CEO Blog

Category Archives: Government

All blog posts by Kevin Dee, Chairman at Eagle — Canada’s premier staffing agency, related to government.

Screening Candidates on Social Media – Is It Worth It?

Eagle's Virtual Recruiter serviceOver the last 10 years, social media has changed the way we do many things in both our personal and professional lives.  One trend that quickly gained traction in the business world was the screening of the social media profiles of job applicants.  In fact, although the results of February’s Virtual Recruiter Quick Poll don’t reflect it, this study from CareerBuilder suggests that almost 40% of companies are now stalking their applicants online before making a hiring decision.

A recent Workopolis article explained how employers engage candidates on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to look for red flags, including both inappropriate content (ex. illegal drug use, drunkenness, profanity) and simple things like bad grammar.  Employers also can make assumptions about an applicant’s technical abilities based on whether or not they have a social media presence.  While these practices are a good way to understand a potential new employee’s personal life and behaviour, it may not always be an accurate screening mechanism and it can backfire.  Here are a few things to consider when screening your candidates’ social media profiles:

Accuracy

“Never judge a book by its cover” – an important message that applies across our lives, including when screening candidates.  Inappropriate Facebook posts, empty LinkedIn pages and Tweets filled with spelling errors don’t necessarily make a person unqualified for a position.  While it is helpful to get an alternate perspective about a person’s work style through information gathered from their social media profile, it’s important to remember that success in a current position and positive references should also factor in the hiring decision.  As long as a candidate’s social media activities don’t hurt the organization, what they do in their personal time should be considered irrelevant.  Another important consideration when looking through a person’s online history is timeline.  You run the risk of judging somebody based on old information or a lack of maturity.  They easily may have changed their ways by the time they applied to your job opening.

Privacy issues

privacyOnce something is posted to the World Wide Web privacy generally goes out the window, but some governments are stepping in, saying there are some privacy rights to consider.  According to an article written by go2, BC’s Office of the Privacy Commissioner has weighed in on the topic and suggests employers should review privacy laws to ensure they’re not over stepping boundaries.  If an applicant feels their information was collected or used improperly, they do have a right to file a complaint with the Privacy Commissioner and that can lead to headaches for your organization.

What does the candidate think?

SurveyA November 2013 study from North Carolina State University found that screening social media accounts can actually alienate potential employees and make it harder to attract top applicants.  According to the study, 66% of job applicants who learned employers had checked them out online felt their privacy had been invaded and were less impressed with the company.  On the other hand, a recent poll conducted by Workopolis suggests that 60% of Canadian job seekers actually consider this to be a normal part of the process and less than 25% would actually think less of their potential employer.

What do you think?  Is it acceptable to screen applicants by reviewing their social media profiles?  If so, how far should an organization go?  Should recruiters ask permission first?  Leave us a comment!

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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!
Gain a competitive edge!  Join Eagle’s Executive Consulting Network!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiter service?
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There is a Price to be Paid for Everything

long-term-thinkingSometimes it is not evident … but generally speaking there IS a price for everything.

If you win a wage increase what is the impact to your employer?

If you do not treat your employees fairly what is the impact on your business?

If you do not pull your weight at work what is the impact?

If your boss expects you to work long hours consistently what is the impact?

If the government increase costs for businesses what is the impact?

If governments do not provide for their citizens what is the impact?

If you spend more than you earn what are the impacts?

If you treat your partner poorly what is the impact?

If a company treats its clients poorly what is the impact?

If you are prudent with your money then you try to live within your means … whether you are an individual, a company or even a government.

If you are prudent with your actions then you can reduce the potential impacts of those actions.

Life is never black and white … there are generally many potential impacts of any action.

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Kevin Dee is Chairman and founder of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Find Canada’s top hot jobs, updated in real-time!  Visit Eagle’s Job Centre!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiter service?
________________________________________________________________


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What Remembrance Day Means For Me

Kevin Dee in his Roayl Navy uniformThis year I think I have collected about 6 poppies so far … they adorn various suit jackets and coats.

I spent seven years in the Royal Navy, but never had to experience the terror of war.  However, most people who have spent some time in the military will have an understanding and sympathy for those who did fight.  It is not soldiers or their Generals and Admirals that start or cause wars … that would be politicians and other leaders of nations.  Remembrance Day is to remember the sacrifices of those who fought, and I like to think that we live in a far better world because of what our fathers and grandfathers did.

