Time for Change-Phase 3: Labour Market Research & Job Trends

Research, research, research…why can’t I just skip ahead and get a job, you ask? Skipping ahead and applying for things that either you are not qualified to do, over qualified for or just throwing your resume out there in hopes of landing a job will not bring you success. Sure, you might find something but it could very well lead to you landing right back where you started or worse…a job you are stuck with because you didn’t do your research!  No matter your situation, when it comes to finding new employment opportunities, research is absolutely necessary. Whether you are a seasoned professional, a recent college graduate or perhaps you’re fresh out of high school, researching leads to information at all phases of career planning.

Let’s think about it this way…without research we wouldn’t have industry, we wouldn’t have choices, we wouldn’t have food, housing, healthcare or anything else that helps us maintain our lives. I see research as a fundamental part of life, success, fulfillment, learning, exploring, decision making, and so much more. No, it’s not always fun or exciting but when you choose to skip the research, you essentially create road-blocks rather than a road-map because you wanted to save time and take a short-cut. In most cases, short-cuts don’t prepare you for the journey ahead and could very well end you up in places you don’t want to be!

Although I am a stickler when it comes to research, I also do not believe in reinventing the wheel when there are resources and tools available that can be utilized to help you gather the information you need in order to find your next employment opportunity.  As you have probably noticed in my previous articles, I have provided you with various links to resources that may be of help in your journey to new employment and this is something that will continue throughout the career planning process. These resources are not only things I have used for myself but things I continue to pass on to my clients’ to help them prepare and navigate their own path to employment success.

Phase 3. Labour Market Research & Job Trends

Go to your local government Job Bank website, i.e.; Canada job Bank and just browse through it to identify what industries are hiring and for what positions in your area. You can use sites such as Indeed, Workopolis, Careerbuilder and Monster to conduct your research, but I find the government sites, such as Canada Job Bank to be less repetitive and more efficient when looking for trends.

***Please Note: This is not the time to apply for the jobs, or look for specific jobs, it is just a way for you to get familiar with the industries that are hiring and local job market trends in order to identify what positions are available and which industries are thriving.*** 

Something pretty fantastic about the Canada Job Bank website is not only the quality of information you can find about the labour market but also the way it allows for filtering search results. This is so handy!! Let’s give it a try…

Okay, I have set up my search criteria based on the last 30 days, with Calgary as my search location, English as the primary language, and full-time positions. Please have a look at my research example

This type of search will allow you to effectively conduct your research based on the criteria you set. There are other filters to choose from; however, best practice for now is to limit your criteria to basic information i.e.; last 30 days, location, language and full or part-time, as this portion of the research is only to identify current trends…I assure you, getting specific will come later.

Step 1: Create a research inventory

I encourage you to set up a simple inventory of your research results with the following information; or better yet, I have created a job research Inventory that you can download, print, save, and make changes to for your purposes.

Industry Vacancy Positions Company Agency
Automotive ||


Total: 2

Tire Repairer; Automotive Body Repair shop supervisor; Canadian Tire; Fix Auto Calgary;  
Warehouse ||


Total: 2

Production Worker; Warehouse Manager; Weston Bakeries Ltd; Five Star Investments Ltd.  
Food Service |||| |





Total: 5

Line Cook; Cook; Food Service Supervisor; Confectionary Sales Clerk; Chop Steak House; Chilli’s; A Great Canadian Pizza & Fried Chicken; Chalks Billiards; Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory;  
Hotel/Hospitality ||


Total: 2

Hotel Clerk Supervisor; Motel Managing Supervisor; Motel 8; Vulcan Country Inn  
Retail |||| |



Total: 5


Store Manager; Retail Sales Manager; Retail Store Supervisor; Cashier Supervisor; Sales Associate Soap Stories; Cellcan Inc.; Macs; Centax Petroleum; Ardene;  
Trades ||


Total: 2

Landscaping Forman/woman; Dry wall Installer; Line King; Cullum Drywall Systems Ltd.;  

** Please Note: The provided example was taken in January 2016,  from page 1 of 51 pages and is not meant to be a comprehensive view of the full 30 days. **

As shown in the example, there are four categories; Industry, Vacancy, Positions, Company and Agency. Setting up this tool will be most helpful in creating a foundation for effectively and proficiently managing your research time and process for gathering needed information.

I like using hash marks, so for instance; I scan through each page of my search criteria and list the different industries and then place a hash mark next to each that has a “vacancy” (position posted) and identify the position available. I then list the name of the company or temporary agency the position was posted from.

You may find that there are multiple postings for the same position by the same company, when this occurs, you should make one hash mark for each position posted but only type/write in the name of the position and company once.

All of this information will be useful for each step of the research.  As you will see, there is also a place for total number of vacancies in each category, so when you are done with the research you can add up all of your hash marks for a complete look at which job categories are doing well and which aren’t, thus giving you an excellent understanding of what industries and positions are most readily available in the current job market.

Step 2: Identify the trends

After adding up the total number of vacancies in each category, you should be able to quickly identify which industries/positions are trending and which ones aren’t. Based on your research, you now have a starting point to begin exploring your options and gaging your skills to the various trending industries and positions.

From the research you completed:

  • What did you find?
  • Did the results from your research match up to your previous beliefs about what the job market had to offer or were they vastly different?
  • What relevant skills do you have to apply for these available positions?
  • What skills do you need to acquire or update?
  • Do you need more education?

Please see my next blog Time for Change – Phase 4: Skill Analysis

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