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One of THOSE Days!

We ALL have them … some more than others! The reality is that for most of us its just a state of mind, so it is possible to develop some tricks to “pick yourself up”.

Here are some thoughts …

1. Take some ACTION … do something positive. Just doing something often helps to focus the mind on a positive outcome.

2. Do something for someone else. Its interesting but the act of giving can be very positive for us personally.

3. Spend time with those positive influences in your life … avoid the “downers” or negative people.

4. Listen to uplifting music … avoid the melancholy!

5. Spend some time thinking and writing down all of the things for which you should be grateful. (Keep and grow this list over time … you can pull it out next time you get a hit of “the blues”.)

6. Be NICE to yourself … give yourself a present, don’t be so self-critical about any little faults, give yourself some time to feel good!

7. I always feel better if I feel I have accomplished something … so just getting my “To Do” list under control and knocking off a couple of “easy” items makes me feel better.

8. Have a good work out … those endorphins work every time!

9. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff!

10. Walk Fast and Smile

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Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are? Visit the Eagle Job Centre!
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CANADIAN JOB MARKET – Mini update Jan Feb 2011

CANADIAN JOB MARKET – Mini update Jan Feb 2011

General Observations:

 

 

In January Canada had a net gain of 69,000 jobs, split equally between full time and part-time.  An increase in job seekers caused an increase in the unemployment rate from 7.6% last month to 7.8%.  Over the last year Canada has added 327,000 jobs.

The Canadian dollar continues to be very strong, remaining very close to parity with the US dollar with a value around the 99 cent mark. The TSX continues to perform strongly, up more than 700 points from 13,304 last month to 14,027 today.  Generally there appears to be more optimism with 88% of CEOs at the World Economic Forum expressing confidence for the next 12 months.  Overall Europe is performing quite well, driven primarily by Germany and France, but some European countries are still struggling.  The upheaval in Egypt appears to have been resolved for the better, which will again be good for the markets which dislike uncertainty.

For Eagle, January was a decent month that resulted in some growth however the way the holidays worked out the number of hours worked was down a little.  As the month progressed we saw a large increase in orders which suggests that 2011 will see a continuation of the recovery experienced in the latter half of 2010

More Specifically:

The GTA (Greater Toronto Area) is Eagle’s busiest market and other than a slow start to the year (vacations) it does NOT look like it is slowing down at all.  As we have seen for many months now, the banks are extremely busy however we are also seeing a growth in demand from the insurance sector too.  The other sector with big demand has been the telecommunications industry and that has not slowed down either.  As the economy has recovered we have seen a steady growth across all sectors and most are now getting to that “very busy” stage, the retail sector comes to mind, as does the integrator market which has been enjoying strong demand for its services.  The Ontario Provincial Government was not exceptionally busy, however there is talk of an election and typically the government is a little slow to get going in January.  Eagle has seen this increase in demand across ALL of its offerings, clients need contract help from technology resources, finance & accounting professionals AND executive consultants.  In addition there is a big increase in demand for full time resources too!

In Western Canadathe price of a barrel of oil has meant that Calgary continues to be the biggest, most demanding market.  This leads to growth in demand from all of the related industries too, including the system integrators.  Conscious of the labour shortages during the last boom we are seeing an increased interest in outsourcing and offshoring among the big Calgary clients too.  Already we are seeing signs that skills shortages are close, with the best candidates getting “multiple job offers”, and clients who are slow to make the hiring decision losing those people.  With a change in political leadership expected in Alberta there is some caution in government spending so Edmonton is not as busy as it might have been otherwise.  The other Western cities are not experiencing a torrid start to 2011, so we will need to see how that unfolds.

