Jobs are booming in Alberta and pushing down its unemployment rate to almost exactly where it was before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, creating opportunities for foreign nationals looking to immigrate to Canada.
In its October Labour Force Survey, Statistics Canada reveals the Prairie province’s unemployment rate fell to only 7.6 per cent in September. That puts the jobless rate at virtually the same place it was in February 2020, before COVID-19, when the unemployment rate was 7.5 per cent.
Alberta put in place its vaccine passport system, the Alberta Restrictions Exemption Program, in October which allowed more businesses and consumers to go about their business like they normally would as long as they are full vaccinated.
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“October’s job numbers show that Alberta’s economic recovery continues, with an increase of 9,000 new full-time jobs,” Jobs Minister Doug Schweitzer reportedly said.
The drop in the unemployment rate has already far exceeded the expectations of TD Economics’ latest provincial outlook.
In it, economists Beata Caranci, Derek Burleton, Rishi Sondhi, and Omar Abdelrahman forecast the unemployment rate would hit 8.8 per cent this year and 7.4 per cent in the new year and fall to a low of 6.4 per cent in 2023.
The uptick in the economy and the creation of jobs is being met with enthusiasm by Alberta politicians.
“Happy days are here again!” Alberta Finance Minister Travis Toews reportedly said in November while presenting his 2021-22 Mid-year Fiscal Update and Economic Statement.
“The skies above are clear again, let us sing a song of cheer again, happy days are here again!”
But the tightening of the job market also means many employers are struggling to find workers to fill jobs. Labour shortages are growing more severe in Alberta and employers are increasingly turning to immigrants to fill those positions.
Here are The Top 10 Most In-Demand Jobs In Alberta.
1. Nurses (NOC 3012)
Indeed listed 1,675 open positions for nurses in Alberta in early December as the demand for nurses was driven up during the COVID-19 pandemic throughout the country.
Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses provide direct nursing care to patients, deliver health education programs and provide consultative services regarding issues relevant to the practice of nursing.
Mandatory vaccinations for healthcare staff led to a few of them leaving their jobs in various regions of Canada while the massive, most recent wave of the pandemic created an even greater demand for medical personnel.
The occupation comes with a median annual wage of $85,800 based on a 37.5-hour work week with top wage earners in the province making up to $98,650 in Edmonton.
2. Delivery and Courier Service Drivers (NOC 7514)
These are the people who pick up and deliver various products for dairies, drug stores, newspaper distributors, take-out restaurants, dry cleaners, mobile caterers, courier and messenger service companies.
Most online shoppers know these people these days as those who bring stuff bought on eBay and Amazon to their homes. The online shopping boom and growth of Amazon in Canada led to a hiring boom for these workers this year.
According to Indeed, there were 749 jobs for delivery drivers in Alberta in early December.
The job pays a median annual income of $39,370 based on a standard work week in Alberta but upper earners can bring in up to $62,400 per year in Calgary.
3. Physicians – Family (NOC 3112) and Specialists (3111)
In early December, Indeed listed 127 positions for family physicians and specialists in Alberta.
General practitioners and family physicians diagnose and treat diseases, physiological disorders and injuries. Across the country, they make a median annual salary of $216,864 but can earn as much as $414,390.
Specialists, a category that includes surgeons, diagnose and treat diseases and physiological or psychiatric disorders and act as consultants to other physicians.
The Canadian median annual salary for a surgeon is $281,182 but that income can hit $580,346 per year.
4. Cooks (NOC 6322)
Restaurateurs in Alberta are hurting bad for cooks as the hospitality sector faces an unprecedented labour shortage.
Indeed listed 1,866 jobs for cooks in Alberta in early December. The Job Bank website was a bit more conservative with 1,236 such positions.
Either way, that’s a lot of jobs for cooks in the Prairie province.
The median annual income for a cook in Alberta, based on a 37.5-hour work week, is $31,200 and the annual salary tops off at $45,710 in the northern part of the province.
5. Food And Beverage Servers (NOC 6513)
Restaurateurs in Alberta are also facing a serious labour shortage when it comes to servers with one vice president of the Restaurants Canada industry association calling the situation “unprecedented”.
There were 421 jobs for servers in Alberta in early December, according to Indeed.
The median annual income for a server before tips in Alberta, based on a 37.5-hour work week, is $33,150 with a maximum annual salary of $48,750.
6. Retail Sales Associates (NOC 6421)
Every store has retail sales associates, those people who sell, rent or lease a range of technical and non-technical goods and services directly to consumers.
In Alberta, Indeed noted there were 182 jobs for retail sales associates in early December, the peak of the retail shopping season. Job Bank had postings for 203 such jobs in the province.
Based on a 37.5-hour week, the median annual income of a retail sales associate in that province is $31,200 but these workers can make up to $58,500 in Red Deer.
7. Transport Truck Drivers (NOC 7511)
With more Canadians moving to online shopping during the pandemic, the demand for truck drivers to deliver those parcels skyrocketed even as many of these workers opted out of the workforce to avoid any risk of catching COVID-19.
In early December, the Job Bank job website listed 749 jobs for truckers in Alberta. The job website pegged the prospects for truckers as “good”, its highest rating, in Calgary and “fair” throughout the rest of the province.
The median annual income for a trucker working a standard work week in Alberta is $53,120 but that can rise to $81,900 for those working out of Red Deer and the Wood Buffalo-Cold Lake regions.
8. Farm and Harvesting Workers (NOCs 8431 and 8611)
Although farm work tends to be heavily seasonal, Canadian farms are always looking for good workers, especially during harvest time.
Job Bank pegs the outlook for farm work as “good”.
The federal government job website listed 105 jobs for farm hands and five for harvest workers in Alberta in early December, long after the end of the annual harvest.
Farm hands in Alberta earn a median annual wage of $39,000 per year, based on a standard work week and year-round employment. In some regions of the province, upper wage earners can make up to $58,500 per year.
9. Carpenters (NOC 7271)
The workers who build houses and other buildings and structures made of wood are in high demand in Alberta due to a building boom.
“Alberta has seen a solid revival in housing activity this year, with home resales expected to rise at the strongest pace in the country. Housing starts are also coming in strong, providing a boost to the construction industry,” wrote economists Beata Caranci, Derek Burleton, Rishi Sondhi, and Omar Abdelrahman earlier this year.
Job Bank listed 132 jobs for carpenters in Alberta in early December this year, a traditionally slow time for this sector. Indeed had job postings for 459 such positions in the province.
The median annual income for carpenters in Alberta, based on a standard work week, is $57,037 but they can earn up to $97,500 in some regions.
10. Material Handlers (NOC 7452)
With Amazon expanding in Alberta, there are plenty of jobs for the workers who handle, move, load and unload materials by hand or using a variety of material-handling equipment.
They work for transportation, storage and moving companies but can also be employed by manufacturing and processing companies and retail and wholesale warehouses.
There were 165 of these jobs available in Alberta in early December, according to Indeed.
The median annual income based on a 37.5-hour work week for these jobs is $32,390 in Alberta, with those at the upper end of the wage scale making more than $48,750 annually.