Randstad, the behemoth of a recruitment agency, has recently published list of technology / IT salaries across Canada.
The numbers are interesting to see as there is a big difference in remuneration between cities in Quebec such as Montreal where some salaries can be atrociously 30-50% less than Toronto , Vancouver, Calgary, Waterloo and Ottawa.
For example, if you look at entry level for C# in Montreal you would get $45k vs $65k in the rest of Canada. Or entry level iOS is $50k in Montreal, and $64k in Toronto or $65.5k in Calgary.
If you are a bilingual tech support – you might want to consider Vancouver where Level 3 tech support can get $65.9k vs $52.6k in Montreal for example.
Or if you are a database admin, you might want to consider Calgary where they pay $122k vs $90k in Montreal.
But what happens if you love Montreal, joie de vivre and all the baguettes you can eat BUT do not want to get undercut on a salary? Then you need to be an UI UX developer where folks get a whooping $121k in Montreal vs $98k in Waterloo or $100k in Toronto OR AI (artificial intelligence) developer – Montreal gets $131k vs $120k in Ottawa, Toronto and Waterloo.
Please note that when report talks about entry level that means 1 to 3 years’ experience (or just out of school); mid-level is 4 to 7 years of experience; and senior level is 8+ years.
Without further ado see the cities and 2018 tech salaries in Canada associated with them as provided by Randstad.
Brain Drain – here we are again. Just like in the 1990s – early 2000s, when living was easy south of the border in California with its nice weather year around, the exchange rate US Canadian dollar is extra 35% top up, salaries are double what you make home (in Toronto at least, more than that when compared to Montreal / Vancouver), and taxes are lower (by about 3% lower in California vs Ontario on $100k USD).
So it’s not difficult to see why the new study published, led by Zachary Spicer, a senior associate with the Munk School of Global Affairs’ Innovation Policy Lab at University of Toronto, revealed that an alarming rate of young graduates head south of the border for work as soon as they finish their degrees here in Canada.
The study found that at least 25% of recent science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) graduates from three of the country’s top universities – University of Waterloo, University of British Columbia and U of T were working outside of Canada within few years of finishing school. The study surveyed 3,162 graduates from 2015 and 2016 in 22 STEM programs at the three universities based on their LinkedIn profiles and select follow-up interviews.
The numbers are much higher as seen from the graph below when it comes to Software Engineers. It shows that 66% of new grads in that field end up in the US. That’s 2 out of 3 recent grads.
This study was surprising due to the fact that for the last few years many media outlets paint Canada as rising tech star and place where people want to live and work.
That’s a big concern for the Canadian government that is in the business of heavily subsidizing university education. Computer Science degree at University of Toronto for example for Canadian students will only costs you around $5k USD vs around $50k USD a year for Ivy League schools in the US.
Some LinkedIn were calling on the Canadian government to “react to this brain drain problem fast and effectively.”
Sheldon Levy, former education minister told Globe and Mail
If two-thirds of our very best people [are leaving] because they don’t see the equivalent opportunity of developing a world-beating career in Canada … then yes, we have a problem.
The founders of the study call on the Canadian government to create “national talent retention strategy” and help pay back the loans, asking Canadian companies to pay more to compete with the US and hire more students faster.
But as summarized by the study’s own author Adam Froman
I’m not expecting we’ll turn this around [completely]. If you’re a 24-year-old kid, it’s kind of exciting to get paid $100,000 to go down to the Valley.
Update: While High speed train is being studied by both provincial and state governments, a private company, Harbour Air Seaplanes, has launched a seaplane that gets you in Seattle in around 1 hour from Vancouver.
The tickets are around $400 but if speed is what you are after – this will be the best option for you right now. Please note Nexus, Enhanced Drivers Licenses and passport cards are not accepted at this border crossing. Passport is Required.
British Columbia Premier John Horgan spoke approvingly of the possible high speed train after it was announced that BC provincial government will spend additional $300k to study the plan while Washington state approved funding of up to US$1.2 million toward the new in-depth study.
John Horgan, BC premier said:
“It’s our view that this is an opportunity that we shouldn’t let pass by. It’s a physical link between our two jurisdictions and one that will get cars off of the road and will move people and goods in a fast and effective way.”
“The convenience of a one-hour trip between Vancouver and Seattle would create countless opportunities for people in both B.C. and Washington, from sports or concert getaways for families, to untold economic growth potential for businesses. Exploring the possibility of creating a clean, efficient high-speed corridor is particularly important as the Pacific Northwest grows in economic importance, and we look to reduce barriers to expansion across our borders.”
This train corridor service would cut travel times between Vancouver and Seattle to about 60 minutes, from three to five hours.
If train link is successful it can help create up to 200,000 jobs for B.C. and U.S. workers, and generate billions of dollars in economic benefits.