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12 Alberta jobs that increased in demand due to the pandemic COVID has increased demand in certain Alberta occupations, according to a government study.

Shelby Thevenot

Mohanad Moetaz

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Calgary cityscape

A Canadian government study highlights some of the occupations that actually increased in demand due to the pandemic in Alberta.

Although many sectors were negatively impacted by coronavirus-related shutdowns, some actually have more job openings. Of course since the job market is in eternal flux, these are only short-term changes.

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12 High Demand Jobs in Alberta due to COVID-19

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The federal government researched how the pandemic has affected the labour force in each province and territory. These are some of the findings from Alberta.

Occupations are listed in order of their National Occupational Classification (NOC) code. For more on specific job prospects, the federal government also offers a trend analysis tool where jobseekers can view the trends in their own occupations of interest.

1. Computer and information systems managers (NOC 0213)

These tech professionals oversee and evaluate the activities of organizations that administer digital software and other information systems. After the pandemic was declared in March 2020, employment in this occupation was not affected in Alberta.

Despite the pandemic employment levels trended up in 2020 compared to 2019.

2. Employment insurance, immigration, border services and revenue officers (NOC 1228)

The onset of the pandemic resulted in an influx of applications for government programs, such as Employment Insurance, and the newly-created Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), among others.

These agents are employed by the government. They are tasked to enforce laws and regulations related to immigration, customs, border crossing, taxes, employment insurance and other benefits.

Employment for these occupations was higher throughout 2020 compared year-over-year to 2019.

3. Information systems analysts and consultants (NOC 2171)

Employment was not affected for these tech professionals. Information systems analysts and consultants test systems requirements, and provide advice on information systems issues. They may be employed in tech consulting firms, or they may be self employed.

In April 2020, employment for this occupation was 47 per cent higher compared to April 2019. The average employment levels trended higher throughout the year.

4. Database analysts and data administrators (NOC 2172)

Typically employed in IT consulting firms, database analysts develop data management solutions while data administrators implement data administration policy, standards and models.

Employment for database analysts and administrators was not affected by the pandemic in Alberta. Year over year, employment levels trended up throughout 2020.

The shift to increase technology and data usage among organizations has increased demand for this occupation. As the importance of information and databases increase, so too will the demand for data analysts and administrators.

5. Software engineers and designers (NOC 2173)

Software engineers and designers integrate and maintain a variety of different software. They are oftentimes employed in IT consulting, as well as research and development firms. They may also be self-employed.

The tech industry in Alberta, has grown in recent years. There are more than 400 tech companies in Calgary, which could account for some 2,000 job vacancies, including positions for software engineers and designers.

6. Construction inspectors (NOC 2264)

Construction inspectors inspect new and existing infrastructure to ensure buildings are up to code. They are employed by governments, construction companies, as well as architectural and civil engineering consulting firms. They may also be self-employed.

Employment in this occupation was not affected by the pandemic in April 2020. In fact, it was 24 per cent higher compared to 2019. Employment also trended up year-over-year in the months following.

Throughout the pandemic, the construction industry was considered “essential” and allowed to continue operation even during the height of coronavirus-related restrictions. Although overall construction activity was muted in 2020, the residential sector remained resilient.

7. Nursing co-ordinators and supervisors (NOC 3011)

Nursing supervisors oversee activities of registered nurses in health care institutions. Employment for this occupation was significantly higher in April 2020 compared to the same time in 2019. Average employment levels in 2020 trended up throughout the year.

The pandemic resulted in an increase in demand for nursing co-ordinators, due to their critical role in ensuring patient care. As cases and hospitalizations grew, so did the pressure on hospital staff.

Mount Royal University is expanding its Bridge to Canadian Nursing program to train more international nurses. The 10 to 14-month-long programs will allow guide international immigrants on the path to begin practicing in Alberta.

8. Pharmacists (NOC 3131)

Pharmacists dispense prescriptions to patience, and provide consultative services to health care providers. They may be employed in retail pharmacies, or they may be self-employed. Industrial pharmacists are in the research and development branch, and are employed by pharmaceutical companies as well as government departments and agencies.

In April 2020, employment for this occupation was 14 per cent higher compared to the year before.

