While the first job numbers of the new year from Statistics Canada showed a soft start to the year, including a slight decline in jobs in BC in January, Randstad Canada, a human resources and recruitment firm, says the situation in Vancouver is quite positive for 2013.
Randstad Canada’s data demonstrates that permanent positions placed in the Vancouver area in 2012 increased by 19% year-over-year, showing strong growth for full-time employment opportunities. Growth is expected to continue into 2013, providing more opportunities for jobseekers in the metro Vancouver area.
"While we did not necessarily see it reflected in the January numbers from Statstics Canada, there are strong signs that companies in Vancouver are feeling more confident about their long-term health and once again, are starting to ramp up efforts to attract skilled workers to full-time positions," explained Carolyn Levy, Vice President, Western Canada, Randstad Canada. "Across numerous industries we’re seeing an uptick in demand coming out of 2012, and a wealth of opportunity for jobseekers seeking long-term employment opportunities in the current year."
Levy says that full-time roles in engineering and finance were especially strong in Vancouver in 2012, both showing demand increases of more than 25% as compared to 2011. Additionally, pent-up demand in technology and industrial team leadership is expected to result in new opportunities for many skilled workers in 2013.
However, traditional qualifications are changing significantly. According to Levy, many Vancouver area companies that previously eliminated roles are now creating new hybrid positions which combine skills from two or three traditional jobs. For example, a job description may request someone who has experience working in human resources and accounting, and offers the skills of a senior executive assistant, for a single position. While finding suitable candidates that offer expertise across several fields can be a challenge today, Randstad expects this trend can present opportunities for employees and employers alike in the long-term.
"These hybrid roles can be a strong advantage for jobseekers with several years’ experience and who have exposure to a variety of jobs and tasks. For younger workers, expanding their skillset by taking on new responsibilities, or seeking out ways of broadening their on the job experience should be a top priority as more organizations look to expand the responsibilities of traditional roles," says Levy.
The key is for employers and employees alike to clearly communicate the skillsets required and logically link them, she adds.
"Jobseekers need to own their future. If you have transferrable skills, know how to communicate them clearly on your resume and, more importantly, during your interview. And if you need to broaden your skillset take courses, either online or in class, to get a step ahead. Doing this also demonstrates initiative, which is always attractive to employers," Levy says.
And as for employers, Levy says that a shift in approach when hiring is needed: "Flexibility is the key. If you are changing the requirements of a position to include multiple skillsets, be prepared to consider candidates who may have soft skills in one or two or the desired areas, but with strong learning potential. Then, have a solid onboarding plan in place to develop these into the hard skills necessary for success in the role."
Levy adds that employers who hold out for a specific combination of skills can find hiring delays detrimental to their business.
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