yyjworks.com

All About Employment in Victoria, BC

Welcome to yyjworks

My goal with this site is to provide a really useful resource for job seekers in Victoria, British Columbia. Sure there are other aggregating services that will deliver job postings to you but I'm local and in tune with YYJ's unique employment challenges and environment - I think you'll find YYJWorks has a lot to offer. If you'd like to let me know about obstacles you've encountered while looking for work (or workers) in Victoria feel free to use this response form.

Happy holidays from YYJWorks!

Posted By on December 20, 2015

May the final days of 2015 be full of love, laughter and joy and spent with family and friends in warmth and happiness. Here in Victoria it looks likely we’ll have a green Christmas, which is perfectly okay since even a skiff of snow on the roads here results in vehicular mayhem. Hope that your ‘sleigh’ – whether metaphorical or real – is as full of good things as the one below. And if you want to share the love with YYJWorks via the new donation button off to the right I’d be very appreciative.

santas sleigh two

Aggregators for All!

Posted By on September 9, 2015

An aggregator – or I guess more specifically a job aggregator – is simply a fancy name for a website that is automatically built by software that scurries around the Internet (nice image huh) collecting job openings posted by employers and from other online sources (i.e. sites like Hcareers which lists jobs in hospitality). Some rely solely on this method of collecting openings from other sites (called ‘web scraping‘ or simply ‘scraping’) while others, for example ZipRecruiter’s job board, accept job listings directly from employers while also scraping other sites. In a future post I’ll write about how to evaluate aggregator quality (keep in mind that your evaluation will be influenced by your particular job search needs) but for now here is a list of eight aggregators that you might want to put on your long list (in brackets behind each is the number of jobs posted within 10km of Victoria within the last week for comparison among the different sites).

  • eluta (1,009 – although there is no way to restrict this only to jobs posted in the last week)
  • Glassdoor (232 jobs)
  • Government of Canada Job Bank (852 jobs – however this job search only allows you to specify Vancouver Island and Coast region so you are seeing jobs outside of Victoria and also has no way to restrict to only show jobs listed in the last 7 days)
  • Indeed (362 jobs)
  • Neuvoo (1,142 jobs)
  • SimplyHired (174 jobs)
  • WorkBC (109 jobs)
  • ZipRecruiter  (13 jobs – I’ve just included it so you can see that at least for this part of Canada it doesn’t actually seem to be worth using)

Seven Strategies for a Better LinkedIn Experience

Posted By on August 29, 2015

Grab Seven Strategies for LinkedIn as a PDF. You’re welcome!

1. Claim your URL

Instead of having a long complex URL for your LinkedIn profile ‘claim’ your personal space by clicking on the ‘gear’ symbol next to your present LinkedIn URL (see image below). This will take you to a settings page where you can edit this URL as well as set many other parameters.

settings
2. Settings (1 and 2)

Settings ‘1’ – reached by clicking on the gear symbol in the image above – is where you can set who can see certain sections of your LinkedIn profile as well as where you can create a LinkedIn profile ‘badge’ that you can use elsewhere online (say on your personal website). Settings ‘2’ – is where you can set what others see when YOU look at their profile as well as many other parameters. To reach this screen go to the ‘Privacy & Settings’ link under your photo in the top right hand corner of the screen (you will likely have to re-enter your password to get access to these settings).

3. Should you be afraid of LIONs?

LION is an acronym for LinkedIn Open Networker. Basically this is an individual who connects with everyone and anyone on LinkedIn whether they know the person or not. As this article from LinkedIn Pulse indicates, being a LION can pose a security risk and including people who are LIONs within your connections may lead people to view you in negative ways. If you have 500+ connections you probably don’t need to worry about having LIONs in your connections list as most people will probably not notice – however, if you are just getting started I would suggest that you not connect with LIONs.

4. Hook ’em with your headline

The ‘headline’ is the restricted area (120 characters) directly beneath your name on your profile (see below). You want this field to be catchy, expressive and keyword rich. It should capture your unique skills as well as give an indication of what kind of position you are looking for. A good way to come up with a compelling headline is to spend some time looking at the headline of those in your ‘dream job’ on LinkedIn.

headline
5. Absolutely perfect

Nothing says ‘careless’ as clearly as a LinkedIn profile with typographical, spelling or grammatical errors. Probably the best way to make sure that your profile is perfect is to use the Resume Builder feature on LinkedIn to create a Word document from your profile. You can then take this document into a word processing program to check it for spelling, typographical and grammatical errors.