My dad fought in the Second World War.  He was a tank gunner who  joined up in 1939 at the age of 19.    My dad wasn’t killed (or I would not be writing this) but he represents a generation whose lives were changed by war.

Only those who have done it can know what it is like to go into battle … can you imagine what it might be like to know you could be killed at any moment?  My dad was in a tin can called a Sherman tank which was severely limited in the armor it carried … and a direct hit, even on its best armor could kill everyone inside with the shock.  When they faced the German Panzers they were out matched in size, armor, range and gun size … imagine a middleweight wrestler taking on a Sumo wrestler!

Picture of Christy Dee in his army uniformHe was trained for desert warfare, saw action in the Middle East and hot countries like Italy yet he was also sent to the jungles of Burma (today known as Myanmar) and my dad had opinions on that move!  My dad didn’t give a lot of details about the war … he liked to tell the stories of when he and his buddies got into trouble, which apparently was not rare and resulted in a demotion or two!  The following however is an indication of a part of my dad’s war, an excerpt I found about the history of the 7th Queen’s Own Hussars (the tank regiment my dad served in).

In 1942, the Regiment was sent to Burma where it covered the long retreat to India. Fierce fighting along the jungle tracks took a terrible toll, but the Regiment never failed to do all that was asked of it. and fought tooth and nail to save the Army. General Alexander said of the 7th Hussars – “Without them we should never have got the Army out of Burma ; no praise can be too high for them”.

Christy Dee Army picture circa 1940My dad and I are not the only members of family with a military connection.  My Uncle Davy was a boy sailor on the HMS Exeter in the Second World War.  The Exeter was sunk in the Java Sea in 1942, and he was captured by Japanese forces and held as a prisoner until the war ended in 1945.  We have all seen the movies about conditions in those camps and the stories I was told of his captivity were horrific … can you imagine the affect on that 17 year old boy?

My dad was young when he died, just 56 years old and my Uncle Davy was only 47 years old when he passed away.  I can’t say they died young because of their war experiences but I can say their lives were changed by those experiences, and it would surprise me if their life expectancy were not affected.  They both missed the formative years of their early careers, and certainly my dad did not get the chance to pursue the career he wanted.  They both lost friends during the war, and the psychological scars that brought, and they both saw the absolute terror of battle … which has to change a person.  Uncle Davy suffered terribly in that camp and spent many months recovering in an Australian hospital after the war, again I found a description of conditions at the camp he was held in Macassar.  He was never the same.

Today we live in the elected democratic society of our choice, that we might not have enjoyed were it not for the sacrifices of many young people in two “great” wars.  No sane person wants war, or suggests that war is anything but evil … but soldiers pay the price of political decisions, and it is soldiers that we have to thank and remember.

These are the reasons why I buy poppies and remember the soldiers, sailors and airmen together with their families who have all sacrificed … and they should never be forgotten.

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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!
Gain a competitive edge!  Join Eagle’s Executive Consulting Network!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiter service?
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Technology Industry News for October 2013

Picture of a newspaperThis is my 30,000 foot look at events in the ICT industry for October 2013. 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.

