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Job: Job developer

The role: A job developer – also referred to as an employer relations specialist – is responsible for supporting job seekers by establishing relationships with employers, matching candidates with work opportunities and assisting them in the application process.

“It has some career coaching aspects to it, but it’s more full cycle, where the job developer sees the full journey in preparing the job seeker while also building those key relationships with organizations that may hire them,” explains Chi-Chi Egbo, who performs job-developer duties in her role as the director of outcomes at the Juno College of Technology.

Ms. Egbo adds that while the job does involve some one-on-one career coaching, the bulk of a job developer’s responsibilities are related to making inroads with prospective employers. “They will typically allocate about 70 per cent of their time to building relationships with companies, identifying work opportunities, looking at job boards and attending networking events to let companies know, ‘I have job seekers in my roster that would be great for your company,’” she says.

Job developers are typically employed by universities, colleges, government agencies, not-for-profit organizations and community centres. They often work with recent graduates, those in the midst of career transitions or people who belong to vulnerable populations. “Some agencies might cater to new immigrants, some might cater to those who have lost employment. It just depends on the agency,” Ms. Egbo says.

Salary: The hourly rate for a job developer in Canada ranges from roughly $18 to $29, or approximately $37,500 to $60,000 annually, with hourly earnings averaging about $24, according to Ms. Egbo explains that salaries are not typically tied to education, but are instead based on a candidate’s level of real-world experience and their employer’s financial situation.

“When you’re thinking about social services, they’re very much publicly funded, so they don’t always have the highest budgets,” she says. “Sometimes salary might be at the lower end, given what the agency has been provided as funding.”

Education: While there are no formal educational prerequisites for becoming a job developer, employers typically require some post-secondary education. A background in human resources, sociology or business management can also be an asset.

“Having a master’s is not a requirement, but I do see people who have masters in this field. That can help you move up if you want to be a manager or director that focuses more on strategy,” Ms. Egbo says.

Practitioners can also pursue certifications with provincial associations, such as the Career Development Practitioners’ Certification Board of Ontario. But such certifications are not typically mandatory.

Job prospects: The federal government has dedicated millions of dollars to job creation in an effort to aid the COVID-19 economic recovery effort, and to transition the workforce towards a green and knowledge-based economy. For example, the Jobs and Growth Fund, which launched in July of 2021, dedicated $700-million to job creation efforts.

“The government is investing a lot of funding in preparing people for future training,” Ms. Egbo says. “There’s a need for job developers to put that funding to use, so the outlook is great.”

Challenges: Job developers often work with vulnerable populations, which can make the job more challenging and take an emotional toll over time.

“You’re dealing with people who have lost employment, who are overcoming personally challenging circumstances, so there’s an emotional labour aspect to it,” Ms. Egbo says. “You want to be able to help them as much as possible to achieve their goals, but there might be something going on in their personal lives that’s a barrier to them working with you the way you might want.”

Why they do it: Finding work for those who are struggling can be extremely rewarding, Ms. Egbo says, adding that job developers also take pride in promoting greater equity in the job market overall.

“These are folks that see the bigger picture – that see the challenges that currently exist in the economy, where finding employment is not equitable, and they want to help,” she says. “People are drawn to it because it’s very purpose-driven and mission-driven work, and they’re passionate about changing how the labour market looks today.”

Misconceptions: Job developers are often confused with recruiters, as both roles involve helping employers find qualified talent. Unlike recruiters, however, job developers typically don’t collect any commissions or fees from employers or candidates, and aren’t pressured to meet quotas.

“They do the same thing in the sense of helping companies hire people, but their reasons for it are different, and their methods are different,” Ms. Egbo says. “If I was a candidate that was a recent immigrant, or a woman experiencing homelessness, or someone that is going through a career change, I would choose a job developer that has that clear understanding of how to work with different populations, and works from an empathy perspective. "

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