Eagle’s Eastern Canada region was a little mixed this last month.  A slow Ottawa market could be a result of budget realignment, talk of an election or because the fiscal year end is on the horizon.  Montreal however continues to be busy, driven by the financial sector and telcos but we are also seeing media companies get a little more active.
The following are some facts/indicators we are watching as of time of writing:

> The price of oil is still “up there” at a little more than $85 a barrel, with a one year forecast of $98.
> The TSX jumped more than 700 point from last month’s reading of 13,304 to 14,027.
> The Canadian dollar continues to be strong and remains North of 99 cents US.
> Prime remains at 3% however there continues to be talk about when this will go up again!
> Canada added 69,000 jobs (327,000 in the last year) and the unemployment rate was up slightly to 7.8%.
> Eagle experienced growth again in January, in the number of candidates applying, in the number of orders received from clients and in closed business.

Summary

The start of January was a slow period as people continued their vacations, took a little time to get “back in the groove” and plans were made for the New Year.  As the month progressed and heading into February we saw a big increase in activity as clients looked to fill their open positions and candidates picked up their hunt for work.  In Canada we added 69,000 jobs and the unemployment rate is at 7.8% … not bad compared to 9.8% in the US and 9.6% in the EU.  The Canadian dollar is strong, which helps some sectors and hurts others … but is generally a sign of a healthy economy.

Across Canada the two big markets, with the most demand are Toronto and Calgary.  These are also the two cities with the most head offices, so this makes sense.  Montreal, Vancouver, Edmonton, Ottawa and the South West Ontario area are building in demand … if a little slower.

What has changed from the last boom is that companies are much more open to creative solutions to their people needs … companies are actively finding offshore and outsourced solutions.  The big demand in Canada is for skilled resources, whether that be technology, engineering and accounting professionals or tradespeople.  During the last boom in Alberta we saw a big demand for every kind of resource, with “help wanted” signs in every window and some stores closing due to lack of staff.  It remains to be seen whether we will return to those days, but I would NOT bet against it!

My standing advice to ANY company needing people is as follows:  (a) Start the process now with a strong PLANNING phase; (b) develop very clean processes to find, screen, choose, hire and onboard these new resources; and (c) know that you will have a lot of competition and therefore speed in decision making will be critical!

That was my monthly look at the Canadian job market and some of its influences.


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Its the Year of the Rabbit

Chinese New Year is the most important holiday in the Chinese culture.  It is sometimes called the Lunar New Year.  The festival traditionally begins on the first day of the first lunar month in the Chinese calendar and ends on the 15th.  This day is celebrated as the Lantern Festival and falls on February 3rd 2011.  It is also the year of the Rabbit. 

 

TRADITIONS

Red envelopes or red packets are passed out during Chinese New Year celebrations from married couples or the elderly to children.  The red envelopes contain money varying from a few dollars to hundreds.  However the amount given in the envelope is always of even numbers, as odd numbers are associated with cash given at funerals.  Within the Chinese culture, the number 4 is considered bad luck and the money in the envelope should never add up to 4.  The number 8 is considered good luck, and most often 8 dollars is found in the envelopes. 

FESTIVITES

The Chinese New Year celebrations are marked by visiting friends and relatives and new clothing is worn to signify a new year.  The colour red is used in all decorations.  The last day of the New Year, the fifteenth day, is celebrated with a Lantern Festival, where families walk the street carrying lighted lanterns.  This marks the end of the Chinese New Year festivities.

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)

Subscribe to News from the Nest for updates about job market trends, industry news, and more.

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Things You Can’t Control

Ottawa and Toronto had a big dump of snow today. 

When Mother Nature sends a message there really is no ignoring her!  All of our plans are subordinate to what she decides to do.  In our neck of the woods that is usually snow storms, in other places it can be hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, floods, landslides … or any number of natural disasters.

Maybe its her way of reminding us that in the scheme of things our plans are really quite far down the priority list!

 At times like this there is not much more to do than accept that old saying, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)

Subscribe to News from the Nest for updates about job market trends, industry news, and more.

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IT INDUSTRY NEWS – January 2011

This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the ICT industry for January 2011. What you see here is a précis of the monthly report I produce, which will be available in more detail at the News section of the Eagle website, where you will also find back issues. 

I think it’s interesting to look back and see what was news in previous years, and how it might affect news today. Perhaps one of the most noticeable things I see is that some of the most successful and largest companies have a track record of growth through acquisition, and with practice they get very good at it! 

