The Canadian Job Market: How to discover your industry (even if you live abroad)
So you're about to enter a new workforce for the first time, but not quite sure how your industry is practiced.
Maybe you have years, even decades of experience back in your home country, but you know that somehow, Canada does it differently.
Or perhaps since you're getting a fresh new start, it's an opportunity to make a career change. That one industry you've been longing to get into, but never did because life got in the way.
But you have doubts. Scary ones! After all, you have a family to support.
Is your education adequate? Are there gaps in your qualifications? Does your experience meet the market's standards? And what about that dreaded "Canadian Experience" thing you keep hearing of?
Are you having nightmares of doctors driving taxis?
If you're reading this post, let me applaud you for taking the initiative to taking the first step to preparing for your job search in Canada. It's never too early and it's never too late.
Lucky for you, there are ways to scan the job market in your field ahead of time.
No one person will be able to identify the job market for every industry out there. So you'd want to find the right person to speak to, from Canada, who knows the market inside out.
Imagine if you had all the answers before taking that giant leap.
Before I moved to Canada, Google, LinkedIn, and Indeed were my research assistants for a solid year.
I used them to discover the IT job market, what skills were needed the most, who the right people in the industry were, and most importantly, what Canadian work culture is like.
Let's talk numbers (or not)
While those stats will give you some hope about the market and shuts up any of the uninformed cynics, you would like to dig a little deeper. After all, you don't want to be a part of that 6%.
Here are a couple of resources that you can tailor to your needs to get the information about your specific field.
It's a promising job market, yes Indeed
Indeed is the #1 job aggregator in our opinion. In case your wondering why the term "aggregator" makes it unique, it consolidates job postings from various websites into one place.
From here, you can type in your target industry:
- Human Resources
- Information Technology
And keep your eyes on the number of results returned. From here, you will get a sense of how popular your industry is.
Read this data with a grain of salt. What you're seeing are the jobs that are advertised only. That's the smaller slice of the cake.
The vast majority of jobs are hidden, and this is where networking comes in, which we'll get to in a minute.
Location, Location, Location
I get it.
It's a new country, so many unknowns to manage. You want to seek the comfort of a close friend or family member for support if you need it.
Or perhaps you've grown attached to the city you completed your college or university degree in.
Maybe you don't have close ties, so you want to move into a city where a majority your community resides.
I'm guilty of this too. The only reason I moved to Brampton was because I had a cousin close by.
While this might be appealing to your sense of security, it could be damaging your job search.
Go back to Indeed, and start to get specific.
Now start to type in the specific job title you are interested in:
- Human Resource Manager
- Accounts Receivable
- IT Business Analyst
- Chemical Engineer
- Civil Engineer
Have a look at the most common city in Canada from the results.
Did you already have a target city in mind? Then add that to the search as well.
Did the results look promising? If yes, congratulations! If not, you've got some thinking to do.
Statistics Canada, THE website for Canadian statistics, also has some useful information here. Get ready to see your industry in a new light all over Canada.
For example, if you're in the oil and gas sector and you're looking for work in the eastern provinces, you're asking for trouble. Alberta is clearly the province you should set your sights on.
Get to know who's who
Wouldn't it be great if you could just sit down with a cup of coffee with the most knowledgeable people in your industry?
What if told there is a way?
Follow these three simple steps to start the process:
1. Google your industry + "association Canada". (For eg. if you are a civil engineer, Google "Civil Engineering Association Canada"
2. There is a promising chance it will return results of a professional organization dedicated to that field. Go to their website
3. Scan the website and look for people who are on the board of this organization. Or even search LinkedIn for this association and see what comes up. These are the people who will know everything there is to know about your field
The best part?
You can connect with these people anywhere, anytime, any place. Utilize the power of LinkedIn to find them and connect with them.
Of course, there is a specific code of conduct when reaching out to people on LinkedIn. That cup of coffee is not going to happen overnight.
You don't just cold blast them with a message screaming "Help Me! I need you!" and expect them to reciprocate.
Learn and practice the art of networking effectively, and you can use these folks to discover the real truths of the job market in your specific industry.
You can never have too many mentors
If you're already in Canada or are an approved permanent resident living abroad and planning for your job search, you can utilize online resources to hook up with willing mentors in Canada.
These kind souls are paying it forward and ready to dish out golden information about your job market.
They are just waiting for you to ask.
Check out these resources for mentoring, and much more you can Google:
The market is ready for you
If your job search strategy is to start mail blasting your resume to online job boards hoping for a response, you are not alone.
Everyone expects "technology to the rescue."
Unfortunately, this method doesn't work in Canada.
But now you know what does work. Human connection.
Until the day comes when artificial intelligence takes over the human race, speaking to somebody will still be the most effective way to get results.
Everyone else will scratch their heads wondering about the job market, getting second-hand information from know-it-alls.
And when things don't work out you'll find them trying to bring everybody else down with them, by bitching about the job market and the economy.
But you will know better. You will get right down to the juicy market details from the right sources.
You'll understand how to workaround the Canadian experience dilemma better than anyone else.
The sooner you begin, the less you'll need to dip into your hard earned savings.
If this is your first job in Canada you can get ahead of your whining competition by conducting this strategic market research.
You may find that you will need to start from scratch, but the knowledge and experience you gained from your home country, not to mention the value added info from your research, will take you up the corporate ladder in no time.