6. Say Cheese

Please, please, please put in a photo of yourself – the grey sihouette is sure to turn off prospective connections even if your profile is amazing. It may be tempting to put up a photo that features you with a prize-winning fish from your latest angling adventure or a selfie with somebody famous but really the best approach is to have a simple, tasteful headshot. I don’t think it needs to be professionally done – why not get together with a friend who is also looking to complete their profile and spend a couple of hours photographing each other in a variety of settings (we’re spoiled for choice here in Victoria). I am sure that if you take a couple of dozen photos there will be at least two or three that with some cropping will be good enough. Remember to keep the colour of your clothing muted and avoid patterns/prints that can create odd visual effects and be distracting.

7. Become a ‘Groupie’

One of the best ways to get noticed, find new connections and build your reputation within LinkedIn is to strategically join and contribute to groups. As a guide to which groups are valuable have a look at those that people you respect in your field belong to. I would caution however about spending much time trying to participate in the very noisy ‘supergroups’ (my term). For example I belong to a group that has over 150,000 members and hundreds of posts per day. It is impossible to stay current on the activity in this group and I am honestly not sure why I remain in it. I would suggest that you look for smaller, ‘niche interest’ groups where you can stay on top of the discussion, make good contacts and contribute meaningfully. Another great thing about groups is that using the ‘Reply privately’ on comments you can connect with people otherwise inaccessible to you – I have used that effectively with some real leaders in fields I am interested in and as long as you keep it respectful and non-spammy it can be an excellent method of making important connections.

Bonus tips:

8. Grab that LinkedIn archive

I learned about this from a Viveka Von Rosen tweet (Viveka’s Twitter – @LinkedInExpert). This archive contains a wealth of information – for example the ‘connections’ file which contains the first name, last name, email address, current company and current position of all your connections. To retrieve this data log in to LinkedIn and then do the following:

  • Go up to the right-hand top corner and hover over your photo and select the ‘Privacy & Settings’ link (you may be prompted to re-enter your password as a precaution)
  • On the next screen click on the ‘Account’ tab and select the ‘Request an archive of your data’ link

archiveYou’ll probably get a message back saying that it may take up to 72 hours but mine was back in much less than that. The zipped folder will contain 20+ files (each of which I was able to open with LibreOffice software as spreadsheets) each full of interesting information that you can incorporate into your LinkedIn profile, summary and even your resume. Happy exploring!

9. The Power of Posts

This is where you can let your brilliance shine or simply express yourself on a particular topic. For example, is there a problem common to your industry/field that you have successfully solved in your present/previous job? Why not detail it with a post and then share it with the relevant group? Posts can also be placed on your personal website as well as on LinkedIn. There is even a LinkedIn Group (called Writing on LinkedIn) to help you learn how to write and format intriguing and effective posts.

Resources/References:

If you’d like to connect with me on LinkedIn please feel free to say that you are a ‘Friend’ and mention YYJWorks in the invitation to connect.

Grab that LinkedIn Archive

Posted By on July 3, 2015

Just a quickie here folks – something invaluable to do in about 90 seconds, requesting your LinkedIn Archive. I learned about this from a Viveka Von Rosen tweet (Twitter @LinkedInExpert). This archive contains a wealth of information – for example the ‘connections’ file which contains the first name, last name, email address, current company and current position of all your connections.

To retrieve this data log in to LinkedIn and then do the following:

  1. Go up to the right-hand top corner and click on your photo (you are using a photo on LinkedIn aren’t you – here’s how to do it right) and select the ‘Privacy & Settings’ link (you may be prompted to re-enter your password as a precaution)
  2. On the next screen click on the ‘Account’ tab and select the ‘Request an archive of your data’ link

Capture

You’ll probably get a message back saying that it may take up to 72 hours but mine was back in much less than that. The zipped folder will contain 20+ files (each of which I was able to open with LibreOffice software as spreadsheets) each full of interesting information that you can incorporate into your LinkedIn profile, summary and even your resume – Viveka’s original article has some great ideas on how you can use this treasure trove most effectively. Happy exploring!

