No matter how you look at it, August was a bad month for President Obama. First he had to spend most of it on a bus, and then he had to take the blame for the creation of no new jobs, this maintaining a 9.2% unemployment rate. For comparison, Canada has 7.2% and Mexico 4.9% unemployed respectively.

Too bad for August, Barack, but there is some hope. In a few weeks you’ll have Fox News and CNN eating their words – or at least looking for something else to gripe about. The reason? Tomorrow is Labour Day.

For people in the employment business, Labour Day is like New Years day. It marks September as a time when changes are made. A lot of it has to do with a gene everyone harbours in their personal genome. When the first scent of fall air, the gene is activated and people pull out their charge cards to pay for courses to update their skills, updating their wardrobes for interview, and to pay for networking opportunities.

There is more hope. A recent Vancouver Sun article reports that 22% of employers in Calgary are planning on hiring. The article lists the following hot fields rot employment:

  • Trades and construction (energy sector)
  • Finance and senior accountants
  •  Senior administration
  • Project managers (energy sector)
  •  Geologists
  • Geophysicists
  • Truck drivers
  • Engineers
  • Oil rig workers
  • Health care professionals and support workers
  • Caregivers
  • Mid-to senior-level managers

This list expresses needs for the Calgary area. Other regions will have their own labour market needs. For example, the mall-building boom hasn’t stopped in my area as farmland becomes converted to Wal-Mart parking lots. This means lots of construction jobs in the Wal-Mart sector. Also, September is also traffic jam season. I have seen several postings for unionized asphalt raking positions at $35/hour. There will probably be some openings for magistrates at $90k per annum to handle the trials of those charged in the Stanley Cup Riots.

Further, The Vancouver Board of Trade coupled with the Vancouver Sun and the Province Newspaper are planning a large career fair the week after next at the Trade and Convention Centre. Career fairs are events where recruiters try to staff all their open positions, thereby making  themselves eligible for performance bonuses at the real end of the year. 

Career fairs should be happening all over the continent after tomorrow. If you want to attend one, read my April 2010 posting, BEHAVE YOURSELF: FIND A JOB AT A CAREER FAIR.

Another sign for optimism is the fact that dozens of baby boomers will be retiring soon. (I said dozens and not tens of thousands because I cannot be the only one who failed to save anything for retirement.) The result will be a labour shortage that is going to take more than Generation X to fulfill. My hunch is that retirees are going to be asked to continue working, or perhaps even to mentor workers from Generation X.

The question now is, “What are you going to do to bloody your own muzzle on this apparently fat and juicy labour market?” Here are some suggestions:

  • Take some courses to upgrade your skills
  • Teach some courses to upgrade your skills
  • Get out of your office and do some networking
  • See about joining some professional organization
  • Do something different – Take a fitness class for example. (I just might drop in on a Zumba class)
  • Get away from the office
  • Sell your desk – When was the last time you did anything creative at that desk of yours
  • Upgrade your resume  and show it off to all your friends (who probably never could figure out what your work is
  • Get help if you find your stuck

Happy Labour Day!

Mike Broderick is an Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he finds employment for people with physical disabilities. Part of this work means affiliation with the Vancouver Board of Trade where he is a member of the Ambassador Club, the Burnaby Board of Trade where he is a member of the Labour Task Force, the Tri Cities Chamber of Commerce where he is an active member of the 10X10 initiative, and the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce. He does some work as a field Archaeologist and is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to alive magazine in Port Coquitlam. You can reach him at home at michael_broderick@telus.net or at michaelb@neilsquire.ca. or at 604-464-4195.  If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates When he is not doing all this he lives in Port Coquitlam with his partner Cecelia.


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