Vancouver, a tough job market? Statistics say otherwise

Posted on 10. Oct, 2010 by in Blog, Working Abroad

Talk to any job seeker, or go to any expat forum, and the consensus will be that Toronto has plenty of work opportunities – whereas Vancouver, while lovely, can be a tough place to find a job.

That’s what I believed myself for years, because I had heard it so often, it had to be true, right?

Guess what? Much to my surprise, the statistics actually say otherwise.

The|G|™ (question everything)

The hard figures

The September 2010 unemployment rates are out, and here’s what they look like:

– Vancouver: 7.3%
– Toronto: 10.1%
– Canadian average: 8.0%

(Source: Statistics Canada)

Not what you were expecting? I know. Same here.

Disclaimers galore

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics!” *

[ * By the way, does anyone know who actually coined this phrase? I’ve seen it variously attributed to Benjamin Disraeli, Charles W. Dilke, and of course, the ever prolific Mark Twain…]

Sure, there’s more to the issue than just unemployment rates. One single figure, especially when taken out of context, cannot possibly show you the whole picture. And it’s always a good idea to take statistics with a grain of salt – particularly in a politically charged context like unemployment.

But still, figures like these sort of force you to challenge your own perception of the job market in Vancouver.

A shift in perspective

I’d be the worst coach on the planet if I didn’t ask you this simple question:

What changes for you when you tell yourself there is less unemployment in Vancouver than in most of Canada?

… doesn’t it make you more motivated to start looking for a better job today?
… doesn’t it make it easier to write that cover letter you’ve been procrastinating on?
… doesn’t it make it less scary to take a chance and approach someone for a job?

What happens when you stop focusing on scarcity (“There are no jobs out there”, “Everyone’s struggling, why would it be any different for me?”) and look for the positive instead?

After all, we’re doing better here than in the rest of the country, including Toronto. And if most everyone finds a job in Vancouver, why wouldn’t you find one too?

Take your daily vitamins

I’m not saying that it’s going to be easy and smooth sailing from here. I know full well that as a newcomer, you’re facing specific challenges in your job search. That’s precisely why I’m here to help.

But I do strongly believe that a “Hey, it’s not that bad after all!” attitude is ten thousand times more helpful than a “Why even bother?” doom-and-gloom outlook. Employers can often sense you’re insecure just by reading your application, you know – and they’d much rather hire a determined, self-confident candidate.

So make up your mind to look for positive signs (like encouraging statistics) – think of them as daily vitamins to boost your morale and strengthen your determination to land the job you want!


Was this post helpful? Do you need more personalized job search advice? Contact me to schedule a one-on-one consultation.

Image by The |G|™, via Flickr Creative Commons


  1. […] more here: Vancouver, a tough job market? Statistics say otherwise | Winning … I Love Social BookmarkingSubscribeDiggdel.icio.usStumbleUpon Bookmark It Hide […]

    Pingback by Vancouver, a tough job market? Statistics say otherwise | Winning … | Free Job Search Info — October 11, 2010 @ 6:13 am

  2. Hello, I think your blog is epic. Congrats.
    Virtual Online Games

    Comment by Virtual Online Games — October 17, 2010 @ 2:21 pm

  3. Hola,
    Todo dinбmica y muy positiva! :)

    Comment by SuperSonic — October 21, 2010 @ 6:28 am

  4. ¡Gracias! Me alegra saber que te gusta el artículo :)

    Comment by Emmanuelle Archer — October 21, 2010 @ 7:15 pm

  5. Job market in Canada was dead,is dead and I always hope it won’t be dead in the future!

    The people who understand what I mean are the ones who are well traveled,cross culturally aware and have worked and lived overseas,not only in Canada.

    The unemployment in Canada is more experienced by immigrants.

    If you have a good income in your country,you have no more than a 10% chance of becoming financially successful in Canada,after you move here.This is not based on the media lies or statistics.It’s based on my own observation.

    Good luck

    Comment by Alex — December 23, 2010 @ 3:19 am

  6. Hi Alex,

    While I obviously agree that immigrants face specific challenges, from my own experience it boils down to 2 factors : lack of a local network (which can be built quickly if you put some effort into it), and not knowing how to look for a job the Canadian way (which can be learned).

    So it’s not like immigrants are doomed to end up unemployed in Canada, but we have to be willing to try new ways to do things if we want to succeed. What got us hired back home won’t necessarily get us hired here.

    Calling the Canadian job market dead might be pushing it a bit – the unemployment rate here is quite a bit lower than in my native France, for example.

    Here’s hoping that 2011 will be a good vintage for all job seekers – good luck and all the best!


    Comment by Emmanuelle Archer — January 22, 2011 @ 8:55 am

  7. Hi,

    just to let you know that I am an immigrant, and it was not any difficult for me to find a job in the IT industry, I have been here for 18 months, planning to move to Vancouver, I just fell in love with it.

    Thanks for those advices Emmanuelle!

    Comment by Alejandro — March 17, 2011 @ 2:03 pm

  8. Hi Alejandro,

    Thanks for sharing your experience, and congratulations on easily finding a job in your field!

    It’s always nice to hear success stories :D

    Keep them coming!

    Take care,

    Comment by Emmanuelle Archer — March 17, 2011 @ 2:15 pm

  9. The reason our rate of unemployment is lower than the Canadian average is becasue it is so expensive to live here that people take ANY job they can to keep a roof over their head. What is a more accurate depiction of our job market is a survey of salaries, comparison of our minimum wage and a peek at out cost of living here on the west coast. All of which are out of scale with the rest of the country.

    I know so many highly skilled people who are currently out of work – engineers, project managers, marketing people, animators, designers, contractors it is utterly ridiculous.

    Don’t be fooled the job market is NOT strong here.

    Comment by Michelle — April 28, 2011 @ 10:08 am

  10. Hi Emmanuelle,

    Congrats on the new job opportunity.

    I am also planning to move to Canada from US and more biased towards Vancouver. You mentioned that you got job in IT industry. Can you help me figure out the IT companies and positions in Vancouver? Also, is there anyway I can contact you?

    Thanks in advance,

    Comment by Peace — May 12, 2011 @ 8:13 am

  11. Hello Emmanuelle,

    Your blog is really impressive and very encouraging. I am a Permanent Resident Visa holder and planning to land Vancouver early next year. I am an Environmental professional and have applied Professional Cert from one regulatory body in Canada.I would highly appreciate if you enlighten me regarding job opportunity for environmental professionals in Vancouver.


    Comment by Cathy — August 28, 2011 @ 3:02 am

  12. hello everyone,
    The good discussion that is going on here is interesting for all the jobseekers.

    I am strongly hurt by the mistake I made by accepting the offer to immigrate to Canada. I was given the offer by the Government of Canada in reward for my services to their mission in Afghanistan.

    Job markets here are the worst I have ever experienced my entire life. I have been managing a 7.4 million CAD fund working under Canadian Embassy in Kabul. I also have 3 years of work experience as Program Communication Officer for UNICEF managing 470 community mobilizers in 5 provinces in Afghanistan. In a nutshell I have 10 years of robust experience in non-profit industry on positions which the local Canadians would do anything to get.

    After migrating here in Jan 2011, I have tried all suggestions, got the so called Canadian style resume, marketed myself, networked in my industry. Alas nothing helped.

    Currently I am living the Canadian Dream, working nightshifts at McDonalds with fellow Canadian High Schoolers.

    To any person who has heard about the Good Life in Canada, I would recommend to stay where you are. I am doomed by moving to this country alike a thousand others whose voices have not been heard.


    Comment by Qais Nizami — February 5, 2012 @ 3:18 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment