Where have all the “good jobs” gone?!

I often hear people say that there just aren’t any “good jobs” out there. What is your definition of a “good job”? If you are a student looking for a part time job after school and on weekends a “good job” will look quite different than a “good job” for a professional with 20 years of progressive experience in the same occupation who is seeking full time employment.

There are a variety of factors to consider when looking at employment options. What are your job needs and wants: competitive salary; benefits; room for advancement; perks like an expense account or company vehicle; flexible work schedule; convenient location; prestige; funding for training; child care or fitness facilities on site; etc? Needs and wants can vary depending on our life circumstances. The things that were important to me when I was younger, single, and didn’t have children are quite different than the things that are important to me now. I suspect that my needs and wants will continue to evolve as my life circumstances change.

It is expected that Alberta will face ongoing labour shortages in the coming years as baby boomers leave the workforce. Labour shortages mean that there will be more jobs available than workers to fill them and there will be a variety of opportunities available for new workers and transitioners alike. How will you know which of these jobs are right for you?

While it is important to know your wage or salary and hours of work requirements it is equally important to be aware of your interests, abilities, skills, and values. When presented with choices of occupations and job options, assessing your qualifications and characteristics in relation to those choices will help you with the decision making process. When you are clear about your needs and wants you can be more strategic in identifying options that will fit with your idea of a “good job”.

A gentleman in his mid 30s has been working in the oil and gas industry for a multinational company at a small plant in the industrial heartland of Alberta for 10 years. He is considering a job change and possibly even an occupation change. Let’s explore his list of needs and wants:


  • Salary of no less than $5,000 / year of his current salary
  • Commute to work of no more than 1 hour each direction
  • Reputable and ethical company with a solid safety record
  • Comprehensive benefit plan
  • Consistent work schedule
  • Recognition of transferrable skills and experience


  • Compressed work week (9 / 80 schedule or similar)
  • Bonuses and profit sharing
  • Facility staff of less than 100 employees
  • Opportunities for promotion
  • Opportunities for training
  • Opportunities to be challenged
  • Progressive and future focused organization

The needs and wants listed above are by no means exhaustive and will certainly vary from individual to individual. You may consider some of the wants identified as needs and some of the needs as wants. Knowing what you need and want will enable you to evaluate the options that you are presented with and to seek out opportunities based on your criteria. Creating your list before you start looking for work is a proactive approach that will allow you to focus your job search efforts, connect with your network in a meaningful way, and evaluate your options in an objective manner.

Service Canada has a number of free, online quizzes designed to help you explore and identify your work interests and values. Visit to get started. Our next newsletter will direct you to resources and provide you with strategies for conducting research as well as identifying opportunities based on your list of needs and wants.

For a FREE 30 minute consultation please feel free to contact Paula directly at or 780.589.2245.