A Little History of previous year’s Octobers …

Five years ago in October 2008 doom, gloom and market meltdowns were the big news.  The number of IT jobs in the US dropped by 2% quarter over quarter and Symantec, eBay and Yahoo all announced significant layoffs.  A $5.8 billion merger of telcos in the US was the big deal of the month, with rural telephone company Century Tel buying its bigger peer Embarq.  Ebay bought 3 companies, Bill Me Later ($945 million) plus Denmark companies Ben Bla Avis and BilBasen ($390 million).  Symantec paid $695 million for MessageLabs, Tata paid $505 million for Citi’s Indian BPO arm and HP paid cisco$360 million for LeftHand Networks.  In October 2009 news was mixed as the recovery was under way.  Cisco paid $3 Billion for Tandberg, $2.9 Billion for Starent  and $183 Million for ScanSafe.  Adecco paid about $1.1 Billion for MPS Group (includes Beeline); Emerson Electric beefed up its datacenter capability paying $1.2 Billion for Avocent and Sprint Nextel avoided some legal issues by shelling out $831 million for iPCS. October Twenty-Ten saw Bell Canada buy a data center in Montreal (Hypertec) and pick up xwave from its subsidiary Bell Aliant.  Rogers paid $425 million for Atria networks and IBM picked up Toronto based Clarity Systems.  Two years ago in EMC logoOctober 2011 an industry icon, Steve Jobs passed away and IBM announced Virginia Rometty as their first female CEO.  On the M&A front Oracle made a couple of buys, including RightNow Technologies ($1.5 Billion) and Endeca Technologies; Sony bought Ericsson out of their Sony Ericsson joint venture ($1.5 Billion); Red Hat bought storage company Gluster ($136 million); and Cisco bought BNI Video ($99 million).  October 2012 news was dominated by Hurricane Sandy, the US presidential election and here in Canada, my “favorite” Premier (Dalton McGuinty) stepping down, declaring a political “down tools”.   The big deal of the month was a $1.5 billion merger of two US cell carriers, T-Mobile and MetroPCS.  There were also a number of smaller deals, with EMC beefing up in the security area (Silver Tail), Telus expanding its medical solutions portfolio (Kinlogix Medical) and Avnet improving its IBM capabilities (BrightStar and BSP).  In the social networking world Yelp bought its European competitor Qype in a $50 million deal.

Which brings us back to the present …

Oracle logo a large software company originally noted for its databaseOctober 2013 was not a dynamic M&A month, although there was certainly some activity.  Oracle announced two acquisitions in October, both “cloud based companies.  The first company is Big Machines which provides pricing and quote date for sales and orders; and the second is Compendium, a content marketing company.  Other “names” out shopping include Avaya buying the software division of ITNavigator for its call centre and social media monitoring software; Rackspace bought ZeroVM a tech company with a software solution for the cloud; Intuit bought consulting company Level Up Analytics, primarily to acquire its talent; VMWare bought “desktop as a service” company Desktone; Netsuite bought human capital software company TribeHR; and Telus enhanced its mobile offering with the purchase of Public Mobile.

Parliament building in OttawaThere were a few interesting survey results this month.  Forrester’s survey tells us that less than 40% of companies think their IT shop can deliver projects on time and on budget (probably not a big surprise to anyone in IT).  The PC market continues to take a hammering experiencing its sixth consecutive quarter of contraction!  A Fortinet survey suggests that many GenY employees will use their own devices at work despite company policies.  It also appears that Canadian government data breaches are on the rise according to a Privacy Commissioner report.

On the talent front, an Accenture study suggests 46% of CIOs believe they will face skills gaps in the next couple of years.  Meanwhile Gartner tells us that smart machines will cause significant job losses amongst skilled workers over the next decade.

Statistics Canada data shows a positive picture on the unemployment front with employment rising and the unemployment rate dropping to 6.9%.  GDP growth in August also exceeded analyst expectations.

The US economy suffered from the continuing saga in Washington, with Forrester suggesting the impact on technology spending is about 2% in 2013, reducing anticipated growth in that sector from 5.7% to 3.9%.  Not surprisingly, CEO confidence is down and Independent Business optimism is reduced.

That is my update on tech news for October 2013 … until next month, stay positive, 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!
Gain a competitive edge!  Join Eagle’s Executive Consulting Network!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiter service?
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Networking Within Your Industry

Two women businesspeople meeting over a coffeeeThe most successful people I know in my industry (the staffing industry), and probably most industries, spend some time developing relationships with their competitors and others within the industry.  I don’t believe for a minute that it should not be the number one focus … but it should be a high priority.

Why?

1.  Very often the biggest challenges industries face come from outside … whether it is technology changing the landscape, other industries becoming competitors, changing client landscapes, innovative solutions or just the effects of regulatory change.  There  are plenty of common issues to talk about.

2.  Without ever talking about the “secret sauce” of your company it is interesting to talk about the general challenges of running a company, with people who have similar issues.

3.  There is a need for industries to talk about “Best Practices” in order to preserve/grow or influence the external perception of an industry.  This can only be achieved by industry leaders adopting a common approach.

4.  There will always be issues between competitors, whether it is perceived “raiding of staff” or poor business practices in a particular geography/line of business.  It is much easier to be able to pick up the phone and have a frank discussion with someone you have a relationship with, than to call in the lawyers!

