The Job Market is Colour Blind.

color blind

We received an email recently from someone who wants to move to Canada. I say we because he sent the email to both Michael and I.

This person had a concern, he had heard that skilled people who migrate to our country have trouble finding work and often end up driving cabs. Was that the case he wanted to know? In particular he seemed worried that a form of institutional racism was keeping skilled immigrants from finding work when they move to Canada.

He was basing this on some articles he had read.

It's too bad he didnt' read this article from Canadian Business. It would have presented him with a much different view. Consider some of the following quotes:

"On average, Canadian women are having only 1.5 children each, far below the 2.1 necessary for a population to sustain itself. The numbers mean the labour supply will slowly shrink as the nation ages. By 2011, Ottawa estimates that all new growth in the labour market will have to come from immigrants. In other words, the future of the Canadian marketplace will soon depend for its very survival on a steady supply of foreign-born workers."

"Stephen Plummer is president and chief operating officer of IMP Group International Inc. The company, owner of CanJet Airlines as well as Execaire corporate jet services, is one of the largest private employers in Nova Scotia and has an insatiable appetite for skilled workers in the aerospace field. "One of the things I worry about all the time is Canada's declining workforce," says Plummer. "I don't see things reversing themselves. Immigration has got to be part of the solution.

Plummer's company has hired an entire class of aerospace graduates from one Canadian college, but it's still not enough. To fill critical skill needs, such as engineering, tool design, avionics technology and computer applications, Plummer has also recruited in the United Kingdom, eastern Europe and China."

"Friesens Corp., a commercial printer based in Altona, Man., around 100 kilometres south of Winnipeg, has a standing offer of employment for trained press operators and is finding it increasingly necessary to bring new staff in from overseas, from such places as Germany and Uruguay."

"The situation is even more acute in the trucking industry. "The marketplace is incapable of supplying us with drivers," grumbles Norman Schultz, director of recruitment and retention at TransX, a major trucking firm based in Winnipeg. "We are looking in Romania, China, England, Italy and elsewhere for drivers. We want to grow as a company, but our customer demand exceeds the number of drivers we have." Schultz has found the most effective method of importing labour is to bring foreign workers in on temporary work permits and then use the provincial nominee program to convert them to permanent residents."

Ok one thing I should clarify for those of you who haven't figured it out yet. None of these companies is located in Toronto. And that was the crux of the article. Most immigrants want to move to Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver for a variety of reasons. However this isn't always where the jobs are.

So you should consider which is more important living in Nova Scotia with a job or living in Toronto with none. Incidentally Nova Scotia is a much cheaper place to live than Toronto (and more beautiful).

The second thing that should be obvious from the quotes above is that there is no discrimination against foreign workers. The job market is dependent on the available talent pool and if the pool is depleted the willingness to look elsewhere becomes magnified.

I remember in the late 80s when the demand for programmers was so acute that recruiting firms were actually traveling to Hong Kong to recruit IT professionals. They wanted to get them before they landed in Canada because they would be snapped up so quickly.

If you have a skill that is in demand you will have no problem finding work. If your there is a surplus of talent in your area of expertise you will have trouble. My advice to anyone who wants to move to any country is to evaluate your skill set and find out if it is in demand. If not you might want to select a country where your skills are needed.

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