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Plethora of job fairs in Ottawa speaks to high demand for workers

Dozens of Ottawa-area career fairs happening this week alone

There are more than 10 job fairs and recruitment events planned for Tuesday, signalling an increase in demand from employers to find fresh talent.

There are more than 10 job fairs and recruitment events planned for Tuesday, signalling an increase in demand from employers to find fresh talent.

Photo: Bloomberg / Luke Sharrett


Dozens of job fairs are happening in Ottawa this week with at least 10 scheduled for Tuesday, showing just how high of a demand there is for workers in the capital.

Len Fardella, who co-owns a business with his wife that finds and aggregates job postings for paying subscribers, said that while companies typically replace summer students in August, recruitment efforts are still higher than normal.

About 34 Ottawa-area job fairs are listed on his website Peter's New Jobs for this week alone, he said.

What's causing all that? he said by phone Monday. My spouse and I are probably as puzzled as everybody else ... just where are the people?

He said he's also noticed more postings allowing people to work from home, regardless of where they live.

Fardella called it a double-edged sword: while it widens the pool of companies Ottawans can work for, it allows local companies to poach talent from other parts of the country.

Remote work has increased the competition for some jobs, he said. 

It's this interesting dynamic, and we just see a lot more jobs that have 'remote' as their location, Fardella said. It's no longer Ottawa, or even Ontario, Canada.

Jack Shinder, president of Ambico, which makes specialized doors in Gloucester, said his company employs more than 100 people.

'We've never seen shortages like this'

Still, the 10 vacant positions he has — including grinders, welders, engineers and project managers — are harder than ever to fill, he said.

It's something we deal with daily as we try to maintain our employee base and try to grow our business, he told CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning on Monday. "We've never seen shortages like this."

Likewise, RND Construction Ltd. president Roy Nandram said his company isn't taking on more work because it wouldn't be able to find enough workers to complete them.

Where's all these people that used to work before the pandemic? Where have they gone? he told Ottawa Morning

And it's not only our industry. [It's] the airline industry, the hotel industry, the restaurant industry. Everybody can't find staff. Where are these people?

Nandram said it's not as easy as raising the pay for a single job posting, either.

A raise in one person's pay may facilitate everyone getting a pay bump, which could spell trouble if there was a downturn in the economy, he said. 

Ottawa Morning12:06Companies hustle for talent during the worker shortage.More than a dozen hiring blitzes and job fairs are scheduled in Ottawa this week. We talk to a home builder and door manufacturer who are dealing with worker shortages.

Annie Peltea is director of operations for Jobs Canada, which is hosting one of the career fairs listed on Fardella's website.

More than 800 people are registered for the event at the Shaw Centre, with about 20 hiring companies, she said.

Some companies are shifting away from remote work, increasing the demand for staff willing to work on-site.

The Jobs Canada fair is held every few months, and she's also noticed more employers wanting to participate.

So it's a great opportunity for anyone ... she said. Bring your resume, be ready, have hope and you never know, right?

CBC News with files from Joseph Tunney and CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning