6 Albertan Industry Sectors That Offer Reliable Career Prospects
The province nicknamed "Wild Rose Country" is home to a staggering number of compelling industries. But five of them are especially worth your attention if you want a chance to be part of a thriving workforce.
1. Oil and Gas
When you think of Alberta, this sector might be the first one that comes to mind—and rightly so. It's booming. In fact, that prosperity is expected to continue in the coming decades. That means most of the companies involved will be looking for qualified workers who want to increase their earning potential. And not just in the skilled trades.
For example, say you're an administrative assistant. By finding work in the Cold Lake or Fort McMurray region, you could earn about 34 to 44 percent more than in other parts of Canada. (In 2011, the median hourly wage for office administration professionals in the region was $22.76, and some earned more than $38.00. Compare that with the nation-wide median of $17.00 or $26.44 and up for top earners.)**
2. Health Care
Alberta Health Services (AHS), Canada's largest provincial healthcare system, is frequently looking for new people to hire. It already boasts over 100,000 employees.*** And it has one of the strongest reputations for patient care as well as some of the most advanced facilities in the country. Imagine what that could mean for your potential career in a field involving diagnostic technology, patient assistance, office support, or wellness and prevention.
With annual revenues in excess of 10 billion dollars, Alberta's diverse IT and communications sector has garnered worldwide attention.* But the innovations it produces extend beyond the areas of networking, computer systems, and software production. Increasingly, the digital arts also play a key role as more and more companies look for creative designers and developers who are eager to help push today's interactive technologies in exciting new directions.
It's no secret that Alberta has many popular tourist destinations. Banff and Jasper National Parks are just a couple of examples. What many people don't realize is just how many workers the province's tourism sector employs: more than 139,000.* You'll find them in the obvious places like hotels, resorts, and mountain lodges. But with a vibrant industry of guided adventures, ecotours, and support services, a person who loves travel and likes to help others enjoy it too can look forward to a remarkable variety of job prospects.
5. Business, Legal, and Financial Services
Here's a compelling fact: On a per-capita basis, Calgary has more head offices than any other city in Canada.**** That's just one result of Alberta's strong focus on creating a business-friendly climate. But all of those companies require knowledgeable managers and administrators—as well as professional services like accounting and legal assistance—in order to continue growing and flourishing.
It is estimated that, by 2016, there will be a significant shortage of skilled trade workers in Alberta. This creates a huge opportunity for people who are looking to secure reliable employment in industries that are going to be around for a long time to come. Welding and HVAC training, in particular, could be smart avenues to look into, since the labour shortages are expected to be the highest in these types of industries.
* Government of Alberta, website last visited on March 3, 2014.
** Working in Canada, Government of Canada, website last visited on March 3, 2014.
*** Alberta Health Services, website last visited on September 23, 2014.
**** Calgary Economic Development, website last visited on March 3, 2014.
CGA-Canada, "Labour Shortages in Skilled Trades—The Best Guestimate?," website last accessed September 18, 2014.