Is it hard to find a job in Calgary?

Calgary is the best city to live in Canada and one of the best in the world. With a high standard of living and several other attributes that make it a livable city, you might be considering moving here too. So, is it hard to find a job in Calgary?

Calgary has the highest unemployment rate among Canadian cities and has over 70% labor participation. So, the job market is challenging to get into. But being an expert in sectors such as aerospace, technology, financial services, Agric business, life science, and energy could improve your chances.

Regardless of how difficult getting a job here might be, Calgary is still worth it. It has the highest per capita income and is still fairly affordable. Here, we discuss whether getting a job in Calgary is hard and major sectors in the city. 

Job Market in Calgary

Calgary was the best city in Canada to find a job in 2018, according to a report by Movinga 2018. This means that only Munich and Boston have better prospects than it. The report based the rankings on several factors, including the career opportunities for expatriates, youth, and women, the standard of living, and economic strength.

However, the unemployment rate in that city is one of the highest. Alberta had an unemployment rate of 5.9% at the end of April 2022. This means it has the highest unemployment rate among metropolitan areas in the country. But in Calgary, the unemployment rate is 7.2%. The city has labor participation of over 70%, which means many people are looking for work in the city. The high unemployment rate in the city is partly due to the decline in its oil and gas industry over time.

Although the unemployment rate doesn’t necessarily mean finding a job in a particular place is hard. In the case of Calgary, it is. The unemployment rate and high labor participation combine to prove that. In 2016, the city had a labor participation rate of 73.1%. However, it’s still possible to get in Calgary despite the clear competition in the job market. One has to know where and how to apply.

Key Industries in Calgary

If you want to move to Calgary, you should know the sectors that form the backbone of its economy. Being an expert in any of those fields makes it easier for you to get a job in Calgary.

1.  Aerospace

Calgary is a Canadian aviation hub. One of the most important airports in Canada, the YYC Calgary International Airport, is here. With 18 million passengers in 2019 and 4,305 cargo landings, it’s the third busiest airport in Canada. Several airlines, such as Swoop, WestJet, and R1 Airlines, are based in Calgary. There are also other companies with expertise in communication, navigation, geospatial data equipment, MMRO (manufacturing, maintenance, repair, and overhaul), hardware and software development, etc.

Thus, anyone with expertise in the aerospace sector can easily find a job here in Calgary with at least 12 major companies in that sector.

2.  Energy

Alberta is Canada’s largest producer of oil and natural gas, and Calgary is the center of all that. However, the city goes beyond oil and gas production and leads the world in the energy transition. Alberta has more than enough energy resources with other energy sources such as solar, wind, geothermal, and bioenergy. Anyone with expertise in oil and gas or alternative energy space can easily find work in the city. Headquarters of almost all the major energy companies are here.

3.  Agric Business

Calgary leads the agribusiness space in primary production, Agric tech innovation, protein development, food safety, and animal health. Alberta is the third biggest exporter of agricultural products in Canada. In 2018, the province agrifood export was  19.3% of the total Canadian agrifood exports.

Most of these productions happen in southern Alberta, where Calgary is. Almost 70% of all irrigated lands in Canada are in this area. With a plethora of resources here, many agricultural industry leaders have key parts of their operations in the city. So anyone in that field can easily find jobs.

4.  Financial Services

Commercial banks, investment banks, Fintech, insurance firms, and more. Name it, and you’ll find it in Calgary. The city has a high concentration of capital due to the several businesses and industries operating at full capacity within it. Thus, it attracts several top financial firms. Apart from the traditional firms, even cutting-edge solutions providers such as Fintech and cryptocurrency companies are all in the city. This makes it a great city not just for financial experts but also for tech professionals. There are several Fintech unicorns in the city.

5.  Technology 

Calgary has a growing tech space that offers plenty of jobs for residents. The city leads the space in digital transformation and continues to innovate. With the concentration of industry leaders in several sectors, the city is a confluence of ideas. Anyone interested in industrial digital transformation will find it easier to navigate the tech sector in the state.

6.  Life Science

There are over 100 life science companies in Calgary alone. These include everything from publicly traded companies to startups. The life science industry here buttresses Alberta’s status as the only province with a fully integrated healthcare system. The Cumming School of Medicine is a leading institution in terms of medical research. In addition, there are several other medical research facilities and institutions, including the International Microbiome Center.

Is it advisable to work in Calgary?

Finding a job in Calgary can be quite difficult, but it’s still one of Canada’s best places to work. The city has high livability ratings, and most of the challenges residents have to grapple with in most major cities are absent here.

Furthermore, Calgary has the highest per capita income among cities in Canada, just as Alberta has the highest among the provinces. Its per capita income in 2020 was $59,907. The same city also has the highest labor productivity among the cities in Canada. So, if wages are your major concern, working in Calgary might be perfect.

The minimum wage in Alberta is $15, which means only British Columbia has a higher minimum wage than it. What makes the city perfect is that even despite the high wages, it’s still one of the most affordable cities to live in in Canada.

In Conclusion

Getting a job in Calgary isn’t easy. But that’s not surprising. It’s not easy to get a job anywhere. However, being experts in certain sectors can improve your chance of getting a good job in the city.

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