Vancouver most competitive city for HR

In-demand skills include HRIS proficiency, succession planning: Report

On any given day, an average of 2,250 HR positions are waiting to be filled at more than 1,300 employers across Canada. And the most competitive city for HR is Calgary, with a rating of 49 potential candidates per job listing, according to a report from Randstad Canada. 

Vancouver, in contrast, boasts 24 potential candidates per job listing. This represents a significant shift from last year, said Tom Turpin, president of technologies and engineering at Randstad Canada in Toronto. 

“If you look at different marketplaces in general, Vancouver is the hottest marketplace in Canada. It’s the most competitive marketplace for employers and the least competitive employment place for employees. In other words, there’s the highest demand for the least amount of supply in Vancouver. It’s not surprising that, based on what’s happened with oil and gas, Calgary has gone the other way. Calgary was, for a little while, the mecca of job growth in Canada, but it’s really gone the other way.” 

Vancouver’s high economic growth over the past few years saw it pull ahead of Toronto, he said.

“That compound growth leads to a fair bit of demand. Demand creates job creation and job creation leads to HR requirements — whether it’s for attraction or retention, for promotion or talent management. All of that compounds to work together.” 

That increase came from the growth of existing organizations as well as the establishment of new employers in Vancouver, said Turpin, as the city becomes a hub for socially conscious organizations. 

And the fastest growing sectors for HR are construction, manufacturing, transportation and warehousing, he said. 

“Those are the sectors with the highest growth rates and that generally creates the highest pressure for those roles.” 

The most in-demand roles across the country include HR managers, recruiters, HR generalists and HR co-ordinators. And the skills most in demand reflect the everyday demands of the HR department and the long-term planning skills necessary for guiding an organization as it grows and evolves, according to Randstad. Skills such a bilingualism, succession planning and proficiency in human resources information systems top the list. 

This shift in focus is in keeping with the general shift in perception in the world of human resources, said Lisa Kay, president and lead consultant for Peak Performance HR in Toronto. 

“As businesses continue to pop up and continue to grow, it’s important to recognize and understand what human resources is there for. In the past, human resources was viewed as really administrative employees, paper-pushers or policy-driven workers,” she said. “People didn’t really see the value of human resources, but I think now companies are really starting to see the value it can bring in terms of strategic growth and aligning people and corporate objectives. There is far more of a strategic focus now.” 

In the past, when organizations looked at HR professionals and determined what their core competencies were, they focused on administrative tasks, said Kay.

“Now, it’s a lot more complex than that,” she said. “There are higher expectations for human resources in general. They’re not there just to push paper, they’re there to help the company develop strategies and examine what the root cause is for something like turnover. It’s not just a matter of replacing people anymore, it’s about understanding why that person left and whether or not that’s part of a larger trend. Now, you’re looking for someone with a far more analytical, far more strategic mindset.” 

The issue of turnover and fit has become a big trend in HR, said Rowan O’Grady, president of Hays Canada in Toronto
“There’s definitely been more of a trend in the last year for roles revolving around talent management,” he said. “Companies seem now to be more aware of the cost of losing people and of losing good people and it also seems to be a kind of trending topic.” 

The biggest mistakes are made when an interviewer doesn’t have options, said O’Grady.

“If you’ve only got one candidate who’s qualified, they would probably hire that person. The more options a company has, the more applications they have, the better hiring decision they will make.”

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