Central Alberta job prospects brightening: survey

Manpower Group survey suggests businesses more willing to hire this fall

Things are looking up for job seekers in the Red Deer area, suggests a new survey.

Employers expect a favourable hiring climate in the fourth quarter, according to the ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey that was released Tuesday.

“Survey data reveals that 17 per cent of employers plan to hire for the upcoming quarter, while five per cent anticipate cutbacks,” says Randy Upright, CEO of Manpower’s Alberta region.

“The remaining 78 per cent of employers plan to maintain their current staffing levels in the upcoming quarter.”

When seasonal variations are removed from the data, the net employment outlook for Red Deer is up 12 per cent over the last quarterly outlook.

Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce’s Reg Warkentin tempers expectations, noting that many businesses that have responded so far to an online survey the chamber launched last Friday were not expecting any dramatic improvement.

“Most people are expecting more of the same for the next year — which is not super.”

The vast majority of respondents said they expected business to remain the same going into 2020. A much smaller percentage of responses were evenly split between those who expected to add to their payroll and those expecting to trim their staff.

Perhaps a sign that the economy remains front and centre in many minds, is the response to the survey, which has drawn 170 respondents in only a few days.

“(The response) has been fantastic,” he said. “Usually, with our surveys will get 100 to 110.”

The survey is expected to be up for a couple more weeks.

Nationwide, the market for Canadian job seekers is a “bit of a mixed bag,” says Darlene Minatel, country manager for ManpowerGroup Canada.

“While unemployment figures were at record lows over the summer, the hiring outlook seems to be weakening in some sectors,” says Minatel.

“Companies want to remain competitive and maintain their employee levels as they go into the new year. At the same time, there is a real struggle to find and retain qualified talent.”

Looking at Western Canada, the hiring news overall is not as good as is expected in central Alberta.

“The weakest hiring pace in three years is expected during the fourth quarter of 2019,” says the survey’s full report.

The net employment outlook is expected to be up seven per cent, down from nine per cent last quarter and 12 per cent from the fourth quarter of 20018.

Compared with the fourth quarter a year ago, hiring intentions are projected to weaken in seven of 10 industry sectors tracked by ManpowerGroup. Education is down 13 per cent, and construction and manufacturing is down 10 per cent.

The good news is that in 10 of the 11 regions in Western Canada, employers are expecting to add to their payrolls. Surrey, B.C. at 20 per cent, leads the pack followed by Victoria and Capital Region at 17 per cent and then Red Deer’s 12 per cent.



pcowley@reddeeradvocate.com

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