Guide to the YYJWorks ‘Biggest Employers in Victoria’ Series

Posted By on May 10, 2015

Here’s a quick directory to the 14-part series just completed:

In the next couple of weeks I’ll put together all the posts as a PDF and link to it from this page and the first page in the series. Hope you found this helpful.

A closer look at the Health Care Sector

Posted By on May 10, 2015

As mentioned in the previous post giving an overview of this sector health care jobs are expected to show fairly robust growth in the next few years with an annual average growth of 2.1% or 64,000 jobs in the decade between 2012 and 2022.

Despite the shortage of health care workers it seems that incentives and assistance for those wishing to pursue education in these fields is sketchy. I followed a link to the Grants and Scholarships page on the StudentAid BC site only to find that the there was no table containing information on funding programs to be seen. There is a specific nursing bursary which is awarded automatically (based on financial need I presume) to eligible students when they apply for student loans – but what about those that don’t take out a loan to pursue their education? This bursary program is under review as of today (May 2015) but may be worth checking into if you are interested in pursuing nursing. The Health Sciences Association of BC also offers scholarships for education in various health care fields.

On the plus side since there are shortages in many health care occupations it may be more likely that graduates from even short programs (like the Health Care Assistant program – 29 weeks at Camosun) will find work without too much trouble.

Big Employers in this Sector in Victoria …
The biggest health care sector employer in Victoria is Island Health (formerly Vancouver Island Health Authority). Island Health has ~18,000 employees Island-wide (and also on the mainland) but a large proportion of those work here in the Greater Victoria area at Royal Jubilee Hospital, Victoria General Hospital and the Saanich Peninsula Hospital as well as smaller extended and residential care facilities.

Today there are 215 jobs listed on the Island Health site for Victoria but more than half (113 out of 215 or 53%) are for nurses. There are a small number of jobs (clerical positions for example) that do not specifically require an education in health. Less skilled positions as cleaners and dietary aides that might have been good jobs for those without post-secondary education 20 years ago have been contracted out in most (all?) Island Health facilities to Compass Group Canada. The majority of the 102 non-nursing jobs do require some post-secondary education – for example jobs for sonographers, nursing unit clerks (a 9-month part time program at Camosun), rehabilitation assistants, laboratory technologists, dietitians and central processing assistant.

A significant portion of the health care workforce is baby boomers and in the next couple of decades many are going to be retiring. Definitely there will be opportunities available for those that have the resources (intellectual, time and financial) to put off earning while attending post-secondary education but even then will the jobs be worth it? Many health care professionals will have to settle for jobs that demand they work a variety of shifts and often miss out on family events because of having to work holidays and weekends even with many years of seniority. As mentioned in the overview of this sector the workplace can often be an unhealthy one – not just in terms of injuries brought on by activities of the job itself (exacerbated by poor ergonomics) but also in respect to violence and emotional and psychological stress and trauma.

Overall, the choice to work in this sector in general and working for Island Health in particular must be carefully considered. Although there may be plenty of jobs available and wages are above-average other aspects of the workplace are not so attractive. For example, the seemingly eternal shortage in nursing has meant many nurses work a lot of overtime with all of the added stress and strain on their bodies and minds (which of course is compensated with extra wages but it would be interesting to see how many think it is worth it in the long run). Early shift starts may make working in many positions in hospitals or clinics very difficult to manage for parents – especially those with school-age kids – what are you going to do with your 9 and 7 year old when you have to be at work for 7:00 am and school doesn’t start until 8:30 or 9:00?

From a Victoria point of view the high cost of living, lack of affordable daycare options and mediocre public transit infrastructure may make working at Island Health unattractive despite relatively high wages and a large number of open positions. What do you think – do you work in health care now? Have you worked in the sector but left it and if so why? Feel free to comment below or send me an email to susan at yyjworks dot com.

Victoria’s Sixth Biggest Employer – Health Care

Posted By on April 4, 2015

As mentioned in the first part of this series the occupational sector comprised of jobs in health care is the city’s sixth biggest employment category. Approximately 15,600 of the 180,000 Victorians that were employed in 2014 work at jobs that fall within this categorization. But what is the outlook for this sector in terms of present opportunities, wages, future trends and the shape of its workforce?

