Guelph Named Best City for Employment in Canada

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

  • River House by Montana Steele

    River House by Montana Steele

Written by Pegleess Barrios

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a man or woman in possession of student loans, must be in want of a job.

Another universally acknowledged truth is that it is a tough time to find a secure job in Canada.

Unlike the previous generation, who brags of having had a stable job straight out of university and an income that allowed them to get married, get a mortgage, and have children all in a few short years, the new generation of graduates face an adverse employment landscape and enter it with considerably higher debt.

In BMO's latest Regional Labour Market Report Card, 7 out of 10 provinces reported declines in employment, building on the previous month's existing decline. Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia remain the provinces with the highest employment rates, although several major cities from other provinces continue to maintain steady positive numbers. BMO claims the increases in unemployment link to declines in oil prices, noting that unemployment has increased in oil-centric Calgary but decreased in Toronto and Vancouver.

However, an interesting fact has emerged in the report, particularly of importance to University of Guelph students considering where to seek jobs this summer.

Of all cities in Canada, Guelph has been ranked as the number one, best city to find employment in Canada.

BMO's report states that Guelph ranks first based on five indicators, topping the list with "robust job growth, population inflows, a puny 4.2% jobless rate and the highest share of the population that is working."

To Biological Science student George Davy, this news came as a surprise. "As a fourth-year student who has worked in Guelph for several summers, I am shocked to hear that Guelph is the top city to find a job in Canada." said Davy, "Year after year, I've found the job market, at least in my field, to be extremely competitive. I've been lucky to score a great research job with the Entomology department for the past two summers, but if you're not able to get one of the very few research jobs here, all you will find are minimum-wage jobs in retail or slightly better-paying ones at factories."

Davy's statement prompts the question - what sort of jobs are the ones bringing Guelph to the top of the list?

Although the BMO report is optimistic in tone, citing overall increases in employment and job opportunities across Canada, the jobs being counted are not all necessarily stable, full-time jobs. The finer details of the report reveal that full-time employment in Canada has largely decreased, and that self-employment is "doing most of the lifting" for this report.

Increases in part-time employment may also reflect companies cutting full-time positions in favour of contract and shift work that cost less in terms of benefits, pensions, and avoid unionization. This trend is becoming apparent in all kinds of job markets, from casual retail positions to academia, where more and more sessional professors are hired and less are offered tenure-track positions.

In regards to the employment landscape in Guelph, a full breakdown of citizens' employment by time and sector was not available, but recent news reports would indicate that a large portion of the employment growth stems from jobs opened at nearby factories and in new retail developments.

Though the increase in employment through these factories may be positive for the local economy, the truth is that the organizations in the City of Guelph are squandering opportunities to hire young, bright and highly-educated minds. Many organizations that are using students for base-pay work requiring little to no training could easily benefit from using students in roles they were prepared for through their degrees. Guelph could retain the talent it is developing, rather than having students leave the city as soon as they graduate.

In the meantime, students who don't feel like subletting their 12-month leases for the summer can rejoice knowing that they will have the best chances in the country to find employment, even if it is barely related to the talents and skills they have developed through their post-secondary education.

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