While Canada has a national unemployment rate of 7.2% right now, this is an average made up of various regions – some of which are experiencing much higher unemployment rates, and some with much lower. So if there are jobs available out there in places experiencing labour shortages, are Canadians willing to move to where the opportunities are?

Transitioning provinces can be daunting. Starting any job comes with its share of challenges and jitters. Starting a new job in a location you’ve just moved to magnifies this exponentially.

Of course, moving for work has its advantages as well. People who are willing to relocate have far more opportunities available to them than those simply scanning the local job market. They can also give their career a head start by going to where the jobs are rather than having to struggle through periods of underemployment while waiting for the hiring climate to bounce back. They also gain a wider variety of life and work experience that comes from living in different places.

We polled our users and analyzed their behaviour on our website to find out their willingness to relocate. It turns out that some people are more willing to pack up and go that others.

A recent Workopolis survey shows that only 40% of Canadians are interested in relocating for new opportunities, while 46% indicated they would rather stay put. (The missing 14% said that they would move temporarily for the work – but always with the eye on returning home.)

Analysis of job search behaviour on Workopolis can show us which candidates look for jobs outside of the province where they are currently located. Canadians from Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick and the Territories are the most likely to look for jobs outside their own province. People from Alberta, British Columbia, and Manitoba are the least likely. (Central Canada falls, well, in the middle.)

Given that the West is experiencing labour shortages right now with very low levels of unemployment, people have no need to look outside their own region to find opportunities.

There are variations in people’s willingness to relocate by industry as well. Workopolis survey data tells us that people are more interest in relocating in fields such as:

  • Engineering
  • Trades
  • Legal
  • Arts and Media


And they are less interested in fields such as:

  • Administrative
  • Sales
  • Retail
  • Finance
  • Education


We’ve asked users what would motivate them to change provinces for work, and it’s not all about the money or even opportunities. The responses have been an almost even three-way tie between Salary, Better Jobs, and overall Quality of Life in the new region.

Relocating often isn’t just a career decision for an individual, but a lifestyle change for whole families. Employers looking to recruit remote workers need to educate candidates on what their region has to offer as a place to live as well as work.

Also, more people are willing to pick up and move for a secured job in hand, than just for more potential job opportunities.

We asked users, “Would you move to another province for a better job market?” And most people responded, “I’d move for a solid job offer, not a better market…”

This research was conducted for the August 2013 Thinkopolis labour report. You can read the full report and view the accompanying infographic at Workopolis.com/research.

How about you? If there were no jobs available where you live, but an employer offered you a secure position in another province, would you pack up and move?