Today’s Job Prospects in this Sector
An advanced search at WorkBC today says that in the last two weeks (March 18 2015 to April 1 2015) within 10km of Victoria 206 jobs have been posted and of the 124 that specified which industry they were in ten were under the industry listing called ‘Health’ (or ~8.1% of the jobs where an industry is identified or ~4.9% of all jobs posted). As with other categories that I have reviewed earlier the number of job openings shown here may be unrepresentatively low since jobs that fall in this sector may be advertised elsewhere (for example nursing and other healthcare jobs are advertised on Island Health’s site although interestingly physician positions are advertised on WorkBC but not on Island Health) and never make it to the WorkBC listings.

The nine jobs available range from healthcare assistants with a private in-home care company (mainly serving seniors) to physicians. Only a single job shows wages (grrrr!) and it comes in at the middle of the pack on the display (suggesting to me that other jobs pay lower and higher on either side of it) with a stated hourly rate of $16.17.

Pros and Cons of this Sector
There is only a single industry sector that includes health care on the WorkBC site but it also includes occupations that fall under the category of social assistance so it may not be completely accurate in its projections. The pros, cons and future prospects of this sector are taken from a review of this Health Care and Social Assistance sector profile on the WorkBC site.

This sector, which was the province’s second largest employer in 2011, showed a decline of 4.4% (~12,200 jobs) in 2012-2013. This sector is the most overwhelmingly female of all of the sectors profiled on WorkBC’s site (18 in all) with ~82% of workers being female in 2013 versus an average of 48% in all the other sectors. That said women employed in this sector enjoy a higher average wage than women in other sectors. The number of workers under 25 is about half that of the provincial average in other sectors (7% versus 15%) while the number of workers 55 and over is slightly higher than average (22% versus 20%).

As mentioned earlier, wages in this sector are higher than the average for other sectors and although the sector is predominantly female the wages for males are still higher within the sector than those for women (NPR recently aired an interesting piece regarding research that showed within the nursing profession in the United States, which like in Canada is female dominated, male nurses still made significantly higher wages than their female counterparts. Another pro of this sector is that, as the sector overview mentions, the “industry has a low unemployment rate and tends to be immune from economic fluctuations”.

A downside to occupations in the health care sector which might surprise you is that it has “ more worker injuries than any other sector, including forestry, construction, and transportation” (Handle with Care, page 1). The same report as quoted earlier states that on average WorkSafeBC statistics show that about 890 workers per day are absent from work due to injury in the health care sector. This is definitely something to keep in mind if you want a career for the long haul since wear and tear on the body is cumulative. Also most of the jobs in this sector require at least a year or two of post-secondary education with others like nursing and other health care professions (physiotherapist, chiropractor) require at least four years of university. Of course medicine requires an even longer educational commitment. You need to weigh the opportunity cost of pursuing this education against the higher wages that you will make in these professions.

The Future of this Sector
As many of you may be aware there are constant shortages, especially of nurses, in various occupations within the health care sector. The WorkBC site projects 2.1% growth in this sector over the years 2012-2022 (~64,000 jobs over 10 years) and this robust figure probably is reflective of these shortages. The slightly higher than average number of employees in this sector that are 55 and over means that shortages are only likely to increase over time and provide opportunities for young people willing to make the sacrifice of money and time to get the required education to perform jobs in this sector. Lastly the ‘greying’ of British Columbia’s population will also likely increase demand for health care workers.

At some point in the future I’ll examine this sector in more depth and look at Victoria’s biggest health care employer – Island Health (formerly Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA)).

Update on YYJWorks’ immediate future

Posted By on March 18, 2015

My pal R came over the other day to talk YYJWorks with me. She finds it a valuable resource and didn’t realize that the blog is completely a labour of love (not so much love lately but you know what I mean) on my part and that there is no compensation other than knowing that I’ve (hopefully) helped out some Victoria job seekers. I told her why I started the blog, how long it takes me to create the fresh sheet (somewhere between 60 and 90 minutes each week day) and why I’m feeling kind of blah about it lately.

