As Alberta's service and retail sectors are heating to a boil; the province is left scrambling to find unskilled labour.

More and more foreign worker recruitment agencies are taking on the arduous task of matching international workers to Albertan jobs - jobs that go unfilled by the province's own job-seekers.

In fact, competition among business and enterprise in Alberta is so fierce that many employers are left fighting each other over the draining pool of available workers. The province claims that it's short thousands of unskilled labourers. Last year, small and medium-sized businesses in Alberta reported 233,000 job vacancies.

Moreover, by 2014, it is projected that Alberta will have created 100,000 more jobs than there are available people to do them - Both the service and retail sector being the hardest hit. Small businesses, in particular, are struggling to keep up with wage inflation parlayed by the wealthier resource sectors, such as Alberta's ubiquitous oil and gas industry.

The service market in Alberta is largely filled by an unskilled workforce. However, one local coffee shop is paying C$15.50, and restaurants are averaging a market wage of between C$12-C$17 an hour to try and entice workers to come through their front doors. "It's going to get worse before it gets better," says Steve Hawey, manager of the Wal-Mart in Edson, Alberta. "The business is increasing at a time when there are fewer people available to work".

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