CALGARY, AB – MARCH 29, 2011: Despite signs of economic recovery, a recent survey conducted by Leger Marketing shows that almost 70 per cent of Calgarians think this year’s post-secondary grads will have a difficult time finding employment in today’s economy. Calgarians also indicate that advantages may be held by graduates attaining a bachelor’s degree and by those who supplement their education with savvy career-building strategies like networking and internships.
“The good news is, some companies are hiring again,” says Adam Legge, president of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce. “We are seeing an increase in demand for skilled workers across several key sectors; but competition for those jobs also increases with each new class of post-secondary graduates.”
According to the survey, 75 per cent of Calgarians believe grads are competing with both previous years’ grads, who have yet to find employment, and with experienced candidates who have been laid off.
“The recession created a larger supply of available labour, increasing the skill and experience base of the pool of people looking for work.” says Legge. “The current situation is one where recent graduates do face increased competition from experienced workers.”
To be employable in today’s job market, 80 per cent of Calgarians believe people require at least some level of post secondary education. In terms of education level, 45 per cent cited a bachelor’s degree, 31 per cent cited a college diploma, and five per cent cited a master’s degree as required to be employable in the current economy.
“The days of being competitive in one’s chosen career with just a high school degree are gone,” says Anila Umar, director of career services at DeVry Institute of Technology in Calgary. “In today’s employment market, a quality bachelor’s degree education will separate you from the pack. Even then, new graduates must find supplemental ways to gain an advantage over a growing number of competing candidates.”
A majority of Calgarians identified networking (58 per cent of respondents), personal references (55 per cent) and internships (52 per cent) as key to increasing a graduate’s employability. Additionally, more modern methods of finding employment (social media networking and online job boards) were recommended by three-in-ten Calgarians (12 and 19 per cent of respondents, respectively).
“Calgary is a tight-knit marketplace,” says Keith Daser, managed print services specialist at Carbon Copy Digital, whose aggressive networking efforts landed him a new job prior to graduating from DeVry Calgary. “In my case, I was recommended to my employer by someone who could vouch for my professional skills and capabilities.”
Leger Marketing conducted the online survey of 507 Calgarians aged 18 years and older between February 7 and 10, 2011. The survey was commissioned by DeVry Calgary to help the school understand the needs of the Calgary population. DeVry is conducting these surveys quarterly.