I thought that somewhere on the blog I had written about why I started YYJWorks but now that I look for it I can’t find it. So here’s why. In March of 2011 I came back from 10 weeks in India. The trip had been a gift to myself for having completed my undergrad degree before my self-imposed deadline of the big five-oh. I had actually finished classes at the end of 2010 and I think by this point I was already planning on going to Sweden to do a Master’s. I just needed a job, any job, to tide me over for the 15 or so months until I headed off to Sweden.

That turned out to be easier said than done and I didn’t actually find work until August of 2011 and then the job went from a perfect 20ish hours a week down to 15 or less by the time I left. I’d never had such problems before during the almost 20 years I’d lived in Victoria. As an attempt to help myself and others I launched this blog soon after returning and now almost four years later I am still at it.

R’s visit made me think that I should keep going for a bit longer but find some ways to make the task less onerous. In the short term I am concentrating on the Data Science specialization through Coursera doing two courses every four weeks – the ones I am doing right now (Statistical Inference and Regression Models) will end on March 29th. Then there will just be two left. I’m going to take myself off for a weekend somewhere to celebrate being done (presuming of course I pass – hopefully I will).

So until mid-May (coincidentally when YYJWorks will be four years old) I will continue doing fresh sheets but probably just twice a week. If YYJWorks is valuable to you or you have some ideas about how I might be able to monetize it in some small way without landing in jail (read about that here) do let me know by commenting below or sending me mail at susan at yyjworks dot com. Good luck at the job fair tomorrow if you’re going and if you’d like to take me out for coffee some time and talk to me about your ideas for how to make YYJWorks even more useful and helpful do get in touch.

A closer look at natural and applied sciences occupational sector

Posted By on March 12, 2015

As mentioned in the last post the projected growth in these sectors (Agriculture, Forestry, Mining and Oil and Gas Extraction and Information, Recreation and Culture) is uneven with only two of the four promising positive growth in the years 2012-2022 (Mining and Oil and Gas Extraction and Information, Culture and Recreation 4.1% and 0.9% respectively for 13,100 and 5,000 jobs).

Many of the better paying jobs within these sectors fall into the STEM category (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) which I discovered when I was looking at the previous sector doesn’t seem to have any specialized funding for post-secondary education. Speaking anecdotally I will say that many of the people I know that are working in jobs that fall into these sectors are HIGHLY educated – if you want to advance to the top levels of the profession in the natural and applied sciences you are probably looking at a very lengthy educational investment – definitely to the PhD level and likely beyond to post doctoral work. Not for the faint of heart or thin of wallet. On the plus side – many of the programs in the Sciences will be co-op programs (at least at the University of Victoria) at both the undergraduate and graduate level giving you the chance to make some money to help defray tuition costs.

Big Employers in this Sector in Victoria …
There are some big employers run by the federal government in this sector in the Victoria area. There is the Pacific Forestry Centre which seems to have about 100 employees (going by their online directory) and the Institute of Ocean Sciences which the website states has more than 250 researchers and scientists. Presently the federal job board shows a number of job opportunities within the Department of Fisheries and the Coast Guard (but none at the Pacific Forestry Centre) – about half the jobs are for professionals (technicians, biologists) while others are for non-professionals (cooks, deckhands).

There will be jobs for instructors at Universities that offers degrees in these fields (biology, IT, natural resource extraction, forestry, agriculture) but, as a friend remarked when we were talking about academic tenure in the highly desirable living conditions of Victoria, don’t expect to see jobs come up frequently (he estimated about three per century!) and expect competition to be fierce. And of course to teach you are most likely going to need a PhD or beyond. Presently Uvic has a single posting that would fall within this category and Camosun and Royal Roads have none.

Finally, there are a variety of positions that fall into occupations in this sector available from the provincial government. At present there are several jobs open within forestry and the ministry of environment that fall into the ‘natural and applied sciences’ category.

As with the sector reviewed just previous to this one (social sciences, education, government services and religion) there are jobs that pay well and have the possibility of advancement available though they are not as plentiful as lower paying jobs. Also, competition for these types of jobs in academia will likely be fierce. Finally, you must be willing and able to make a very large up front investment in terms of time and money to get the necessary education to qualify to do these jobs. What do you think – do you work in this sector – is it satisfying? Do you feel that you got a fair return for the investment in your education? Let me know by leaving a comment below or sending an email to susan at yyjworks.com.

