The booming province of Alberta is determined not to let skilled labour shortages get in the way of multi-million dollar projects and expansive economic growth.
Among the various strategies that Alberta employers are using to fill job positions is the continued search abroad for foreign labour. In recent years the province has become even more aggressive with its recruitment strategies, targeting developed economic regions including the European Union, the U.K. and the U.S.
“We are creating a mess [in Alberta],” says Joe Giusti, CEO of one of the region’s largest construction companies. “There is a boom, and there are few qualified people. Most of the jobs are done with unqualified people and improper workmanship. I would say lousy workmanship — and for a huge amount of money.”
Giusti says that the lack of skilled, English-speaking workers has meant that his company is turning down projects. He hopes that the Immigration Department’s recent promise to target skilled trade workers will help. He also says that more needs to be done to attract young Canadians to the skilled trades.
Increased visibility on the international stage may help Alberta’s future projects to attract the workers it needs, as more and more countries in Asia and Europe are looking to invest both money and labour.
Employers and professional agencies are also travelling abroad to countries like Ireland, the United States, and Australia to recruit the skills needed to maintain growth.
“If there is a way to move the economy forward, and provide opportunities so certain projects aren’t shut down, we all prosper,” says Calgary Economic Development representative Jeannette Sutherland. “To know there is a motivated supply of workers [in the U.S.] with similar skill sets, on top of the supply that we have in Alberta, and employers are very interested in looking at options.”
Source: Financial Post