Sharing Reader Responses – Should Canadians be More Willing to Relocate for Jobs?

April 13, 2017


One of our favourite things on the Argentus blog is to get discussion going in our network. Whether it’s about Procurement or Supply Chain talent issues, or career development topics, or how to develop a workplace culture, we love to hear feedback from our readers from all across the country and industry.

Here’s a great example: We recently posted about the issue of job relocation and whether – as we suspect – Canadians are less willing to relocate for job opportunities than their American counterparts. It seems like Americans are more willing, historically, to change cities every 3-5 years to boost their careers. But for whatever reason, Canadians – despite the high rate of immigration into the country – tend to be more likely to pick a city and stick with it. Beyond that, it can be hard to excite Canadian candidates for relocation to cities outside the major hubs of Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Calgary, even if a stint in Windsor or Fredericton could offer career-defining job opportunities.

It’s just something we’ve noticed.

We wondered about whether this lack of internal movement impacts the economy, citing some American reports about how decreased mobility and relocation in that country have an effect on the economy’s dynamism, productivity and wages.

Today, we wanted to share some of the great responses we got from our network about this topic, offering quite a few different perspectives:

An Omnichannel Expert says:

“Doesn’t the view ‘you have to move for a job’ sound like a throwback to times before reliable high speed internet, conference calling, online collaboration and an efficient travel organizer?

Doesn’t this find itself a little under the heading of presenteeism and those who may sponsor an argument which advocates ‘unless you are chained to your desk you cannot possibly be working’? With modern technology, is it really so important to abandon your life in one city to move somewhere 1500-2000 miles away?

I recall being approached for a role, several years back, in Vancouver (before I realized I would have to live in someone’s garden shed). The wages were lower than Toronto expectations AND I would have to have one less income. It wasn’t a promising situation at all…and they didn’t offer relocation! The last point might be an indication of why Canadians tend to not be too happy to uproot and go. Besides, I suspect culturally they may have more affinity with their current settings than south of the border.

Rather than demanding talent moves to the role when there are local options, a more flexible situation must emerge to attract talented professionals? Just my thoughts.”

A Supply Chain and Operations Professional in the Oil & Gas Industry says:

Well written and based on my personal experience very true. Even with a recent and prolonged downturn in the Oil & Gas industry, many think long and hard if a relocation would be beneficial to their lives and careers. However, on the flip side, many do encounter a degree of discrimination due to years spent in the Oil & Gas industry. Many will not hire them due to past ties even though they would readily relocate for a job and are more than qualified or even overqualified for the opportunity. Just my two cents worth.”

A Project Buyer in the Electrical Manufacturing industry says:

“I think due to the diversity in Canada, we have pockets of cultural concentrations. To leave these pockets is sometimes a difficult family decision. People with different cultural backgrounds want to keep in touch with their culture. It’s difficult for them to uproot and move so easily.”

A Global Logistics Manager says:

“I think US Companies are more willing to move around top performers to gain experience in different regions / areas of the business. Of course, the US economy also supports larger organizations with more opportunities to do so, and the population is such that there are more cities where people are willing to relocate to. The Canadian economy and population can’t compete, but more importantly a lot of Canadian organizations don’t invest in relocation as a means of career development.”

A Food Safety & Quality Assurance specialist says:

“This is quite a simplification of understanding Canadians and the values they are rooted in. Companies also do not compensate and support the partner in finding other employment opportunities like they do in the U.S. The key is gaining the insights into the Canadian worker to make a change in the trend. Without understanding that, the trend will continue and may even worsen as many younger Canadians are focusing more on a work to live mindset.”

Thanks very much to our readers for the great responses, and as always we’d love to hear more on this topic! Let us know what you have to say in the comments. 



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