Immigrating to Canada: Job market — hot or not?!

It has been just over a year that I moved to Canada, and close to two years since I received my permanent resident (PR) visa. During this time, on many occasions, I received questions about the job market in Canada — some asked out of curiosity while others were individuals who, in some capacity, were considering migrating or were in the process of immigration or had recently in Canada. 

Read: My first blog in this series — Immigrating to Canada: My experience in just 10 steps!   

In this second blog of the ‘Immigrating to Canada’ series, I’m going to (try) to answer another popular question: What is the job market like in Canada?

I’ve heard many variations of this question, such as:

  • Is it easy to find a job in Canada?
  • How to find a job in Canada? 
  • How to apply for a job in Canada while still in India?
  • Is there scope for <specific profession>? 
  • Is it possible to find a job before landing in Canada? 

… so on and so forth; you get the drift! 

My experience of finding a job in Canada was very different, rare, and one of a kind. You can read all about it in the posts: How I found a job in Canada and My experience with switching careers and working at Arrive

While I don’t have first hand experience with job hunting in Canada, my role at Arrive offers plenty of opportunities to interact with newcomers. And some of them have successfully navigated the system to find employment in their desired fields. 

Here are my top 3 insights for the Canadian job market, based on newcomer interactions I’ve had: 

#SeekAndYouShallFind / Read, read, and then read some more! 

There are some really interesting blogs out there, written by fellow-newcomers, that provide a comprehensive view of the job market in Canada. I stumbled upon one such article long before I moved. It’s written by an awesome person, Ronak Gandhi, who moved to Toronto after receiving his PR. Ronak’s article will give you the ways and means to find some real data, statistics, and solid evidence (if you’re looking for it!) to understand the opportunities for your profession in any province or city in Canada. It can also help you decide whether it’s actually worth moving to Canada and finalize the province or city that might be best for you. 

“Canadian experience” is valued 

Many newcomers get confused after a job interview when they are rejected with a feedback that states “lack of Canadian experience.” Canadian experience doesn’t necessarily refer to ‘work’ experience in Canada, but instead means familiarity or knowledge of the Canadian culture, best practices, local policies or legislations, or even acquiring  industry certifications required for your profession. It also has a lot to do with you being a good fit to the team and the organization.

Fortunately, there are many ways in which you can gain Canadian experience:

  • By volunteering with different organizations (volunteering is huge in Canada, btw!)
  • Taking up a customer facing survival job
  • Taking up a course, training program, or pursuing further studies in Canada 
  • Getting certified by a Canadian authority in your profession
  • Familiarizing yourself with local sports teams in basketball, ice hockey, baseball, etc., and following current events and news 
  • Adapting to the local dressing style 

And unfortunately, all of these activities can only be done when you are physically present in Canada. So while it is not completely impossible, it’s certainly challenging to find employment prior to actually moving to Canada. All the exceptions I’ve seen and heard so far were from people in the tech sector (developers, coders, etc.) whose skills are in high-demand in Canada. 

Networking increases the probability of finding employment in your desired field

Networking and having ‘connections’ who help you find a job is not looked upon favourably by many. I see a lot of comments from angry and frustrated newcomers who seem to think that using connections constitutes nepotism or favouritism, and they would prefer to be chosen on merit. However, what I’ve learned is that connections only help you get your foot in the door; from that point on, it’s purely your experience, education, and skills. Knowing someone in an organization or obtaining a referral from someone does not equate to actually getting the job. You still have to put in the work and convince the interviewer that you’re the right fit for the role on offer. Just to put things in perspective, I want you to take a moment and think of a similar scenario from the lens of a recruiter or hiring manager who receives hundreds or thousands of applications for a single role. If you were in their place, would you go through all the applications first OR instead start off by taking a look at some select candidates referred to you by a colleague or a friend?  

To summarize… 

With an immigration policy that’s favourable to many individuals globally, generally speaking, the job market in Canada is very competitive. It takes hard work, research, persistence, cultural awareness, networking, and patience to be successful!  

If you are a newcomer in Canada, comment below and share your experiences with job search. Also, if you haven’t already, subscribe for upcoming articles on my blog:

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