5.  To be a leader within an industry takes a level of trust and/or respect that can only be achieved by getting to know others, and allowing them to get to know you.

6.  When the time comes to hire key people into your organisation, it is much better to know people who are those trustworthy, ethical and capable leaders that you would choose to work with!

That is just a few top of mind reasons why you should invest in your relationships with competitors.

The number one rule is that the relationship needs to be an ethical one, one that preserves the integrity of each other’s organisation while working towards a better industry.  It is not really that hard, and certainly nothing to shy away from.

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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!
Gain a competitive edge!  Join Eagle’s Executive Consulting Network!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiter service?
—————————————————————————————————————————————–


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CANADA JOB MARKET Review – 3rd Quarter 2013

General Observations:

jobsThe job market is of course dependent upon the economy, which is in turn influenced by many factors.  Canada is still very dependent upon the US market, which during the third quarter had some decent signs but did not “blow the socks off”, and of course is currently embroiled in the political quagmire on the precipice of default.  With that as a backdrop it is no wonder that Canada’s economy has not “taken off” as was expected in 2013.  The third quarter continues the trend of showing some good indicators but a general feeling that we take “two steps forward and one step back”.  The growth in jobs this quarter slowed from last quarter and while we have 212,000 more jobs than 12 months ago, we have 8,000 less than last quarter.  Canada finished Q3 with an unemployment rate of 6.9%, an improvement on the 7.1% unemployment rate last quarter however the gain appears to be in “less youth looking for work”.

I look at several “big picture” factors when preparing this report, in addition to Eagle’s own experiences on the “front end” of providing talent to our clients across the country.

TSXThe stock market is one “big picture” indicator and the TSX is just one guide there.  If public companies are doing well then they may invest in people, in projects and in R&D.  When companies are not doing so well then they might not make such investments, in fact you may see layoffs and downsizing in an effort to correct the stock price.  The TSX has been a good indicator of our economy and has been somewhat erratic, but for the most part within a reasonable set of parameters.  At around 12,900 when writing this article the TSX is at about the high end of its fluctuations for this last quarter and 1,200 points above the quarter low point.  As mentioned earlier, this is a good indicator for the economy, however we are not seeing this translate into major investment from public companies or any serious job growth.

oil rigsThe “oil patch” is one of Canada’s hottest economies, but to some is known as the oil and (natural) gas sector.  Natural gas prices continue to be low and therefore it is the oil sector, and the industries that feed it, that have been the engine of growth.  With a barrel of oil continuing to cost more than $100, the indicators are good that these companies will continue to invest. Once again the reality is a little different as companies await (hopefully) approvals for major pipeline projects such as Keystone and Northern Gateway.  A positive outcome on these projects is anticipated to create significant demand for people.

dollar splitThe financial sector continues to be a strong engine of growth here in Canada, with Toronto to a large extent and Montreal to a lesser degree being the centers that benefit from their talent demands.  Like most sectors the banks continue to look at the cost base and are prudent in their hiring.  The banks are one of the industries likely to be impacted as the boomers take their pensions, which might create an opportunity for those coming through the ranks and for new employees.

picture of a microwave towerThe telecommunications sector is another very competitive world, and a huge Canadian employer.  The need to be competitive means they invest heavily in technology and infrastructure, creating and sustaining a large workforce.  The potential for foreign competition in this sector is causing some debate about the potential negative impact on Canadian jobs.

The trades continue to be in big demand across Canada, with large construction projects in most of the big Canadian cities together with such large initiatives in the oil sands etc.

parliament hillGovernments across Canada continue to implement austerity measures, downsize and cut back on programs.  The Federal government has reduced its workforce significantly over the last year, and all levels of government are struggling with this same issue.  The other issue that governments face is the sheer number of impending retirees, which will increase job opportunities but may cause some “brain drain” issues.  Canada, like the rest of the world, was expecting to be dealing with the effects of a retiring “boomer” population by now.  The recession and the impact on retirement savings put retirement plans on hold for many, so we have not yet seen a mass exodus from the workforce.  These phenomena will happen and will be a factor in the job market in the coming months and years, particular where good pensions are involved.  This will affect the larger institutions (banks and telcos) along with all levels of government.

