Employment Opportunities in Canada
The Best Jobs for Immigrants: Navigating the Canadian Job Market
Entry into Canada — which boasts one of the highest per capita rates of permanent immigration in the world — traverses two main routes: permanent residency or entry as a temporary worker. There are certain core sectors that offer opportunities and a distinct advantage to skilled professionals, so here’s a broad blueprint of work prospects in Canada for immigrants, the challenges they might encounter, and the best routes for navigating its job market.
In 2017, Canada increased its immigration target from 260,000 to 300,000 immigrants, giving renewed hope to those who dream of a life in Canada. This projected expansion of Canada’s immigrant population is set to be matched by burgeoning economic sectors, including business and health services.
A recent Regional Labour Market Report Card cited three provinces that head the list of high-opportunity job markets for immigrants — British Columbia, Manitoba, and Ontario. With employment rising by 19k in Q3-2017 and with Toronto’s jobless rate dropping to a 16-year low of 6.1 per cent, Ontario has emerged among the leading employment hotspots, as 6 of the best 10 job-centric cities for immigrants are based in Ontario.
It Pays to Have These Skill Sets
For skilled professionals, Canada offers a direct and fast-track immigration process known as Express Entry, which enables rapid and direct absorption into its skilled workforce (provided one is first approved as an immigrant). Skilled professionals applying through Express Entry are rated on criteria such as skill set, job experience, and language proficiency, among others. A high rank in this system paves the way for permanent residency.
Applicants must first must qualify for one of three economic programs – Federal Skilled Worker, Canadian Experience Class, or Federal Skilled Trades. Once eligibility under one of these programs is confirmed, applicants can set up a profile in the Express Entry ranking system. Those with the highest points (or rank) may then be invited to apply for permanent residence and “prove” their eligibility.
Culled from the federal government’s list of high-demand professions, here are the 2017-18 projections for the top jobs and salaries in Canada.
Thanks to Canada’s growing grey population, this sector offers many job opportunities in the healthcare and social assistance sectors.
Salary range: Hourly - CAD$20.45 - C$33.75; Annual: C$43,451 - C$69,701
Canada’s growing senior population also creates a high demand for respiratory therapists, particularly in sleep and respiratory care specialty clinics in cities such as Toronto, Calgary, Winnipeg, and Vancouver. They command large salaries.
Salary range: Hourly - C$23.78 – C$41.99; Annual - C$44,769 – C$87,897
Geo-scientists and Oceanographers
This is a high-priority profession, as demand for immigrant geoscientists and oceanographers is expected to grow in accordance with heightened environmental awareness.
Salary range: Annual - C$54,044 - C$141,772
Careers in engineering, especially in sectors such as mining, aerospace, geology, and petroleum, are high-priority areas for fast-track entry. High demand is largely due to the dearth of skilled workers, made worse by retirement and other issues.
Salary range: Chemical Engineer: Hourly: C$12.96 - C$57.81; Annual: C$45,128- C$102,323
Aerospace Engineer: Hourly: C$17.00 - C$47.92; Annual: C$49,248- C$111,006
Industries such as nuclear and hydropower, mining, pulp and paper processing, industrial instrument manufacturing, and petrochemical and natural gas, place a high demand on industrial instrument technicians and mechanics. Though demand is Canada-wide, it is relatively higher in certain provinces, such as Alberta.
Salary range: Hourly: C$19.20 - C$50.46; Annual: C$42,418 – C$124,195
Honourable mentions include: Speech Language Pathologists and Audiologists (Annual: C$48,936 - C$98,278); Occupational Therapists (Annual: C$47,526– C$81,790); Medical Laboratory Technologists (Annual: C$26,782 - C$60,525); and Medical Sonographers (Annual: C$49,320 – C$91,511).
Top Job Sectors for Express Entry
The 2018 projections for the most in-demand professions in Canada list Business Analysts, IT Project Managers, and IT Engineers in the top 10, according to new research by HR company Randstad Canada.
As per other Canadian government reports, below are some of the top professionals attracting invitation for permanent residency through Express Entry:
- Information System Analysts and Consultants
- Software Engineers
- Investment and Financial Analysts
- Interactive Media Developers and Computer Programmers
- University Professors
- Retail Sales Supervisors
- Graphic Designers and Illustrators
- Financial Analysts and Accountants
- Food Service Supervisors
- Cooks and Chefs
Professionals who are qualified as Software Programmers and Gaming Specialists would find many work opportunities in Canada since there is high demand for immigrants in these fields. Additionally, Information System Analysts, specialists who can assess and analyze economic trends and data, are also in high demand and may not even require a licence to work in Canada. Prospective immigrants are reminded to check federal and provincial regulatory licensing requirements (if any) for their desired profession prior to immigrating.
