Surrey companies ready to hire

Surrey's booming construction sector is contributing to a favourable job market.
— image credit: Leader file photo

Surrey is the third most promising city in Canada to get a job in the next few months, according to a firm that examines hiring trends globally.

The Manpower Group released its Employment Outlook Survey this week, examining 46 cities across Canada. About 1,900 companies were asked whether they were planning to change their staff size in the third quarter of 2011. Options included an expected increase, decrease, no change or don't know.

Surrey has the third-highest net employment outlook ranking of 37, just behind Charlettetown (40) and Niagra Falls (39).

Thirty-seven per cent of Surrey companies polled said they were going to hire more staff and none are planning to decrease the number of employees. Sixty per cent said the employee roster would remain the same and three per cent didn't know.

Susan Wright-Boucher, regional director for Manpower Group, said Surrey's numbers are amazing.

"You know what, Surrey is unbelievable," Wright-Boucher said, adding it's a combination of low level and high level jobs coming available.

The last few quarters have told the tale in Surrey, she said.

In the first quarter of 2011, the city had a net employment outlook of 13 per cent, growing to 28 per cent in Q2 and 37 in Q3. Those figures come out of the city's bleakest period during the first quarter of 2010 when Surrey had a net employment outlook of minus-seven per cent.

The city has been growing steadily since then.

"I sent this to (Mayor) Dianne Watts' office," Wright-Boucher said. "This is something they can be really, really proud of."

She said the results are likely driven by geography, land prices and local growth.

"Surrey is one of the fastest-growing cities in Canada," she said. "Businesses are relocating there or expanding there. There's parking for people, the real estate (price) is certainly quite attractive."

Vancouver will always be a popular market, she said "but it's also really costly."

Surrey's success may be in part due to a booming construction sector, which experienced a net employment outlook of 38 per cent in Western Canada. The city's building boom could well have bumped up local numbers significantly.

Other cities in the region didn't fare as well.

Richmond-Delta came in 30th out of 46 with a net employment outlook ranking of 20.

In those cities, 33 per cent of the companies polled expected to hire in Q3 this year, 13 per cent expected to cut back, 53 per cent were sticking with the status quo and one per cent of those asked didn't know what changes they would make.

Vancouver came in 32nd in the rankings, with a net of 18, Victoria and the Capital Regional District edged up just behind that with a net of 17.

Burnaby-Coquiltlam came in second-last nationally, with a net employment outlook of six.

The national net employment outlook average was 22, with 26 per cent of companies expecting to hire, four per cent anticipating layoffs, 68 per cent predicting employment to stay the same, and two per cent unsure.

Industries leading the country were mining, with a net employment outlook of 24 per cent, followed by transportation and public utilities at 19 per cent and public administration at 17 per cent.

Nationally, the construction industry came in at 16 per cent and the service sector reported a net employment outlook of 15 per cent.

For the full list of cities examined, visit


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