Career planning a lifelong process

Dear Working Wise: I was recently laid off from the oil industry during spring breakup.

Dear Working Wise: I was recently laid off from the oil industry during spring breakup.

I’m getting tired of being away from home, along with the unpredictability of the patch, and so I’m looking to find work in a different field. Can you tell me what jobs are in hot demand right now? — Ready for a Change

Dear Ready: I am sorry to hear about your layoff, but I’m glad to hear that you’re giving your career path some thought.

The days when people stayed in the same line of work for a lifetime are gone. In today’s ever-changing world of work, it’s more realistic to think of your career as an ongoing work in progress. Changes in your life like marriage and children also tend to affect your priorities and your career direction.

Career planning is a lifelong process of matching your current and foreseeable needs and priorities with the options available to you and re-evaluating your plans as necessary.

This does not mean that you have to start over every few years. Everything builds on what came before.

When it is time to move to another type of work, look for options that will allow you to apply your current skills and develop new ones.

It’s tough to give you a definitive “hot jobs” list, but Alberta Employment and Immigration did just complete a survey of job ads across the province comparing the number of advertisements run for various careers over the past two years ending April 2009. The growth or reduction of ads between each year is a strong indicator of which jobs are in demand at the moment.

In Central Alberta, the following occupations experienced the biggest growth in the number of job ads over the past two years:

• Alterationist — up 400 per cent

• ATV/motorcycle mechanic — up 150 per cent

• Autobody painter — up 14 per cent

• Babysitter — up 600 per cent

• Baker/bakery staff — up 68 per cent

• Restaurant/bar manager — up 58 per cent

• Beekeeper — up 27 per cent

• Caregiver — up 91 per cent

• Chef/kitchen staff — up 50 per cent

• Chemical technologist — up 250 per cent

• Chiropractor assistant — up 125 per cent

• Dental technologist — up 400 per cent

• Esthetician — up 250 per cent

• Financial planner — up 100 per cent

• Fraud investigator — up 100 per cent

• Information clerk — up 50 per cent

• Licensed practical nurse — up 77 per cent

• Massage therapist — up 33 per cent

• Meat plant worker — up 73 per cent

• Nutritionist — up 125 per cent

• Occupational therapist — up 109 per cent

• Optician — up 100 per cent

• Paramedic/EMT — up 84 per cent

• Pharmacist technician — up 267 per cent

• Physiotherapist — up 100 per cent

• Police officer — up 100 per cent

• Taxidermist — up 50 per cent

• Water plant machine operator up 200 per cent

• Web technician — up 100 per cent

This is just a partial list and it’s based on job advertisements. Alberta Employment and Immigration publishes a wide variety of statistics that you will find interesting and helpful. You can check out the supply and demand outlook and average salaries for a wide variety of occupations at

You also might want to take some time and do some formal career planning. It’s easy, convenient and free. Just log on to the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) at and use their online self-assessment tools and career planning resources to discover your next career and identify all of the transferable skills you already have to offer.

You can also call the Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 and talk to a live career counsellor.

Good luck in your next career!

Working Wise is compiled weekly by Charles Strachey, a regional manager with Alberta Employment and Immigration. Work-related questions can be sent to him at Working Wise is provided for general information only. Help with specific situations is available through Alberta Employment Standards by calling 1-877-427-3731.

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