The health services sector also offers rich job prospects to Canadian immigrants. In a fast-paced and increasingly dual-earner society, couples or single professionals in demanding careers often have little time to devote to their aged or ailing parents, or for caring for their own children. A demand for Caregiving professionals – who take care of the elderly or young when their own families cannot – naturally arises to plug this gap. A related group of professionals in high demand is Nursing Experts, Coordinators and Consultants (or programs like “Caring for Children and Caring for Persons with High Medical Needs”). However, it should be noted that these are pilot programs ending in November, 2019. Prior to this, the Canadian government will provide relevant updates and details.
In the service sector, Chefs and Cooks will find many opportunities in Canada, while in the construction industry, Framers and Carpenters may not even need a certification or licence. The latter are especially sought after in provinces such as Ontario and Saskatchewan, among others. Again, be sure to check the requirements of the occupation and the province in which you intend to reside. Staying in the construction industry, skilled workers proficient in navigating heavy equipment and machinery at construction sites enjoy substantial demand, making Heavy Equipment Operators and Long Haul Drivers very valuable. However, these occupations require some licensing or verification of training. Management Professionals are also needed in the health, social and community service, and education sectors, among others.
Pitfalls to Avoid While Navigating the Job Market
Immigrants face certain challenges in landing jobs that are commensurate with their qualifications, which means they sometimes opt for “survival” jobs instead.
Dearth of “Canadian experience”: Local employers may prefer work experience acquired in the Canadian job market as opposed to foreign experience, meaning that newcomers should be creative when applying for employment. While living abroad, is it possible to contact potential Canadian employers to build up a rapport? Upon arriving, offer to volunteer, intern, or job shadow. Are short-term courses that update your skills necessary to overcome a lack of Canadian experience? Consider having a recruitment company distribute your resume or hire a job coach to give you some tips.
Credentials that don’t count: Canadian employers may view foreign credentials, such as university degrees and certifications, with suspicion, and may outright ignore them. Prior to immigrating, however, you can find out whether you meet Canadian standards, so be sure to get those credentials evaluated. Do you need to fulfill any licensing requirements or acquire additional training? Immigrants can often get by without additional training, but your Canadian employer or occupation may require licensing.
Language Deficiency: Lack of proficiency in the two official languages of Canada – English and French – could be a stumbling block in landing a job that matches your professional skills. Here, again, you will need to assess your language skills in advance if you’re immigrating to Canada through economic immigration and Express Entry. Even those who are relatively fluent sometimes require additional training in Canada to sharpen those English or French skills!
Striking the Right Note for Resumes
Below are some handy hints to tailor your resume to Canadian employers.
First and foremost, rather than sending a general resumé to cater to jobs of different types, it is important to customize it to suit each job. Tailor your resume to highlight the skill set and experience that a specific job demands. Apart from professional experience, make it a point to highlight volunteer or community work.
Social media networking is the norm these days, so make sure you make the most of social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and blogs; prospective employers will often cross-check your resumé with your online profiles.
Keywords grab the attention of employers who don’t have time to sift through your resumé. Try to use similar keywords to those listed in the job description.
Last but not least, format is as important as fit. Broadly speaking, immigrant resumés follow one of two formats: chronological and functional.
A chronological resumé lists your most recent job at the top of the page and older ones in a reverse chronological order. This format suits immigrants with many years of experience. A functional resumé is more skill-based, and allows immigrants with substantial gaps in employment or education to highlight skills rather than years on the job.
Canadian resumés typically omit gender, date of birth, ethnicity, and religious beliefs. Instead, they include your name, education, work history, experience, and other professional skills. An innovative, out-of-the-box resumé might catch an employer’s attention, but generally you should leave out more personal identity markers.
Portals to Tap Job Opportunities
Here’s a checklist of some leading job-related websites for immigrants in Canada:
- Government website - settlement.org
- Canada’s Top 100 Employers - http://www.canadastop100.com/
- Career Builder - http://careerbuilder.ca
- Career Jet - http://www.careerjet.ca/
- Craigslist - http://www.craigslist.ca
- Eluta - The Search Engine for New Jobs in Canada http://www.eluta.ca
- Job Bank - http://www.jobbank.gc.ca
- Monster Canada - http://www.monster.ca
- Canada Municipal Jobs - http://www.servicecanada.gc.ca
So, as the Canadian federal government gets set to welcome a larger immigrant population to propel economic growth, immigrants whose skill sets are the right fit for high-priority sectors can look forward to fast-tracking their Canadian dream.