Commercial Vacancy Rates Fall: Indicating Tightening Labour Market

Jul 31, 2012

An indication of continued growth in Western Canada, and contrary to many municipalities across Canada, vacant commercial space falls to near full levels in the second quarter with Vancouver and Calgary downtown reflecting 3.3% and 3.2% vacancy respectively.  Edmonton’s vacancy rate dropped to 7.6%, showing absorption of over 400,000 sq. ft. in the second qtr.  The continued fall in vacancy increases rental and lease rates, spurring new building, jobs and growth in these cities.  It also means the labour market will continue to tighten for both skilled trade’s people and corporate professionals.

Offices require more than furniture and fixtures, increasing the demand on the strongest talent as expansion offices and new companies seek the best in the industry to drive payback of the investment made.  This increases the competitiveness of the job seeker market.  The effects to hiring practise are multiple:

1) Urgency is Key:  The last couple of years hiring managers had the luxury of ‘waiting till tomorrow’ to make the phone call to the candidate for an interview or offer.  Great candidates, whether found by a firm or the hiring organization, will have multiple opportunities and/or offers.  Decisive decision making, evaluation and action is needed to secure your candidate of choice.

2) More than a Posting Required: Posting a job is not enough in a tight labour market.  Access to hidden candidates becomes a critical recruitment component – this takes perseverance and time.  Some quality candidates are in the market looking, however, many more are not actively engaged and simply waiting to be found.

3) Retention Race: A tight market is as much about getting good candidates as it is about retaining great employees.  While organizations are using the list of top ways to poach your employee, you need to be equally resilient in maintaining strength of retention.  It is always harder to replace what was lost than keep what you have…especially great employees.