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Restrictions could be putting a crimp in Calgary hiring plans, says recruiter

The City of Calgary said that despite a tightening job market, it’s only having a hard time filling certain positions.

Still, they are seeing a drop in applications to job postings.

According to the city of Calgary’s manager of talent management, William Oakes, positions that are hard to fill can change. It can depend on the time of year, the economy and the job environment.

“I wouldn’t say that we are experiencing a shortfall in applicants, although we are receiving fewer applicants than we received in prior years,” said Oakes.

Oakes said they’ve seen a roughly 30 per cent drop in applicants per position compared to 2020. Still, that means 120 people are applying. Harder to fill positions generally see lower application rates.

According to Oakes, the drop in unemployment rates affecting the nation, and Calgary in particular, increases the effort and time required to fill some specialized jobs.

Oakes also said it impacts the number of applicants that are received, particularly for temporary and part-time jobs in positions. These are jobs such as heavy equipment technicians, managers and leaders in the safety area, specialized engineers in water and transportation, on-call recreation programmers and leaders, on-call instructors for yoga, rock climbing and dry land fitness and lifeguards.

“Some positions such as heavy equipment technicians may be experiencing a shortage, but, in general, the city is able to fill positions over a longer timeframe,” said Oakes.

The city keeps specialized job postings open longer and advertise to larger markets to attract the right candidates.

Hiring restrictions could be creating applicant barriers

According to Manpower’s recruiting agency director of workforce solutions, Ahmed Borhot, there are a lot of factors that are included as to why there may be shortages in filling some of these positions including the qualification requirements set by the hiring companies.

Borhot said it’s important for applicants to understand the pre-employment requirements set by companies.

He said it’s also important for hiring companies like the City of Calgary to make fewer hiring restrictions and requirements. It makes the “talent pool” smaller as it creates more obstacles and barriers in the way of job seekers, Borhot said.   

“There is already a small talent pool, and more restrictions and requirements make it even smaller. So hence why a lot of companies and employers right now are being more creative and flexible with their hiring,” said Borhot.

“Creating a strategy of understanding within the market, how you attract top talent, how you retain top talent and essentially moving from a consumer of talent into being more of a creator of talent increases this opportunity for companies to find qualified candidates.”

Oakes said the city of Calgary continues to focus on being an employer of choice. The city does this by increasing its marketing for certain jobs, keeping jobs open longer, and by using its internal resources to find suitable candidates.

“We continue to focus on being an employer of choice. We want to motivate individuals to join our organization and spend their careers with us,” said Oakes.

Applicants can find job postings by the city of Calgary on calgary.ca/careers.