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Thread: Planning job prospects in Canada

  1. #1
    Member
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    Planning job prospects in Canada

    Hello everyone,
    I'm new to the forum and plan on applying for a Masters in planning for 2011. I have a BA in environmental studies and a graduate certificate in GIS.

    There are a heck of a lot of posts around here about how terrible the job market is in the States for planners and I was wondering if anyone has any insight on the job market in Canada? Is it just as bad? What is the situation likely to be in a couple of years?

    Thank you!

  2. #2
    maudit anglais
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    Yes and no. The job market is fairly decent for those with experience, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of entry level positions available right now. Geography plays a part as well, I think there are probably still more opportunities available in western Canada than in the east right now.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    I'm not done school yet so I aven't actually gone throught the process of applying for jobs. However, I keep my eye on postings as the time when I'll have to apply is looming.

    My first feeling is, "Holy crap I'm glad I'm not American." Things seem to be a lot better here.

    That being said, most of the jobs seem to be in smaller municipalities. Don't necessarily expect to work for Toronto your first year out of school. You'll probably have to put a few years in at a municipality of population 20,000 before considering the bigger cities. I don't think that's a bad thing though. I've been working at a smaller municipality for the summer and I have learned a lot. There's a lot of opportunity to take on a lot of different issues, rather than just being the planner who only does rezonings or something.

  4. #4
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    Well I have a different experience and point of view. I have had several planning and GIS related positions in the US for over 10 years. Just recently it took me less than a month to find a new job after cutbacks at my old job.

    I looked for over 2 years to find something in Canada and didn't even get an interview. I am originally from Ontario and wanted to get back to either Ontario or the East Coast. I put out resumes all the time and never get a reponse. Granted this could be due to the US address on my resume but I make it clear in my cover letter that I am from Canada and would like to return.

  5. #5
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    US citizen here. In my job search, I've been finding far more jobs that are a good match to my experience and skills in Southern Ontario than within a 500-mile radius of Buffalo on the US side of the border. However, I've had no response from any Canadian planning agency that I've applied to. I can't get agencies that are just across the border to give me the time of day.

    Canada's planning job marker seems to be doing well by US standards, but it isn't as vibrant as in the past. As it was explained to me in an earlier post, in better times Canadians used to recruit overseas to find planners. Now, they just hire their own.

    FWIW, I've seen far more jobs in Alberta and BC than other provinces, including Ontario. I also haven't seen a "Northern allowance" job advertised in a long time.

    EDIT: Planning job listing sites in Canada: http://www.cyburbia.org/forums/showt...716#post522716
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    There seems to be about one or two new municipal job/week being posted in Western Canada (Alberta/BC) for the past three months I've been on the market. It's not lush that's for sure, but I wouldn't call it barren either. I agree with a previous posters comment that entry-level positions are slim at the moment.

    Water-cooler talk seems to indicate that there are quite a few folks gunning for what positions are available...

    I'm finding that it is a tough time to bust into planning if your a newbie (like me).

    Some I have spoken too seem to believe that Canada is producing too many planners at the moment.

  7. #7
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    Are people basing job market on the jobs posted in the open market, or is it including the hidden job market?

    I applied to Ryerson's 2yr program for planning, but im skeptical if I should pursue it. I am having a hard time find postings and internships, but I know I'm outsider looking in.

    I just dont want to waste money on another degree i can't get a job with.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    Well, the market could be anything in two years. I wouldn't necessarily let that be the clincher for your decision.

    Regarding hidden jobs, a lot of planning schools post jobs that are fairly exclusive to their program. A number of my colleagues nailed jobs right out of graduation with the Feds and a few other firms in Ottawa given the relationship between that city and my program. Competition was apparently just a handful of people.

  9. #9
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    well another concern I do have is that I don't have a masters going into the work-force, and there seems to be a growing demand for that.

    So that and the potentially crappy market are two things potentially working against me.

  10. #10
    so i am a young recent planning graduate with a CIP accredited bachelor degree in plannning, with accumulated two years of planning-related work experience through co-op work terms. have been out of work for more than two months now.

    planning is a profession that requires a lot of experience, so for entry level positions, the employer has to put in resouces and time to train the junior planner, so the public sector seems to have more extra time, resources and apetite in hiring new grads, where as private consulting and land developers can only afford to have someone being able to pick up everything right away, particularly in dealing with the approval process and layers of bureacracy. Canada right now, like many of the OECD countries, is at a time where all levels of governments are cutting expenses to balance budgets, even the generous public sector isn't hiring as much anymore. 'Spending cut' and 'fiscal prudence' advocated by candidates are all too familiar phrases heard during the recent municipal elections across Ontario.

    Now, for the private consulting buisness. There are virtually two kinds of them (not quite, depending on the portfolio of the consulting business). One depends a lot of their businesses on government projects and RFPs, they are now also being affected by the government spending cut. The other kind depends more on private land development, from real estate developer to individual property owners wanting to sever their lots. However, the latter kind is driven by the housing market, which is also being affected by the current state of the economy, characterized by lack of investment and consumer confidence. And a lot of potential home buyers were buying before the Harmonized Sales Tax came in effect on July, 2010, so now I am expecting to see a big dip in home purchase.

    Now, the job pool has definitely shrunk, the amount of supply of new planning graduates has stayed the same, and I seriously suspect has actually been increasing in recent years, there you go. One episode of The Agenda called the Echo Generation 'the Lost Generation' in this economic crisis and I am definitely feeling lost here.

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