Riding the West's Boom Times
Michelle Warren
Marketing Magazine, October 2006

img-money-tree-coins-madison-macarthurWhen it comes to the job market, it seems that all provinces are not created equal. Across the country there are varying factors shaping regional job markets.

In Alberta, for example, the effects of a thriving oil industry are being felt across the board and those in the marketing and agency sectors are reaping benefits, say recruitment experts.

“All of Alberta is in a boom and candidates are being aggressively wooed within the province as well as from across Canada and the U.S.,” says Sylvia MacArthur, president, Madison MacArthur in Toronto. “The clients we work with in the West found that they have had to move very quickly on a candidate and that signing bonuses are swelling rapidly.”

“Our business in Calgary has increased at least 400% in the last year,” says Rick Chad, president, Chad Management Group in Toronto.

“Five years ago I don’t know of any Toronto-based agency recruiting for Calgary. Yet now it seems everyone does,” says Harry Teitelbaum, president of InterCom Search in Toronto, adding that even in the East, a region that has traditionally seen less action, there’s a lot of hiring being done, especially in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

In addition, “B.C. is extremely buoyant right now,” says Lisa Kershaw, partner, Ray & Berndtson/Tanton Mitchell, in Vancouver, who credits a number of influences, including the buzz surrounding the 2010 Olympics, as well as the strength of the natural resource sector and a provincial government that’s seen as pro-business.

“Forestry and mining are really on the fly here-they’re much more sexy and appealing than in recent years, she says, adding that “another hot sector for us is gaming.” This is, in turn, propelling the hospitality and tourism sectors, where a lot of marketing candidates are being recruited out of the U.S. due to a general shortage of candidates.

Quebec is also recruiting from outside the province, although as Normand Lebeau, Mandrake’s vice-president exécutif/directeur général Montréal, points out, the province certainly isn’t booming to the extent of its Western counterparts: “It seems there is less and less business to go around. (Companies) must be very creative in developing new business opportunities.”

Agencies and companies have to consider the big picture and position themselves as national and international players, says Caroline Starecky, VP, La Tête Chercheuse in Montreal: “Not only are agencies seeking local clients, they want to work on national and international accounts. As a result, more and more agencies and marketers are asking us to look for candidates with work experience outside of Quebec. We are being asked to look for candidates who have worked in Toronto, the United States, Europe and elsewhere.”