Canada’s staffing industry is an excellent barometer of the health of our economy and the Canadian Staffing Index reflects the strength of our job sector.  The index has been generally stronger in 2013 than in 2012, which would indicate a fairly robust staffing sector.  Here at Eagle we saw a slight decrease (5%) in people applying for jobs in the third quarter of 2013 over the second quarter.  At the same time we saw a very small increase (1.5%) in demand from our clients.

More Specifically:

The GTA (Greater Toronto Area) continues to be the largest market for talent in Canada, generating the most demand.  It is the primary financial centre, houses the most head offices in Canada and is the most populous area.  Here at Eagle demand in the GTA far outstrips all other markets, even when the West is booming.  In recent times we have seen an increase in demand in the insurance sector, joining the other “hotter” sectors in demand for talent.  Those other hot sectors include the Financial, telecommunications, construction and service industries.

SaddledomeCalgary has the second most head offices in Canada, is far smaller than Toronto but is the economic hub of Western Canada.  While the Calgary area was hard hit by floods earlier in the year, the third quarter saw a general return to more normal business levels.   The continued strength of the oil sector is good for this region and its governments, although like governments everywhere they are trying to reduce spending.  The West continues to be a good place to find work particularly for engineers and people in the industries that service the oil sectorCalgary business has traditionally been very cyclical, either full speed ahead or full stop! Due to uncertain mid-stream capacity (i.e. pipelines, rail, trucking, etc.), the market has been caught “in-between” for some time, creating a rare “sideways market” for talent. This has resulted in mixed market signals and static wages/rates for most of 2013.  I don’t expect a boom in demand until (if?) the pipeline projects get approved.

Eagle’s Eastern Canada region covers Ottawa, Montreal and “the Maritimes”.  Montreal continues to be fairly busy in the financial sector, the telcos and the construction industry.  There is also some demand in St John’s, NFLD (population about 200,000), and in Halifax (approx. 400,000) but everything is relative and they are not big markets.  The federal Government in Ottawa are expected to proceed with some projects which will be good for employment in Ottawa, but at the same time they have reduced their own headcount significantly.

The demand from our clients has been pretty consistent this year with the types of resources in big demand including change management resources, lean experts, health informatics professionals, security specialists, network experts, mobile developers and increased demand around big data.  Business analysts, financial analysts, controllers, project managers and web developers all seem to have decent demand too.

 Summary:

The third quarter look at the job market includes the Summer months when vacations can impact client demand.  Generally the economy has been “OK” but not great, and while many indicators have been positive, such as an unemployment rate of 6.9%, a stock market that is performing reasonably well and a strong oil sector we have not seen a big increase in demand for resources.

The cities with the bigger demand for skilled resources have not really changed and so if I were looking for work I would want to be in the GTA, Calgary or possibly Montreal.  Regina, Vancouver and Edmonton also have reasonable demand for people, particularly skilled resources.  The industry sectors that have the most demand have not changed and include banking, insurance, construction, telecommunications and the sectors that serve those industries.

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

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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!
Gain a competitive edge!  Join Eagle’s Executive Consulting Network!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiter service?
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The Importance of Entrepreneurship

Countries around the world are trying to rev up their economies and small & medium sized businesses (SMBs) are playing a huge part in that recovery.  I came across the following Infographic at William Griggs blog, although it was originally on the Daily Infographics site.

It gives a small insight into the challenges facing entrepreneurs who start and run theses SMBs.

A look at the chalengesfacing entrepreneurs in an infogrphic form

You can see that the data is US centric, but much of it will apply in any country.

Having looked at this infographic it does give you a better understanding of the next picture!

iamentrepreneur

I can tell you, after seventeen years of running my own business that it is never easy … but there is nothing I would sooner do!

If you want to make a big impact then be an entrepreneur, create jobs, grow a business and help your economy to recover.  In the words of Richard Branson … “Screw it, Let’s do it!”

PS.  Support your local entrepreneurs too … at the end of the day that is the same as supporting your economy!

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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!
Gain a competitive edge!  Join Eagle’s Executive Consulting Network!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiter service?
—————————————————————————————————————————————–


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That Elusive Perfect Economic World

A picture of the globe focused on Noth AmericaIn “that” perfect world we would all have indexed pensions, full health care, ever increasing salaries and fantastic benefits.