Four years ago in January 2007 there was no talk of recession, and worker confidence was relatively high.  The big news was Microsoft’s launch of Vista and AOL’s $1 Billion purchase of Tradedoubler.  Three years ago, in January 2008, there was much talk about an impending recession.  Dell, Palm and Yahoo all announced layoffs, while Oracle paid $8.5 Billion for BEA, Microsoft paid $1.2 Billion for FAST and SUN paid $1 Billion for MySQL.  Two years ago in January 2009 it was a different story altogether as the world’s economies melted down! The one sizeable M&A deal was the $775 million purchase of Interwoven by Autonomy.  Confidence with IT workers and CEOs alike was at an all time low, and there was a long list of (significant) companies announcing layoffs.  Satyam announced a major financial accounting scam and former Canadian “tech star” Nortel, filed for bankruptcy protection.  Last year in January Twenty-Ten there was cautious optimism in the air, but not much in the way of blockbuster M&A deals however Oracle, Apple, EMC, and Cisco continued their fairly steady acquisition pace.  Perhaps the most interesting acquisition saw PWC here in Canada return to the IT consulting business with the acquisition of Allstream’s non-telecom consulting business, several years after exiting the business by selling it to IBM.  In other news Apple released the much anticipated iPad. 

 Which brings us to January 2011, and an economy that while not perfect, is still generally heading in the right direction.  Lots of good news … globally an all-industry index was at its highest level in the last ten months.  In the US, GDP is growing, employment is growing and CEOs are more confident.  The EU economy is growing too, fuelled primarily by German and French strength despite the economic woes in Spain and Ireland.  Here in Canada we added more jobs in December and unemployment remains at a relatively strong 7.6% (US 9.8%; EU 10.1%).

 There were some big M&A deals this month, the largest being the $3.1 Billion acquisition of Atheros Communications by Qualcomm.  Verizon paid $1.4 Billion for Teremark Worldwide and IGate paid $1.2 Billion for Patni Computer Systems.  Also out spending money were Dell, Google, Cisco and Salesforce.com.  Local company bitheads also bought a couple of companies (Bedlam Games & Playbrains) to form a new entity.

In other news Steve Jobs announced another leave of absence from Apple creating much speculation about why, and Eric Schmidt is moving over to let Google co-founder Larry Page take on the CEO role.  Disconcerting news from PandaLabs tells us that one third of ALL viruses created were created in the last year, however spam levels are down to the lowest levels in almost two years … but that is not expected to last!  Finally the civil unrest in Egypt caused that country to be the first to voluntary sever its connection to the internet! 

An eventful start to 2011, the economic signs are good for most, the pace of change continues to increase and the challenges to the business community keep life interesting.    That’s what caught my eye over the last month, the full edition will be available soon on the Eagle website. Hope this was useful and I’ll be back with the February 2011 industry news in just about a month’s time. 

Walk Fast and Smile.

 Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)

Subscribe to News from the Nest for updates about job market trends, industry news, and more.

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February is Black History Month in Canada and the US

Black History Month is a remembrance of important people and events in the history of the African diaspora. Since 1976, it is celebrated annually in the United States of America and Canada in February and the United Kingdom in the month of October. In the U.S., Black History Month is also referred to as African-American History Month. 

Black History Month actually started as Negro History Week in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson. The goal of Black History Week was to educate Blacks about their cultural background, and instill in them a sense of pride in their race.

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)

Subscribe to News from the Nest for updates about job market trends, industry news, and more.

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Taking Time to THINK

Finding time to THINK is a challenge for many executives and managers … and from my observation, one mistake many make is in not recognising that basic fact.  They go through their days, “doing stuff”,  reacting to situations, driven by the immediate demands of their days.  They may actually be excellent at handling the “fires”, at marshaling “the troops”, at dealing with all of those daily tasks that need to be dealt with.  They get through their weeks feeling like they worked hard, maybe a little frustrated that things “feel out of control”, maybe a sense of “being on the treadmill” … but the next week they go back to doing things exactly the same way.

