As Canadian Industries Boom, Civil Engineers in High Demand
All around the world, civil engineers are among the key drivers of economic and societal growth. In Canada, a country with a rapidly expanding economy, the need for skilled engineers has never been greater. Civil engineers who come to Canada are able to take advantage of one of the most welcoming and well-paying job markets in the world, and many are able to stay in Canada permanently as Canadian Permanent Residents.
The Need for Civil Engineers
Civil engineering is one of the largest branches of engineering, comprising approximately one fifth of the entire discipline. Despite its popularity, Canada is facing a drastic shortage of qualified civil engineers.
This is due to a number of factors, including expansion of projects throughout the country and a work force that is, on average, older and closer to retirement than other engineering disciplines.
While civil engineers are coveted across Canada, the provinces of British Columbia and Alberta are especially in need of experts in this field. According to Statistics Canada, 2013 was the first year that the excess supply’ of civil engineers in the country reached zero.
This means that, statistically, the profession has full employment. At current rates, it is expected that thousands of civil engineering jobs will need to be filled by the year 2020.
With too few Canadian graduates pursuing this career path, many employers are looking abroad to find the workers they need. Shawn Paulson, an Edmonton-based engineering recruiter, said the following in an interview with the Financial Post:
“We’ve shown a 25% increase in overall hires each year, and those are all engineers. Last year alone we hired over 600 engineering-related professionals. Unfortunately, there are just not enough graduates right now.”
Civil Engineers Find Success in Canada
Once in Canada, civil engineers benefit from good jobs and competitive salaries. Because their skills are in high demand, they have the flexibility to work almost anywhere they wish, provided that they obtain the necessary certification.
Even recent civil engineering graduates with limited professional experience are highly sought after. In fact, the entry level salary for this field is one of the highest in Canada, with new graduates regularly making figures in the mid $60,000 range. Mid-career and advanced level professionals can make salaries in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
With so much demand for their skills, civil engineers can choose not just their place of work, but also the type of work they wish to do. They are therefore often able to work on fulfilling assignments in fields directly associated with their expertise, whether they are in a booming city or on the Canadian frontier.
“With a growing population in need of services, not to mention the incredibly profitable natural resources sector, engineers are needed more than ever to help Canada meet current and future needs,” said Attorney David Cohen. “More than almost any other occupation, their skills are truly rewarded at the highest levels.”
Coming to Canada as a Civil Engineer
At any time, a foreign engineer may travel to Canada as a Temporary Worker, provided they have received an eligible job offer and obtained the necessary work authorization. However, there are also many options for civil engineers to immigrate directly to Canada as Permanent Residents.
The Quebec Skilled Worker Program awards a high number of points to civil engineers, whose profession is currently listed on the province’s list of eligible areas of training/fields of study. Once in Canada, engineers who immigrate through this program may seek work in Quebec’s cities or extensive natural resource sector, or they may pursue employment opportunities elsewhere in Canada.
Additionally, Civil Engineers are on the current list of eligible occupations for the popular Federal Skilled Worker Program. The Federal Skilled Worker Program is accepting only 300 applications for each targeted occupation, so interested applicants should be aware that quick action may be required to submit an application before the program closes for this year.
If an individual is already working in Canada as a civil engineer, s/he may be eligible to apply through the Skilled Worker stream of the Provincial Nominee Program that covers their province of residence, or through the Canadian or Quebec Experience Class programs.
“Overall, there is no shortage of opportunities for a civil engineer to come to Canada,” said Attorney David Cohen. “With such valuable skills, they will truly have all of Canada ready to welcome them to their new home.”