Reports

March 5, 2024

Who’s Hiring in Alberta? Big Data Insights on Alberta’s Labour Market and How It Is Changing

Amid a surging population, rapid decarbonization, and the rise of AI and other digital technologies, Alberta’s labour market needs look very different today than in 2018.

The labour force in Alberta has grown considerably over the past five years, driven in large part by high levels of in-migration. Official statistics about the labour market offer important insight but don’t share the full story. Better information is critical to informing economic immigration and planning for the future of work in Alberta.

In this report, we examine job postings data to build a better understanding of current labour market needs and the future of work in Alberta—including the key skills, occupations, regions, and industries of need and opportunity.

Report Highlights

  • Demand for trades and health care occupations surge while demand for engineering decreases. Since 2018, there has been a massive increase in job postings in Healthcare and Trades occupations, up 16% and 13% respectively each year—far outpacing population growth—while postings for all categories of engineering occupations fell more than 60%. Also surging are postings for teachers and education-related jobs. Assisting Occupations in Education (+337%) saw the fastest growth of any major occupation.
  • The labour market requires more “middle skills.” Job postings that require a college diploma or apprenticeship training have seen the most growth. This trend pre-dates COVID and suggests that demand for these middle skills will continue to lead the labour market. And while this growth is clear across Canada, it is most notable in the Prairies.
  • Alberta’s labour market no longer moves in lockstep with oil and gas. Historically labour demand in Alberta rose and fell tightly with the price of oil. As the industry has gotten leaner and more efficient and other industries have grown, this link has loosened. Demand for energy workers has stabilized and employment remains in line with 2019 levels, while other industries have driven new employment growth.
  • Tech skills are increasingly important to employers. While Alberta accounts for a small share of jobs that require AI or cloud computing skills, the province does account for a large share of jobs that require business intelligence or data analysis skills.
  • Local labour markets matter. Labour markets vary more within provinces than among them. In Alberta, Calgary leads demand for energy and professional services jobs and has seen the largest increase in health care-related job postings. In the Fort McMurray region last year, there was around one open job posting for every two people working in health care, and one for every five working in professional services.

About the Data

Official statistics from Statistics Canada such as the Labour Force Survey (LFS) and the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours (SEPH) offer important insight into the Alberta labour market but, they tell us little about where labour demand is moving. This report uses publicly available job postings from 2018-2023 to gather data, which is scraped and coded through an independent machine learning algorithm to reveal high-level trends about the labour market as well as business needs.

Background

Between 2024 and 2026 Canada is expected to welcome 1.5 million new residents, as part of the federal government’s goal to increase immigration targets. The stated purpose of this increase is economic: newcomers will fill labour shortages to grow the economy and help support an aging population.

With the federal government’s new targets, immigration will account for nearly all of Canada’s population growth and all the workforce growth between now and 2036. That means that almost 30% of the population and 37% of the workforce will be immigrants.

While immigration will certainly help make Canada’s economy bigger, it will not necessarily or automatically make Canadians wealthier. Projections show that while Canada is expected to see very tepid economic growth, it will lag in economic growth per capita. And with additional cracks in the system, urgent changes are needed to ensure immigration remains a source of strength and growth for Canada.

Explore more in our Prosperity-Driven Immigration for Canada project here.

 

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