Halifax job fair draws thousands hoping for work

A job fair in Halifax on Tuesday drew thousands of young people, drawn by the promise of work and possibility of big money out west.

Of the 140 exhibitors, about half were from Nova Scotia

The Help Wanted sign was out at a job fair in Halifax on Tuesday. (CBC)

A job fair in Halifax on Tuesday drew thousands of young people, drawn by the promise of work and possibility of big money out west.​

Alberta-based Paskal Cattle Company was one of 140 exhibitors that made the trek to Halifax to meet potential employees.

Jolayne Farn is with the Picture Butte company and said the job fair feels a little awkward to her.

"It's not something I'm proud of, coming into a province and stealing young people from jobs they have already," she said.

The fair was drawing the exact type of workers Nova Scotia is trying to keep — young, educated and ambitious. The companies on hand had the money to sweeten the deal. Trucking cattle for the Paskal Cattle Company pays up to $100,000 a year.

Farn said her province is facing another labour crunch. Changes to the foreign worker rules have made it more difficult for employers to staff with temporary workers.

Andrew Vaughan is a third-year finance student looking for a summer internship next year. (CBC)

"It's very devastating. A lot of people are panicking in Alberta and it's affecting a ton of businesses in Alberta," she said.

Paskal Cattle Company is on a recruitment blitz of the Maritimes. The have already found two people in New Minas and will cover their moving costs.

They weren't the only mid-sized Alberta company at the job fair. The Calgary Italian Bakery is also feeling the labour crunch, according to David Bontorin.

"We're looking for people. Workers from all levels from all disciplines," he said. "Right from production floor right up to maintenance management."

Bontorin said 30 per cent of the Italian Bakery's labour force is temporary foreign workers, a number that will likely have to shrink as the changes take effect.

Half of exhibitors from Nova Scotia

Alberta-based beef producer JBS Canada was looking for sales staff, operations, logistics, accounting and finance.

Recruiter Kelly Johnson said interest from Nova Scotia was exceptional.

"Really, really good," she said. "People are looking for work, they are looking for internships, they're interested in what we do and what we have to offer. We're really happy to be here and tell people who we are."

Although companies from Alberta were well represented at the job fair, about half of the exhibitors were from Nova Scotia.

Mina Koko is an engineering student from Dalhousie University who is due to graduate in 2015 and says the pull out west is strong.

"I'm sure there are tons of students that would love to stay here after their studies," he said. "But there isn't that many opportunities, so we have this drift of students after they graduate from here out west."