Our society has a name for that … its called insanity.

In order to be truly successful, managers and executives need to take time away from their “frantic existence” and THINK, REASON and STRATEGISE.  I’m not even talking about strategy sessions or planning sessions.  I am talking about one manager taking time to THINK about how they could contribute more effectively.  About taking (a) the knowledge they have accumulated, (b) the experience they have, (c) the input of their team … and applying it to improve their situation! 

 It requires THINKING .

Are you taking time to THINK … or are you on the treadmill letting your days run you?

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)

Subscribe to News from the Nest for updates about job market trends, industry news, and more.

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Boxing, Injuries, Training & Kevuary

As mentioned in a recent blog entry I have volunteered to be one of the participants in a “white collar boxing” event designed to raise money for cancer research.  This will be the fourth annual Fight for the Cure,and I wrote a blog entry about my participation called Are You Willing to Give … Blood!

The event is March 26th and training was going well, right up until Christmas and a sprained MCL which manifest itself while in the ring sparring!  Ouch … big ouch!  So here I am still trying to rehab my knee and hoping to get back to training soon … before my opponent gets too far ahead of me!

What to do?  what to do?

My physio told me I can get back on a bike, and I reintroduced my spinning bike to my training regimen, I am doing some upper body weights, I am doing abs … but I am not learning to box!  Never fear I have a secret weapon!!!  Kevuary!

Those who read that blog entry will know it is my annual four weeks without alcohol, and I am getting close to the end of a traditional Kevuary which I started January 1st this year.  So … as demonstration of my commitment I am going to continue Kevuary (except for that one week Mexican vacation in late February) right through to march 26th.

Tony … be scared!  All that non-boxing training coupled with a three month Kevuary means you will have trouble catching me in that ring!!!  I’m thinking the next step will be even more drastic … praying for a recovery that gives me a couple of months training before I get in the ring!!!

To all my friends … cross your fingers for me!!

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)

Subscribe to News from the Nest for updates about job market trends, industry news, and more.

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Energy People

Kevin’s definition of an Energy Person:  Someone who positively influences the “energy” in your workplace.  It might be the high energy sales guy with lots of personality; it could be the super nice person who is always “up”; it could be the joker in the office who brings a smile to everyone’s face.

Energy people can have a very positive impact on the morale of your company, which affects productivity.  They can make the workplace a fun place to be, tend to be good performers and they are viewed very positively by management.  Energy people also tend to be happy … glass-full kind of people.

Are you born an energy person … or can it be a learned skill/habit?  I believe it is easier for a naturally outgoing person to be an energy person … BUT if you are prepared to make the effort you too can be that person.

So, be positive, be thoughtful, be energetic, think “glass half-full”; make a positive impression on those around you; walk fast and smile … the benefits will be obvious for yourself and for those around you.

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)

Subscribe to News from the Nest for updates about job market trends, industry news, and more.

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Life-long Learning … 10 Tips!

The concept of life-long learning is espoused often and by many (including me).  It’s a fact that in a fast changing world it is important to keep learning, but in a fast paced world it is also hard to find time.  What are some REAL WORLD ideas that anyone can use to keep learning and growing?

  1.  Read … given how few people actualyy do read, even the act of reading will put you ahead of the curve!.
  2. Get a Mentor … find someone (or some people) who would be willing to spend a little time helping you to grow professionally.
  3. Set aside time for further education … one course a year, a semester etc.  Do something you can stick to.
  4. Keep all of the training materials from any course you take.  Re-visit them six months later and you will very likely learn something new, that was lost on you the first time around.
  5. Borrow training materials from co-workers.
  6. Find blogs related to your field and follow them … set aside time each week to do this.
  7. Get involved in your industry association.
  8. Get involved in charity work … you can learn a lot from the other volunteers.
  9. Get your company to support your training plans.
  10.  Create an action plan based on the above … do what works for YOU!

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)

Subscribe to News from the Nest for updates about job market trends, industry news, and more.

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