In “that” perfect world all of my investments would go steadily up, guaranteeing me a good return into the future.

In “that” perfect world the “situation” I negotiated at any given point in time would never go backwards.  My “collective bargaining agreement” would protect my “rights” for all time.

It does not exist.

“In life we can have results or reasons. If you are not getting the results you want, your reasons are the lies that you keep telling yourself.”  Harald Anderson

Today’s “real” world brings tremendous opportunities … to those willing to take a risk.

Today’s “real” world offers potential for those willing to “earn” it.

Today’s “real” world is not kind to those who “live in the past”.

Today’s “real” world is affected by recessions that destroy savings.

Today’s “real” world has global competition with access to “inexpensive, yet skilled, labour”.

Today’s “real” world has a changing demographic, with more people retiring than entering the workforce.

Today’s real” world has an aging population that will place greater strains on social and health care systems.

Today’s “real” world sees innovation at an incredible pace, with whole industries changed in a very short space of time both good and bad.  Look at the photography industry over the last 10 years.  Look at the growth in the bio sciences sector.

What are YOU doing in this “real” world, today, to look out for your interests tomorrow?

Remember … YOU have the responsibility for YOURSELF. Do NOT expect your government, your employer, your union or even your parents to handle all of your problems.

“My philosophy is that not only are you responsible for your life, but doing the best at this moment puts you I the best place for the next moment.”  Oprah Winfrey

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Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Gain a competitive edge!  Join Eagle’s Executive Consulting Network!
Find Canada’s top hot jobs, updated in real-time!  Visit Eagle’s Job Centre!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiter service?
________________________________________________________________


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CANADIAN JOB MARKET Review – First Quarter 2013

General Observations:

The first two months of the year saw modest job gains but March job figures showed a decline of 55,000 jobs across Canada and the unemployment rate increased to 7.2%.  Having said that, Canada does have 200,000 more jobs than at the same time last year, which is a definite positive.  While Canada fares better than many other countries there has been no boom, even in the hottest sectors which would be financial services, telco and the oil patch.

One of the other indicators for the economy is the stock market and the TSX continues to do “OK”, but with that typical two steps forward, one step back type of performance.  In the first three months of 2013 the index has been marginally higher than the last quarter of 2012, ranging between 12,400 and 12,800.  Last quarter was more volatile, but highs were in the 12,700 range.  As we head into April the index has dropped somewhat with a reading of 12,474 at time of writing this.

The “oil patch” is one of Canada’s hottest economies however even it has been showing signs of slowing down.  While the price of a barrel of oil remains north of $94, which should suggest a period of investment we have seen a number of oil companies downsizing in the Calgary market.  The influx of skilled resources onto the job market means that skills shortages are reduced for a little while.

While the banking sector continues to be a source of demand for skilled resources it too has its challenges.  The recent RBC/iGate outsourcing snafu has put focus on Canada’s temporary foreign worker program and the offshoring phenomena.  While I don’t expect this to change things much there may be an effect on the program which would not be good for Canada’s longer term need for skilled labour.

The telecommunications sector remains very competitive and creates a big demand for resources across the country.  There is an ebb and a flow to this demand as the telephone companies ramp up their projects but generally speaking this is a sector that is always in need of skilled people.

It seems that every major city has a significant number of construction projects on the go, with new towers announced monthly.  This creates almost constant demand for the trades, who continue to enjoy full employment.

Governments across Canada continue to implement austerity measures, downsize and cut back on programs.  The Federal government has reduced its workforce by about 14,400 employees over the last year with another 5,000 jobs expected to go.  Ontario continues to wrestle with its budget woes and may face an election, Alberta has a budget deficit to handle and BC will have an election in May.  All that said, the government vertical remains a tough one to find jobs.

Canada, like the rest of the world, was expecting to be dealing with the effects of a retiring “boomer” population by now.  The recession and the weakness in the stock markets put retirement plans on hold for many, so we have not yet seen a mass exodus from the workforce.  These phenomena will happen and will be a factor in the job market in the coming months and years.

Canada’s staffing industry is an excellent barometer of the health of our economy and the Canadian Staffing Index reflects the strength of our job sector.  This index was trending up throughout 2012 and in the first couple of months in 2013 is trending about the same as the first quarter of 2012.  Here at Eagle however we have seen a 9% decrease in client demand in the first quarter when measured against the first quarter of 2012.  At the same time we have experienced a 50% increase in job applicants.  This would suggest that the job market in the professional space has slowed down.

