Facts and myths about the Canadian job market

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Subject: Facts and myths about the Canadian job market
  I have been following the forum for sometime now and I have particular interest in the threads that are related to job hunting in Canada. I have just received my visa and plan to land in Ontario next week. Please allow me to share my experience with you, I am a mechanical engineer from the Middle East with 7 years experience in the Middle East and 7 years experience in USA. I also hold Ph.D. of mechanical engineering from USA. My IELTS score is 8 out of 9. I have been applying for more than 70 positions in both the industry and the academia for the past two month as a probe to measure the Canadian job market response (I have been using a correspondence address of my cousin in Toronto). Well how many responses you think I have received? A big fat zero. I could not even get an interview for a part time temporary instructor position at a community college.
So I started looking to this and other forums as well as articles related to job market in Canada and this is what I came up with:

1-Canadian employers look with a skeptical eye to anybody who is not Canadian born and I believe that the biggest problem is language proficiency (Also work experience from third world countries does not help). That is in large part due to the Canadian immigration system that lets people into Canada with minimal language abilities. The idea to include language proficiency as part of the overall evaluation of the immigrant qualifications is totally ridiculous. Language proficiency should be evaluated independently and any body with IELTS score less than let us say 6 should not be allowed to proceed with the application procedures even if his overall score is higher than the pass mark (Especially for the skilled worker class).

2-The Canadian government initiative to help recognize immigrants educational qualifications will do little help to solve the unemployment problem (especially for foreign trained engineers) since immigrants are already considered by employers as low grade workers. (If I can not find a job as engineer, do you think I will be able to find a job as a professional engineer even if I am registered as a professional engineer?)

3-The idea that a new immigrant main problem is the lack of job hunting skills is again totally ridiculous (although a lot of applicants do lack these abilities) What I mean is that the myth that a polished neat CV will land you the job you want is just a scam playing into the hands of recruitment consultants to make some money. (However it might be a helping factor if you are a Canadian born). Let us face it Canada has an overall unemployment problem of 6.8 (according to the latest surveys). With such rates Canadian born will always be preferred by employers (why take a risk with an immigrant if you can avoid dealing with it?)

4-I sincerely mean no offense but the way those job postings on the internet are showing that Canadian employers have little intelligence. Let me give you 3 examples:

a.There are 1001 job postings for piping engineers, the last time I checked there is no engineering school in the western hemisphere that offers the degree of piping engineer, you can get a degree as a mechanical engineer that prepares you to handle (and excel with experience) with piping projects.

b.One job posting required a mechanical engineer with Fort McMuarry experience, guess what according to that ad you do not only need to have previous experience for the job but you also must have acquired that experience in Fort McMuarry!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

c.Another job posting was asking for someone with a diploma (2 years community college) with experience in Solid Modeling, Finite Element Analysis, Optimization, Automatic Control and Programming. Those job requirements exceed and surpass by far the knowledge of many engineers not to mention technicians. Good luck Canadian employers in your hunt for the Super technician.

5-The notion that you do not get the job because you are new to the country can be proven false just by mentioning foreign trained professionals who have been living in Canada for more than 5 years and still driving taxis or working any other low paying job. Let us face it, how long does it take for someone to get to know the system good enough to start getting good jobs?

6-80% of the vacant positions are not advertised instead they are filled by referrals; of course new immigrants with no networking do not have a fair chance in competing for such positions.
Please note that difficulty of finding jobs will vary depending on profession (Doctors, nurses, physical therapist? etc. just forget it and consider a career change). The only success stories I heard were from the IT sector (for some reasons international experience is being somewhat accepted for this specific profession).
So why any one would leave his home country and come to Canada after all? I can speak for myself, for me I left my country because it is plagued with corruption and have no future for anybody not to mention engineers. I lived in the US since 1998 and was planning to settle permanently there, but after 9/11 things become more and difficult especially for people from the Middle East so I decided to leave for Canada.
After this very long pessimistic view of the immigration process, let me add a couple of optimistic points:

1-Since 1999 the unemployment rate has been dropping almost steadily at an average of 0.35% per year, which means that if that trend persists, by the year 2015 the overall unemployment rate will fall below 3% (Which coincides with everybody?s anticipation of workers shortage beyond 2010 due to the retirement of the baby boomers). A job market with less than 3% employment rate is by definition a job market that is suffering from workers shortage. At that time immigrants will have a true chance of finding jobs (Employers will have to choose between either scraping the bottom of the barrel or shutdown).

