National Post (Latest Edition)
The Prairie opportunity
Looking to the prairies for career growth and exceptional work/life balance
Learn what great opportunities the prairie provinces have for career growth and a great work/life balance.
Question: What reasons are there to move to the Prairie Provinces?
Answer: Misconceptions are abound about life in the Prairie Provinces. Contrary to popular opinion Manitoba and Saskatchewan offer much more than just employment.
Discover Canada’s next booming cities
Young professionals, budding families, newcomers or seniors considering a move in Canada, for personal or professional growth, look to Montreal, Toronto, or Vancouver, but more opportunities for development reside in the booming cities of Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
“The job market is definitely growing,” says Jay Hayford, a Canadian immigrant from Ghana who originally migrated to Toronto before moving to Saskatoon almost two years ago. After finding only factory and warehouse jobs and wanting to continue working as a pharmacy assistant, Hayford decided to research another market. “I started searching online and I found out that the economy in Saskatchewan is good which means there will be job opportunities.”
The Booming Job Market
“What’s nice about Manitoba is there is never a huge boom and there is never a huge bust,” says Wade Miller, CEO of Pinnacle, a staffing and recruiting agency for Winnipeg and Manitoba.
Even with the effects of the recession that were felt around the world, Manitoba’s economy maintained a steady trend of having plenty of job opportunities. “We ended up relocating some very, very talented individuals from Ontario and out east to Manitoba,” adds Miller.
Miller also refers to the sectors where the most jobs are including: accounting, finance, engineering, technical and skilled trades but he says within the last two months, the job market has become extremely tight and competitive as employers struggle to find qualified candidates to fill the roles. “Even with the immigration policies and people moving to the Province, it’s still extremely tough for employers to find good talented, skilled workers,” adds Miller.
For those who are skilled and talented, Miller advises job hunters to find a way to stand out from everyone else so they can choose from the many great Manitoba companies that they want to work for. “Have that research before you go for an interview, and ask the right questions, not the standard questions that are on the Internet, but show that you have done your homework,” adds Miller.
One tip that Hayford offers to all newcomers who need to develop their skills and talents, is to get educated and acquire a certificate, degree or diploma if they want to compete in the job market.
Finding resources and getting connected
Hayford’s pharmacy license from Ghana was not recognized in Canada, but it wasn’t long before he registered for his Canadian certificate in pharmacy assistance and graduated. “I finished the course and I was offered a job at a pharmacy in July 2012 and have been working there since.”
“A person comes here, gets a job, goes through the licensing process and then is finally able to work in their profession.” says Ayesha Baig, coordinator at the Newcomer Information Center (NIC) in Saskatoon. A resource and information center for newcomers to the Saskatoon area.
“In terms of something like a Beautician and a Electrician, you come here expecting to work immediately, and lo and behold they discover they may have to do a survival type of job while they go back to school,” says Baig. Even Hayford admits to taking
“The Province is large enough for there to be a wide range of exciting career opportunities, but it still offers a tight knit community where you can collaborate with people from various sectors.”
on lawn mowing and cleaning jobs to earn money to pay rent and bills at first, but getting connected to the right resources is what helped him to see his success.
If part-time work is not enough, micro loans and student loans are also available to help newcomers through the process and organizations like the NIC exist to offer support and assistance through education services, community, employment, housing and health services and English lan- guage training.
Baig’s advice to newcomers is to get in touch with an organization like the NIC. Some of the most recommended sites are www.saskimmigrationcanada.ca, www.workingcanada.gc.ca, and www.gov.sk.ca/move-to-saksatechwan
A real sense of community and work/life balance
MaryAnn Kemp, VP of Community and Corporate Relations with Manitoba Public Insurance also moved over to Manitoba from Thunder Bay, Ontario 20 years ago with her husband and young family.
In terms of working and living in Prairie cities, Kemp says, “the province is large enough for there to be a wide range of exciting career opportunities, but it still offers a tight knit community where you can collaborate with people from various sectors.”
Overall, anyone considering a move to the Prairies can expect a wealth of opportunities and resources, an open and welcoming community and a healthy work/life balance with a range of activities for every season. “Manitoba provides opportunity to enjoy winter and summer activities, all within a short commute,” adds Kemp. “From downhill skiing extensive trails, to sledding in the winter, to beautiful cottage life and pristine beaches in the summer.”