New Brunswick

Ad campaign's 3,000-jobs claim doesn't add up

New Brunswick's national advertising campaign that claims the province has "3,000 jobs Now" for people to apply for is prone to exaggerating the opportunities, a CBC News review has found, but the minister in charge says that is not a concern.

Tally includes employment opportunities listed multiple times and stale ads for jobs already filled

This New Brunswick advertisement in the Calgary airport tells people the province has 3,000 job openings and is a 'growth leader' in Canada. (Twitter/ New Brunswick Official Opposition)

A national New Brunswick advertising campaign that claims the province has "3,000 jobs Now" for people to apply for has exaggerated the opportunities, a CBC News review has found, but the minister in charge is not concerned.

"It's fairly accurate," Training and Labour Minister Donald Arseneault said of the claim of 3,000 currently available listings on the government's website nbjobs.ca.

"I'm not worried about that number not being accurate or too optimistic," he said. "It is there. They are with legitimate companies, and they're waiting for people to bring in their request for applications."

I'm not worried about that number not being accurate or too optimistic.- Donald Arseneault , training and labour minister

New Brunswick is spending $360,000 advertising in several provinces about what it calls the province's "soaring economy" and the availability of "3,000 jobs Now."

That number is drawn from listings on nbjobs.ca, which attempts to compile all available want ads in the province.

As of Monday at noon the website was listing "over 2,816 jobs in New Brunswick."

The government's nbjobs.ca website stated Monday there were more than 2,816 jobs in New Brunswick. Some job openings were counted more than once. (Government of New Brunswick)

Duplicate ads listed

However, a review of those jobs shows a number of listings that are duplicates and others for competitions that are already closed. In some cases there are no actual jobs, with employers indicating they are only compiling lists of candidates for potential future positions that may or may not become available.

"You are not applying for a specific job, but for an inventory for future vacancies," read several different ads from the federal government on the nbjobs.ca site that are nevertheless counted in the "3,000 jobs Now" campaign.

Similarly, Cara Foods has 17 positions listed on nbjobs.ca with its various restaurant chains but is vague about how many openings there really are.

"This posting may be designed to generate a pool of candidates for potential future opportunities," say the ads.. "Immediate positions may or may not exist today."

Ads from outside site reposted

The provincial government's advertising campaign elsewhere in Canada includes the use of billboards. (New Brunswick Official Opposition)
Another problem is that nbjobs.ca republishes listings from outside job sites and often counts them separately, even if several sites are advertising the same job.

For example, Enterprise car rental listed a management trainee position in Saint John on Workopolis, jobpostings.ca, CareerBeacon and jobbank.gc.ca.

New Brunswick imported each ad onto nbjobs.ca and listed them as being four separate jobs available in Saint John.

Other double-counting problems appeared with the call centre company Sykes.

8 openings counted as 64

According to NBjobs.ca, Sykes has eight positions available in Campbellton for people to work from home answering the phone and providing customer service. But it also advertises the same eight positions in Bathurst, Dieppe, Edmundston, Moncton, Saint John, Fredericton and Miramichi.

The province counts that as 64 separate home-based jobs, although it appears to be eight jobs advertised over and over in different New Brunswick communities.

Sykes did not respond to a request for information about how many openings it actually has, but counting single job postings multiple times appears to be common practice on the nbjobs.ca site.

The company Best Version Media Canada Ltd, which is looking for people to sell advertisements on commission, is listed as having 68 jobs available in New Brunswick. But it too posts identical ads over and over in several communities at once.

Jobs posted multiple times

For example, the company posted a want ad for someone to sell advertisements at the Kingsclear First Nation on Jan. 4.  It then reposted the ad on the Jan. 10, 11, 13, and Jan. 15. NBjobs.ca counts that as five separate jobs currently available in Kingsclear, although it is one job listed five times.

The company made similar multiple postings for similar jobs in Bathurst, Campbellton, Dalhousie, Dieppe, Edmundston, Oromocto and other communities, with nbjobs.ca counting it as a new job each time, further exaggerating opportunities in the province.

Added to that are dozens of stale want ads posted prior to Christmas that list jobs that have already been filled.

Donald Arseneault, the training and labour minister, says there actually may be 3,000 job openings in the province, even if they're not apparent in job listings. Many employers don't register their openings with nbjobs.ca, he says. (CBC)
Arseneault acknowledged there may be some problems but said there are also employers who do not advertise on nbjobs.ca so that the advertising campaign's claim of there being 3,000 jobs available now may be accurate anyway.

"Maybe there are some instances where there is some duplication," he said.

"There's many employers in the province of New Brunswick who do not register with nbjobs who have a lot of job opportunities that are available." 

About the Author

Robert Jones

Reporter

Robert Jones has been a reporter and producer with CBC New Brunswick since 1990. His investigative reports on petroleum pricing in New Brunswick won several regional and national awards and led to the adoption of price regulation in 2006.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now