2-For people with children, Canada is a very nice place higher than average educational facilities; it is a very nice place to raise your children. So what you are missing for yourself now (a good career and a good life), can be secured for your children in the future.
I have no bitter feelings towards the Canadian immigration system, Canada will be facing a worker shortage in the coming future and the only solution is to open its doors for immigrants right now. I am grateful that Canada accepted me as a permanent resident and will be proud to say I am Canadian when I obtain citizenship. My only concern is to find any job that will allow me to support a decent life for my small family. I know that a lot people are angry with the Canadian immigration system and claim that they have been fooled by CIC to think that Canada is the land of milk and honey, for those people I say, If you believe everything you are told (by the media, by the government, etc?) and you do not do your homework and search for the truth (especially for something as important as making a decision to immigrate to a new country), then you had it coming and the first person to blame is yourself.

[15-06-2005,18:59]
[**.17.183.209]
New immigrant
(in reply to: Facts and myths about the Canadian job market)
I agree with you 100% and also admire your love for your new country inspite of facing hardships..

I pray to God for your success !

[15-06-2005,19:19]
[***.214.42.162]
A
(in reply to: Facts and myths about the Canadian job market)
You are correct in what you are saying, but that is life.

Yes, about 80% of jobs are got by "who you know" that is why you should network heavily once you get to Canada. If I were hiring, I would prefer a refferal over someone who emails me their resume from 1000s of km away.

I graduated with my Bachelors of Engineering in Canada, I am Canadian born, and it took me well over 200 resumes to get 3 interviews, and one job. That is life. Canada has many many highly rated Universities throughout the country, and unlike most countries, almsot every Canadian has the finacial ability to attend (student loans, low poverty rate). Therefore, there are literaly thousands upon thousands of new engineers every year.

When companys post job listings, they set the requirments very high, in hopes of getting that perfect candidate. For instance, the company that wants For MacMurray experience, will likely get someone with Ft Mac experience, because this is what they posted. I have worked in Northern Alberta, and the situation there is very demanding, and many people leave due to this. I worked 84 hours a week, outdoors, at temperature down to -40C. I am more likely to land a similar job, since I have shown I can handle it.

It is very unlikely you will land a job before you arrive. You must come here and use every avenue possible to network and post resumes.

If you meet another engineer... talk to them, ask them if they know if anyone is hiring. They will likely pass on your name to someone... you have just entered the 80% bracket of people who get hired through referals.

Knock on doors, and send your resume to people who do not advertise. Call back, call back, and call back some more. It works.

The job market is tough even for highly educated Canadians who are native speakers of either French or English. You just have to be tougher than the market, and you will get a job. In a couple years, with Canadian experience, you will be able to demand better jobs... things will get better.

Dave


[15-06-2005,20:09]
[***.116.147.37]
dave
(in reply to: Facts and myths about the Canadian job market)
Bravo to all of you. I think this thread is one of the most balanced perspectives on finding work in Canada that I have seen in a long time.


[15-06-2005,21:29]
[***.181.198.246]
sharon
(in reply to: Facts and myths about the Canadian job market)
you know what the labor market is really though out there and it can take you years to work in the field you love, i believe having Canadian working experience and education helps but still is very hard, even for Canadian born people the market is though is ridiculous, there are millions of examples like the piping engineer in other fields, I just wish everybody good luck and keep on trying hard to get that dream job eventually it will come
[15-06-2005,22:33]
[**.69.255.236]
Anonymous
(in reply to: Facts and myths about the Canadian job market)
"c.Another job posting was asking for someone with a diploma (2 years community college) with experience in Solid Modeling, Finite Element Analysis, Optimization, Automatic Control and Programming. Those job requirements exceed and surpass by far the knowledge of many engineers not to mention technicians. Good luck Canadian employers in your hunt for the Super technician"

Just a note on this. Canada has the best community college system in the world. Many technicians whith community college diplomas have skills that surpass (hands on) many degreed engineers.

In manufacturing hot-beds, like southern Ontario, I have met many technician who´s theoretical and practical knowledge far exceeded mine and I had a better education then them. The skills mentioned in the job post can be gained by a technician who has worked a couple years with just one compnay. These people do exist, I have met them, and they are in high demand. The people who hire this type of person, do not want a BA, or PHD in engineering. They want someone who has experience in the fields they mention, and they require that the person have at least 2 years of formal education at one of many excellent Canadian Community Colleges.

There are "super technicians" and you will have to compete with them, along with everyone else, to get the job you want. That´s just the way it goes.

