As The Globe and Mail reports, Calgary’s home prices are down while unemployment and food-bank usage are up, the outlook may seem grim for Alberta’s capital this year. This article provides an interview from Stephen Scott, a recently laid off engineer who explains the toll oil prices are taking on Alberta’s energy sector work force; “there’s a lot of stress going around, a lot of negative talk going around; that’s inevitable with this going on in the industry. So it wasn’t fun, it really sucked the life out of the job”. This has resulted in a large number of professionals looking for work outside of Calgary and, this is confirmed by career-counseling firm Higher Landing’s President Jackie Rafter, as he explains that many are leaving behind their roots in search of better job opportunities.
Unfortunately, with the sudden outflow of professionals from Calgary it has become difficult for them to sell their property to relocate. As Thomas Keeper, a real estate agent in Calgary describes, he is seeing an increase in desperate sellers combined with properties that aren’t moving. On the other hand, there are still some people in Calgary that look at recent events as an opportunity for the City. Dan Harmsen, a commercial real estate agent in Calgary, feels that this is the time for the City to diversify its industries – with oil companies moving their office operations elsewhere, this allows growing industries like technology and advertising a place to work and thrive with a lower rental market.
There have also been reports of professionals making the most of their time away from work. For example, Marian Hanna was once president of a Canadian oil service company until operations were moved back to Houston. Marian has since been using her time off to take an educational program to serve on boards and leading a professional society of exploration geophysicists. Similarly, Jon MacConnel has been keeping busy with his consulting company which he started in his time off. Both Marian and Jon are prime examples of remaining positive in a hard situation – it is attitudes like these that will create new opportunities for Calgary in 2016.
Calgary faces uncertainty, opportunity in 2016 after oil price collapse.
The Globe and Mail – Ian Bickis
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