Occupations in the natural and applied sciences and related occupations

Posted By on March 10, 2015

As mentioned in the first part of this series the occupational sector comprised of jobs in the natural and applied sciences and related occupations is the city’s fifth biggest employment category. Approximately 16,000 of the 180,000 Victorians that were employed in 2014 work at jobs that fall within this categorization. But what is the outlook for this sector in terms of present opportunities, wages, future trends and the shape of its workforce?

Today’s Job Prospects in this Sector
An advanced search at WorkBC today shows that in the last two weeks (February 24 2015 to March 10 2015) within 10km of Victoria 263 jobs have been posted and of the 137 that specified which industry they were in nine were under the industry listing called ‘Engineers, Architects, IT, Natural Science’ (or ~6.6% of the jobs where an industry is identified or ~3.3% of all jobs posted). This seems in keeping with its place in the nationally derived ranking (on today’s search it is in 5th place behind other industry categories). As with other categories that I have reviewed earlier the number of job openings shown here may be unrepresentatively low since jobs that fall in this sector may be advertised elsewhere (for example forest biology jobs may be advertised through the federal government’s job board) and never make it to the WorkBC listings.

The nine jobs available range from a technician position at a local company that provides mobility aids (wheelchairs, scooters, walkers etc) to a software developer at Pareto Logic. Only a single job shows wages (grrrr!) and it comes in at the middle of the pack on the display (suggesting to me that other jobs pay lower and higher on either side of it) with a stated salary of $40,000 annually.

Pros and Cons of this Sector
Because of the discordance between the Labour Force Survey classifications and the National Occupational Classification system it is hard to know exactly which sectors to look at on the WorkBC site but I think that the Agricultural sector, Forestry and Logging , Mining and Oil and Gas Extraction and Information, Culture and Recreation cover most of the bases though of course there are some jobs (like those harvesting fruits and vegetables in the Agricultural sector) that have nothing to do with this mostly professional/technical and more highly educated workforce. The pros and cons of this sector are taken from a review of these four industry/sectors on the WorkBC website.

With the exception of Information, Culture and Recreation all the other sectors showed robust growth in the 2012-2013 period. Within the agricultural sector only those jobs that fall at the higher educated end of the spectrum have good wages – overall the sector has much lower than average hourly wages and relatively high unemployment compared to other sectors. A large proportion of the jobs are temporary and/or seasonal. Very few jobs in agriculture are unionized and working conditions can be physically taxing with longer hours than in other sectors.

Mining and Oil and Gas Extraction and Forestry and Logging all have higher than average wages when you work at the source on the actual extraction but these jobs are some of the most dangerous around with high rates of injuries (and even fatalities – indeed a very sobering read at the preceding link). There are very few women employed in either of these sectors (~20% in mining and ~15% in forestry). With the problems with pine beetle infestation in British Columbia and the plummeting price of oil globally both of these sectors have significant challenges both now and ahead of them.

The Information, Culture and Recreation sector has only average wages – no doubt if we were able to look only at the Information sector – which arguably is the only one that belongs in the national classification of ‘applied sciences’ – it would likely be higher.

The Future of this Sector
Despite strong growth in 2012-2013 for three of the four sectors the outlook for the decade from 2012-2022 is not promising according to the 2013 Labour Force Survey. Only Mining and Oil and Gas Extraction and Information, Culture and Recreation have positive projected job growth (4.1% and 0.9% respectively for 13,100 and 5,000 jobs). The other two have job losses of -0.2%/400 jobs (Agriculture) and -1.8%/2,900 jobs (Forestry) projected for 2012-2022.

In terms of what impacts these sectors as mentioned earlier there are specific challenges associated with climate change (pine beetle) as well as global economic trends (plummeting oil prices). The strength of the Canadian dollar has a powerful effect as well – if our dollar is strong our raw materials and produce (grain, vegetables, fruit) may be less attractive to international buyers.

Thursday I’ll examine this sector in more depth and look at some of Victoria’s biggest employers in this sector.