More Specifically:

The GTA (Greater Toronto Area) is the hottest job market in Canada, here at Eagle client demand is generally 70% higher than our other regions.  It is home to the highest number of head offices, it is Canada’s major financial center and with a population of around 6 million it has the largest available workforce.  The sectors that continue to have demand are the Financial, telecommunications, construction and service industries.

Despite the fact that Calgary’s population is little more than 1 million, it is the second busiest market for jobs and the engine of Western Canada.   The oil revenues spill into other cities, notably Regina but also Edmonton where provincial government benefits from the associated taxes.  The West generically is a good place to be looking for work, particularly if you are willing to endure a little hardship in places like Fort McMurray.  In recent months demand has tapered a little, there have been some downsizing exercises and the extreme skill shortages of the boom times are a thing of the past.  This will change in the boom and bust world of Western Canada particularly if the gas sector picks up.

Eagle’s Eastern Canada region covers Ottawa, Montreal and “the Maritimes”.  Montreal continues to be busy in the financial sector, the telcos and the construction industry.  There is also some demand in St John’s, NFLD (population about 200,000), and in Halifax (approx. 400,000) but everything is relative and they are not big markets.  Ottawa’s dependence on the Federal Government means it remains a tough place to find work.

Some trends we are seeing across the country include demand for change management resources, lean experts, health informatics professionals and increased demand around big data.  Business analysts, financial analysts, controllers, project managers and web developers all seem to have decent demand too.

 Summary:

The year has started a little slowly, there are some dampening factors on the job market notably the world economic situation and our various levels of government struggling with their deficits.

Demand in the GTA is still healthy and while most markets are luke warm the other cities to find work are Calgary, Montreal, Regina, Vancouver and Edmonton.  The industry sectors that have the most demand have not changed and include banking, insurance, construction, telecommunications and the sectors that serve those industries.

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

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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!
Gain a competitive edge!  Join Eagle’s Executive Consulting Network!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiter service?
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Staffing Agencies Do NOT Charge Individuals

Every now and then I write about certain aspects of the staffing industry.  Today I will talk about who pays for our services … and it is always the client.

Staffing agencies are the number one way for people to find work.  If you are looking for a full time job, for a temporary gig or if you are an independent contractor then likely you are going to find your next role through the staffing industry … and you should never have to pay for that right to work.

If you are a temporary employee in Ontario, Bill 139 made it illegal for an agency to charge you a fee to work … whether that is to find you a job or some kind of fee tied to working, section 74.8 of the Employment Standards Act explains.

Elsewhere, even if there is no legislation, both of Canada’s largest staffing industry associations have Codes of Conduct covering this subject … and both have Ethics Committees that will rule in cases where the codes might be broken.  (This is a valuable asset and a great reason why clients should only work with members of the industry association).

The Association of Canadian Search Employment and Staffing Services (ACSESS) is Canada’s largest staffing industry association.  Their Code of Ethics states … We will derive income only from clients and make no direct or indirect charges to candidates or employees unless specified by a license.

 

The National Association of Computer Consulting Businesses (NACCB) Canada represents the “professional” staffing companies.  Its Business Principles state … NACCB Canada members will derive income only from clients and make no direct or indirect charges to candidates unless specified by a license.

Everyone has a right to work and staffing agencies earn their fees from their clients who receive the many benefits of a flexible workforce.  IF you are ever asked to pay a fee to a staffing agency which is not voluntary then you might want to consider whether (a) it is legal, or (b) is it ethically in accordance with the Industry Association Codes of Ethics.  Your options then would be to contact the industry associations for advice and support.  Here is a link to the Board of Directors at ACSESS … and a link to the Board of Directors at NACCB.

Canada’s Staffing industry provide their clients access to a flexible and talented workforce, and the industry provides individuals with a myriad of job opportunities.  Credible staffing companies operate under a strict code of conduct so I would encourage all organizations to ensure your suppliers belong to the industry association and all job seekers to work with credible companies, who abide by the industry codes of conduct.

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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!
Gain a competitive edge!  Join Eagle’s Executive Consulting Network!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiter service?
—————————————————————————————————————————————–


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