Dave


[15-06-2005,22:35]
[***.116.147.37]
dave
a new immigrant's post (in reply to: Facts and myths about the Canadian job market)
hi new immigrant,
thanks for a lively post. The things is, instead of whining learn to accept the truth as it is ad see what you can do in this situation.There are somne basic facts which you have to keep in mind.
1. Ph.D from USA doesnt mean a squat in canada as its a different country from US.There are lot of these state univs in US where people get in with poor academic records and making high GRE scores.So thatdoesnt mean they have graduated form good schools.
2. If you are good enough you would have found a job in USA and possibly green card over time irrespective of all the problem the middle east guys are having.
3. It is a common sense that one must know that as you are more qualified and more experienced the senior positions are harder to find, because there are hardly few. This i know becos i myself is a ph.d student from a very reputed school from canada.
4. And by the way the primary goal for most of the people is to immigrate somehow. They are optimistic they will find job over time. You have mentioned that people has to make proper groundwork before applying for immigration and you contradicted that and applied for immigration, without checking thoroughly whether you will get a job for your qualification and experience. Now that you are finding hard to get a position you are whining big time. Face it dude. You are desperate to land as immigrant in canada and were not really specific about what you want to do. Otherwise you would have not applied for immigration if you know beforehand that it will be hard to find positions in your area.
Coming to your problem, a simple solution would be to do a post-doc for 1-2 years somewhere under a reputed bossin your area in canada. You might earn only 40,000 $/year . With that i can bet you can have a decent family life and eventually through your boss´s contact can move to some industry. In this way you get canadian experince also. Hope this helps.
I hate people who bitch about the country which gave them oppurtunity to have a decent to good life through immigration. There are problems everywhere and one has to learn to tackle , rather than bitching day in and day out.Anyway thats just my 2 cents.

[16-06-2005,11:18]
[***.100.70.212]
Boss
(in reply to: Facts and myths about the Canadian job market)
Hi "New Immigrant",
Thanks for enlightening "all" of us about what "actually" happens out there in Canada. Its definetely a better perspective than hearing stuff like "if you have it, you will succeed" kinda statements. I know we have talked a lot in this forum about the uselessness of a foreign education and work experience, thanks for giving "first hand" proof of the same. This does prepares the future immigrants mentally about what to expect. The key is that you have mentioned about coming to terms and sacrificing your future to help your next generation to a better one. I feel immigrants to most other countries have to consider that as a possibility, and live with it. There was also a lot of optimism in your post which is highly encouraging. And yes, some of the job postings that you mentioned were hilarious, they deserve to be shown on the Tonight show....
Anyways, wish you good luck.

[16-06-2005,12:46]
[***.242.242.2]
Raj
(in reply to: Facts and myths about the Canadian job market)
To Boss,

Thank you for an enlighting reply, however I have a few comments:

1- I am not whining, I am just trying to share my experience with other forum members as well as some observations that might help others.
2- ?Ph.D from USA doesnt mean a squat in canada as its a different country from US?
Last time I checked, engineering was a universal science, thank you for the information that Canada has its own version of engineering.
3- ?There are lot of these state univs in US where people get in with poor academic records and making high GRE scores.So that doesnt mean they have graduated form good schools.?
Thank you for the hindsight that I have a degree from a low level educational institute. This is exactly what I was referring to in my previous post regarding the ready made clich? that most probably immigrants have lower level education and experience than Canadian born.
4- ?If you are good enough you would have found a job in USA and possibly green card over time irrespective of all the problem the middle east guys are having.?.
You are assuming that I did find a job !!!!!!!! Sorry to burst your bubble, but I chose to turn down US employment and probably a US green card because of the anti-international sentiments currently in the US. If you feel that such situation is not compelling enough to leave the US, I advise investing a little bit more time reading everyday newspapers.
5- ?I hate people who bitch about the country which gave them oppurtunity to have a decent to good life through immigration. There are problems everywhere and one has to learn to tackle , rather than bitching day in and day out.?
I suggest you find some kind of cure for your ?hate? problem. Hate is not a good sentiment and is rarely justified. I agree that every place has its own set of problems, however just contending that it is OK to have problems is really pathetic. This attitude is exactly the reason why problems in Canada take longer time to be solved.
6- ?You are desperate to land as immigrant in canada?
I am sorry to say this is correct for me as well as many other immigrants. International economical and political situation forces a lot of people to choose the lesser of two evils. If that was not the case Canada would have had real hard time fulfilling its yearly quota of immigrants.

[16-06-2005,12:52]
[**.17.183.209]
New immigrant
(in reply to: Facts and myths about the Canadian job market)
New Immigrant says:
For people with children, Canada is a very nice place higher than average educational facilities; it is a very nice place to raise your children. So what you are missing for yourself now (a good career and a good life), can be secured for your children in the future.

I salute you for this, you are sacrificing yourself for your
children sake. I really salute you...
What you need now is miracle in pray.

To: Dave

Could you be one of my network?

Keep moving, guys....I believe in God, I believe in miracle...I believe in Jesus Christ, Son of God.

[17-06-2005,07:46]
[***.121.130.33]
DJ
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