In recent years, community pharmacists in Alberta have taken on more responsibilities in the health sector. They can now administer vaccines, modify prescriptions, and manage a patient’s diabetes or smoking addiction.

9. Family, marriage and other related counsellors (NOC 4153)

Family, marriage and other related counsellors help people overcome personal problems and achieve their goals. They work in counselling centres, government agencies, or they may work in private practice.

Employment for this occupation was 66 per cent higher in April 2020 compared to April 2019, and remained that way throughout the year.

The pandemic has taken a toll on mental health. It has exasperated the symptoms of those who suffer from mental health disorders, and increased feelings of isolation and anxiety on many people. In Alberta, the result was an increase in demand for counsellors. Some counselling offices have expanded services online to meet clients needs amid public health restrictions.

10. Health policy researchers, consultants and program officers (NOC 4165)

Health policy researchers produce reports and administer healthcare policies. They are often employed by the government, consulting establishments, universities, hospitals, as well as non-governmental and international organizations.

Employment in this occupation was 24 per cent higher in April 2020 compared to April 2019.

COVID-19 increased demand for this occupation. Health policy researchers, consultants and program officers were tasked with deciding how to respond to the direct impacts of the novel coronavirus. While keeping the public safe from the virus, they also had to address the consequences on people’s overall well being.

11. Social and community service workers (NOC 4212)

Social and community service workers implement programming that helps clients deal with personal and social problems. They work for government agencies, mental health agencies, group homes, and other establishments.

In April 2020, employment for this occupation was 21 per cent higher compared to April 2019.

The recession caused by the pandemic disproportionately impacted vulnerable populations. People battling addictions, homelessness, and victims of domestic abuse are among the hardest-hit. The result has been an increase in demand for social workers to help individuals and families seek help and access community services.

12. Contractors and supervisor, other construction trades, installers, repairers and servicers (NOC 7205)

These skilled trades professionals supervise the activities of various trades persons, including masonry and plastering trades among others. They are employed by a wide range of establishments, or they may operate their own business.

Employment for this occupation was 65 per cent higher in April 2020 compared to the year before.

The construction industry was deemed essential, and operated throughout the pandemic. A large source of employment for construction came from the residential sector.

Immigration programs for these occupations

Although you do not necessarily need a job offer to apply for Canadian immigration, skilled work experience goes a long way toward an immigration application. For the long term, work experience in Canada, specifically, is likely to improve your earning potential, according to a 2020 Statistics Canada study.

All of these occupations fall into the “skilled work” category. Which means, they may count toward eligibility for one of the three Federal High Skilled programs, managed by the Express Entry system. Express Entry itself is not a “program.” It is an application management system for the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Canadian Experience Class, and the Federal Skilled Trades Program.

Eligible candidates get a score based on the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). Points are awarded for skilled work experience, education, age, official language ability, among other factors. The highest scoring candidates get an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for Canadian immigration. If the federal government approves them, they become Canadian permanent residents.

Express Entry is the most popular immigration pathway. According to the federal government’s 2021 immigration targets, Express Entry-managed programs are expected to account for 108,500 new permanent residents this year alone.

The Express Entry system is also the first step into the Alberta Express Entry Stream. Candidates who have a CRS score of at least 300 may be eligible for a provincial nomination from the Alberta government’s immigration branch called the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP).

The Alberta Express Entry Stream is an example of a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). Although the federal government has the final say in all immigration applications, a provincial nomination can go a long way to ensuring a “Yes!” from Canada. They may take longer and end up costing more money, but they can be an option for people who couldn’t otherwise qualify for a federal immigration program.

Another Alberta PNP is the Alberta Opportunity Stream. This one is specifically for skilled workers who are working in an eligible occupation in Alberta. None of the 12 occupations listed above are currently on the ineligible occupations list, however, occupation eligibility is subject to other factors. For example, you cannot be nominated under this stream if you do not meet the minimum work experience requirement of 30 hours per week for six months.

For a limited time, Canada is also offering a temporary residence to permanent residence (TR to PR) pathway for essential workers who were supporting Canadians during the pandemic. The health care positions listed above are eligible under the essential workers stream, which is still open until November 5, or until the intake cap of 20,000 applications is reached.

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