Survey to take snapshot of local job scene

Labour Force Survey hopes to provide information to match job seekers to hiring employers

The trick to finding or filling a job has always been knowing where to look.

Finding those sweet spots in the job market — especially in a recession — is a challenge.

To get a better handle on the area job scene, Red Deer Local Immigration Partnership has joined forces with several other groups, including the Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce, to undertake a labour force survey.

Duane Moleni, Immigration Partnership project manager, said the project is all about “understanding the local landscape and where employers are at, especially at this time with a higher level of unemployment than previous years,” said Moleni.

Acknowledging that a number of groups share common employment goals, the Partnership joined forces with Catholic Social Services, Urban Aboriginal Voices Society and Alberta Labour, which provided a $5,000 matching grant for the survey overseen by experienced local firm, Schollie Research and Consulting.

The short survey asks companies for basic information about their workforce, including breakdowns on age, full- or -part-time status, and whether some employees are Aboriginal or have physical disabilities.

Companies are then quizzed on their expectations over the next 12 or 18 months — whether adding or reducing staff — and what positions will be affected and why.

Questions are also asked about the most difficult positions to fill and why, and what skills are most often in short supply among job candidates. Other questions aim to gauge the ethnic and cultural diversity of the workforce.

Moleni said companies provide the data and, in return, will receive a detailed snapshot of the local labour scene that will help recruitment and retention efforts. For job seekers, the information allows them to sharpen their searches to the best prospects.

“There’s nothing worse from an immigration perspective than attracting a potential workforce but that workforce of immigrants doesn’t have the skills to fill the current needs in the economy,” he said.

Moleni said companies have been receptive to the effort with almost 200 completing the survey since it went online at the beginning of the month. It will remain up until the end of the month and a report expected to be ready in July.

Chamber of Commerce policy and advocacy manager Reg Warkentin is confident the survey will provide the elusive job market data that local companies can put to good use.

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