Survey says Red Deer headed for positive hiring climate in new year

Employment prospects are looking brighter in 2017, according to a recent report from ManpowerGroup.

The recently-released survey from the human resource consulting firm, indicated 22 per cent of Red Deer area employers plan to hire in the upcoming quarter, January to March. Only five per cent anticipate cutbacks.

The survey result is similar to what the Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce has heard anecdotally and seen in local employment data.

“The energy sector has been gearing up over the past few weeks,” said Reg Warkentin, Red Deer District and Chamber of Commerce policy and advocacy manager, in an email.

“The Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors is projecting companies will drill over 30 per cent more in 2017 compared to the year prior.”

Darlene Minatel, vice president Manpower Canada Operations and Strategic Accounts, said nationally the hiring climate is expected to make the biggest gains in public administration and manufacturing sectors.

“While there are still some areas of concern, oil prices are recovering from their recent lows, the continued weakness in the Canadian dollar is a boon for exports, and Alberta is beginning to rebound after the damage caused by the Fort McMurray wildfires. Job seekers have reason to be optimistic in the quarter to come,” she said.

Warkentin noted much of Red Deer’s regional economy is comprised of drilling and service companies, as well as oilfield manufacturing.

“There’s companies are figuring out how to make money at $50 oil,” Warkentin said. “We expect that as the energy sector recovers, we’ll see a great deal of economic spinoff to other sectors in our economy.”

The vast majority of employers in the survey, 71 per cent, said they plan to maintain their current staffing levels in the next quarter. Two per cent were unsure of their hiring intentions.

“I think there is a lot to be optimistic about in to 2017 and the Manpower survey confirms that,” Warkentin said. “If there’s any doubt we weren’t moving in the right direction, just look back at a few months ago when our unemployment was at 10 per cent.”

mcrawford@bprda.wpengine.com

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