I arrived here a couple of weeks ago and I think that Canada is working out a bit different than I had expected. I think coming from recession hit Ireland , Canada had been marketed as the mecha of jobs and prosperity.
From my first month here on the U35 programme I can only say this is not the case.
I come from an IT background with over 8 -9 years of software engineering in Java, Python and some project lead / sys analysis thrown into the mix. In Ireland I was fairly lucky in that there still appears to be quite a few job opportunities.
Over this side of the pond its a bit more complicated.
I started in Toronto and then move to vancouver. There definitely appears to be more job opportunities in Toronto than vancouver right now.
Talking to local canadians, I was told that in vancouver they have seen some of the highest rates of unemployment in years and that the economy here is hurting post olympics... in many ways just as bad as Ireland. They are seeing double digits unemployment now.
A lot of people moved to vancouver to work and be involved with the winter olympics. Quite a few of these people decided to stay after the olympics had finished to get work. Simply put there is an oversupply and not enough demand even in traditional service sector jobs (starbucks , mobile phone stores etc..).
Last week I attended a jobs fair in North Vancouver. 8 companies were present in a tiny building. You are brought in in groups of 10. Companies here do not accept c.v's but instead refer you to their websites... so if you arrive in canada and are tempted by the jobs fairs... don;t bother joining the 3 -4 thousand (literally) people waiting to get in (of all ages from high school to your grandparents age). Find out which companies are showing and visit their websites and avoid the frustration of a 3 hour wait around two blocks only for companies not to accept c.v's when you get in the door. I have met architects, engineers, construction workers, solicitors , IT, pretty much lots of Irish people here from different professions who I would imagine would back up what I am saying.
Today there is another jobs fair on granville street (kind of the center of downtown vancouver). Again there is a queue from 1pm stretching around 2 blocks with people waiting to get into the WYCA center.
I hope I am not scaring people or putting people off. I just felt that since I had gone over with the delusion that I could travel, enjoy myself and make some money on the side I would share my experiences.
Canada (in particular vancouver) is extremely expensive. Living costs are very very expensive. Go to the safeway on robson street and compare the price of a bagel with what you would pay in tesco's back home and you will see what I mean. The same goes with basic cloths.
So if you are coming over, make sure you have a LOT of money to keep yourself going while waiting/looking for work. If you dont have a lot of money saved , i would advise putting off your flights until you can afford to fly over and can afford to keep yourself going for a good bit while you wait for work. Things are only going to get tougher. Colleges are finishing up here in a few weeks with new graduates competing for jobs, J1 equivalents are heading over soon....
All the best,