school when they've lost their jobs, those are going to be more in demand than pretty much anyone else," she said.

Bad news for engineers

Despite the fact that the number of good jobs is rising and wages are going up, one area Massie says she hasn't seen come back is high-paying jobs for engineers.

She says she had one project manager role for a professional engineer come up this year and received thousands of applications.

"It really hit me that these guys, especially the guys that have been laid off more than a year or two ago, which is most of them, their resumes now are not even usable," she said.

"They've been off too long and they're going to have a really difficult time ever getting anything."

Massie says even though those engineers have a lot of education, they will likely have to retrain to get another job. 


With files from the Calgary Eyeopener