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Labour review shows ‘well-balanced’ job market in Bow Valley

Lots of jobs, lots of job seekers searching for work in Bow Valley

BOW VALLEY – The labour market is holding true in the Bow Valley, according to the Job Resource Centre's latest six-month review.

Reinira Lankhuijzen, career coach at the Job Resource Centre, said the bi-annual review showed the valley “was quite well balanced” when it comes to people seeking jobs and positions available. 

“They seem to be in the same shape going into [the] summer season from what we’re hearing,” Lankhuijzen said.

The review shows more than 1,300 job postings from 258 employers were made through the Job Resource Centre between November 2023 and April 2024. It was a five per cent increase in postings from the same period last year.

A total of 6,875 job seekers were served by the centre during the six-month period.

“We are seeing job seekers, and we have lots of jobs,” said Lankhuijzen. “It’s kind of a good time right now where people that are coming, there’s jobs for them to apply to, so that’s really good.”

Lankhuijzen said the review is a “great tool” for employers to ensure they are offering competitive wages in addition to being useful for job seekers and what they can expect from the Bow Valley workforce.

“[The] Bow Valley has so many people that like to come here for a season or to come here for work [and it] gives them that opportunity to see what kinds of jobs are available, what sectors, what the wages are, so that they're ideally informed before making the decision to come out here,” she said.

The most demand for jobs was in the trades and labour sector, which made up 18.8 per cent. Restaurant jobs, both front and back of house, were closely behind at 16.4 per cent and 11.2 per cent, respectively.

“Trades and labour, culinary, housekeeping, back of house, those ones are always the ones with the most postings and that’s been quite consistent,” said Lankhuijzen. “Even pre-pandemic, it was always those areas that had the most opportunities.”

Job training funding is a focal point in the review, especially for required skills training.

The Alberta Funding for Exposure Courses – administered by the Job Resource Centre and funded by the provincial government – allows unemployed or underemployed people up to $2,500 a year with up to 90 per cent coverage for training and certificate costs. Those interested would have to meet with a Job Resource Centre career coach and meet eligibility requirements.

Employers can receive funding to train their employees as well as train unemployed Albertans with the Canada-Alberta Job Grant (CAJG), which is administered by the Alberta government.

Businesses can receive up to $10,000 and 66 per cent coverage of training costs for an individual employee. Hiring and training an unemployed Albertan would grant them $15,000 and up to 100 per cent coverage of training costs.

The average wage for jobs posted at the resource centre was $22.73 after the same six months in the review last year was $22.65. The largest increase was $1.63 an hour for the sales and service industry and the largest decrease of $1.47 an hour was observed in the trades and labour sector of $1.47 an hour.

The highest paying jobs in the review are office and administration, averaging $28.58 an hour. The lowest was front-of-house restaurant jobs at $18.34 an hour.

“Year over year, we’re seeing wages grow,” said Lankhuijzen. “They’re adjusting for that inflation and increased cost of living that employers recognize.”

The 2023 Alberta Living Wage Network report indicated an hourly rate of $38.80 is needed for two adults each working 35 hours a week with two children living in Canmore.

Staff housing was highlighted, showing 40 per cent of jobs posted to the job centre were advertised with accommodation, which was a four per cent increase over the same time last year. However, jobs with staff housing in Canmore saw a decrease of seven per cent.

“That is mostly due to availability of staff housing, not necessarily the number of staff housing units available,” said Lankhuijzen. “Employers aren’t seeing turnover in their staff housing.”

The resource centre released its updated staff housing guide in February logging 5,220 staff accommodation beds in the Bow Valley. It also shares details such as cost, amenities, ratings and more.

Data from listings collected by Canmore Community Housing and the Banff Housing Corporation showed the average rental rates during the six-month period of review. The highest rate of $4,442 a month was seen in Canmore for a three-bedroom unit.

Compared to the last spring review, with data collected from August 2022 to January 2023, the average increase in rent in Canmore was $489 and in Banff, it was $220.

Average rental rates in Canmore

  • One bedroom: $2,727
  • Two bedroom: $3,397
  • Three bedroom: $4,442

Average rental rates in Banff

  • Roommate/shared: $1,207
  • Studio/Bachelor: $1,263
  • One bedroom: $1,686
  • Two bedroom: $2,196
  • Three bedroom: $3,450
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