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Where Laid-Off Target Workers Might Land

If you think you’ve had a crappy start to the year, imagine being among the 17,600 souls who learned their days at their retail job were numbered when Target declared its Canadian experiment a failure.

But even these folks should take heart. There are jobs to be had out there for them that knows where to find them.

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Here’s a tip sheet on what to consider.

  • Sears Canada. Struggling though it might be itself, this fellow retailer invited its competitors’ erstwhile employees to apply for jobs at its stores soon after the layoff announcement was made. Sears Canada has also extended its employee discounts to Target staffers.
  • International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Canadian chapter. Becoming a longshore worker, where the median salary is $70,720, isn’t as tricky as you might think. No college or university education is required as the training primarily takes place on the job. Still, you’ll be expected to start out on a part-time basis.
  • Quality Assurance Officer. When Wanted Analytics produced a list of the most sought-after skills among Canadian employers late last year, those individuals with quality assurance skills — possibly polished on the retail floor — ranked near the top.
  • Line Cook. Similarly, the research uncovered a need for people with a talent for food preparation. If you like putting things together in the kitchen, there’s no shortage of opportunity for you.
  • Hotel Maid. When Canadian Business compiled its “Best Jobs 2014” list, it singled employment in the hospitality sector among the most in-demand jobs. That means from housekeeping to concierge work to foodservice, these are among the most numerous postings in the current crop of want ads.
  • Truck Driver. Workopolis consulted its list of those job openings that are most consistently advertised and truck driver topped the list. With at least a G-class driver’s license and some on-the-job training, you’ll be good to go.

The results of the year-end Randstad Canada Workmonitor study (which said 47 percent of Canadians feel the economy will slide backward in 2015) notwithstanding, Randstad Canada president Tom Turpin feels there’s reason for hope for the freshly unemployed.

“With a New Year comes new opportunities,” he said, in conjunction with his report’s release. “We’ve read this story before, oil slides down and the market retracts, but in a few months the market will have corrected and companies that have been impacted will be hiring again.”

Derek Szeto, a founder of RedFlagDeals.ca, certainly thinks so. He has developed an app called Wirkn that aims to connect local retail and service sector workers to local employers. Wirkn, says Szeto, is better suited for this population of part-timers and retail service workers, than LinkedIn.

Six BI Trends for 2015

Business intelligence, now a staple in most organizations’ operational toolboxes, has reached a point in its evolution that it warrants keen-eyed speculation on its future. Given our current situation at the launch of a new year, now seems an ideal time for such conjecture.

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Self-service BI continues growth. The trend toward self-service analytics launched in 2014 (the BARC 2014 Survey reports that 55 percent of BI users are already doing the self-service thang) will gain fresh traction this year, and it’ll open all kinds of doors for increased exploitation of the stuff.

Governance comes into view. The self-service recharacterization of analytics necessitates an overhaul of companies’ treatment of its governance. The next stretch will usher in a new focus on this subject that, predict the experts, will see primitive enterprise data lockdowns replaced with more sophisticated approaches to BI’s oversight.

Analytics no longer IT-only activity. Where specialized knowledge used to be the cost of entry for participating in the BI game, more user-friendly and self-service-oriented technology means personnel of less expert stripes can now engage. And this company-wide permeation of the subject is good news for the access it allows customers to staffers who can address their needs and answer their questions.

Mobile advances. Mobile usage increased by 25 percent last year and all the pundits are calling for even more on-the-move adoption. As such, mobile analytics will enjoy a prominent spot in 2015, with professionals in this arena conducting analytics from the road as a matter of course. The implicit caveat is that companies will need to design their interfaces and user experiences to accommodate this evolution in order to be a thriving part of it.

Land and expand. The emerging philosophy that it’s easier to get a minor commitment locked down and build out from there has major implications for the BI universe. Here, organizations are given permission to pitch a flag in the space and then increase their understanding and use of the business from there.

Social intelligence gains prominence. In the past, BI data was strictly internal. That’s changing, and the idea of including social data in the mix of intelligence companies analyze will increasingly come into the spotlight as social networks’ ability to reveal the buzz about a given subject is acknowledged for its value. Simultaneously, the strategic business decisions that rely upon external marketplace data will get a boost thanks to cloud-based third-party analytics tools that promise comprehensive, accurate intelligence.

Business intelligence is inarguably on a track of expansion and intensifying utilization. Organizations looking to get the most out of it need to watch this space.

The Future’s So Bright

And so it is that another year dawns across our humble spinning marble, with the usual whipping winds and frigid temps in attendance. But at least the promise of a more temperate employment scene delivers relief. A whack of end-of-year projections portends an uptick in the job market for the coming stretch.

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The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey for Q1 of 2015, for one, uncovered considerable reason for optimism in its poll of 1,900 Canadian employers with interests that cut across a swath of sectors. It predicts a robust hiring trend to launch 2015, with some 11 percent of Canadian employers planning to expand their rosters.

Regional hiring variations appear to have done an about-face from recent times, with the preponderance of activity expected to take place in the eastern — rather than the long-swelling western — part of the country. Fourteen percent of employers in Atlantic Canada anticipate hiring more staff.

In the West, meanwhile, eight percent of employers expect to staff up in the first part of 2015 — same as in Ontario. About six percent of Quebec employers are hiring.

According to HR consulting firm Robert Half, the hiring projections of Canadian IT employers are even more ambitious, with 84 percent expecting to expand in the coming months. Indeed, folks in this sector are so in need of skilled tech professionals that half characterized their pursuit as “somewhat” or “very” challenging, with supply consistently outstripping demand.

The top five Canadian cities anticipating the most hiring in the first quarter of 2015 are:

  • Halifax, NS
  • Kitchener/Cambridge, Ont.
  • Thunder Bay, Ont.
  • Hamilton, Ont.
  • Fredericton, NB

The top five sectors anticipating the most hiring in the first quarter of 2015 are:

  • Finance, insurance and real estate
  • Manufacturing — durables
  • Public administration
  • Construction
  • Transportation and public utilities

Having achieved a national unemployment rate of 6.5 percent in October — the lowest in six years — Canada is on the decided ascent up the lush green side of the hill (the prevailing real-life backdrop of snow squalls notwithstanding).