As I have lived around the world over the past 20 years, in my experience, North America remains very affordable and the quality of life remains very high even in recession.
This may surprise some of the readers, but if you have lived in Europe or Asia or Australia in the past, you would know the cost of living for housing, food and utilities are usually quite high compared to North America.
However, as we know; the biggest problem facing by many North Americans is employment, so our team has gathered some research across North American cities; and we will go into different cities and assess employment opportunities in these cities.
Toronto is family-friendly city, and it is the hub for financial and It industries for Canada. With population over 6 million across GTA, it is also a major commercial city in North American standard. The cost of living is higher than average American city, but lower than Vancouver and San Jose as a comparison.
The salary level can vary significantly in Toronto, with professionals in finance, technology and mining related industries earning comfortable income; as well as government employees. However, manufacturing and retail employees do see relatively lower level of salary in Toronto.
The city’s economy has been booming since mid 2009, you can see a large number of constructions happening both in the downtown area as well as across suburban areas.
Toronto is the most popular destination for newly arrived Canadian immigrants, and this has provided a consistent stimulus to its construction and building related industries; including construction firms, building materials and opportunities for renovations and maintenance works.
Calgary, Alberta (Canada)
Calgary in Alberta is an important city for Canada and North America. It is the center of oil & gas production as well as holding large resources in base metals and precious metals. The mining boom has helped Canada, especially Alberta to escape the recession. It was disrupted in 2007-2008 where it had seen a sudden slump of demand in natural resources especially oil & gas; it is now almost reaching to the pre-recession level, and with oil & gas price both rising, Alberta is currently facing skilled shortage in many mining related sectors; but its population is also growing, so it also needs skilled workers in the financial, medical and technology sectors as well.
The cost of living in Calgary is at moderate level in North American standard, but lower than Toronto and Vancouver. However, salary level in Calgary is quite good especially mining related companies which is very common to see six-figure salary packages for skilled professionals.
I lived in Texas for a while, and it was more than 10 years ago. Back then, you could already feel the city was booming and ready to become the next big economy.
Texas is doing quite well in this recession, its oil & natural gas economy has helped cities like Houston and Dallas to maintain on growth pattern.
Another success factor is its technology industry, led by companies such as Amazon, and a large number of IT outsourcing companies that have chosen Dallas to be their headquarters.
Dallas is now the regional capital for technology, financing and media companies; it also has very large sports industry thanks to successful performance in baseball, basketball and NFL.
The lifestyle in Dallas is quite good apart from the hot summers; the living cost is considered as moderate in North American standard, and its gasoline price is also one of the lowest in North America.
San Jose continues to enjoy boom time this year, thanks to the rapid recovery of the IT sectors. The new Internet phenomenon resulted from social media, iPads, iPhones, mobile marketing has fuelled the growth of San Jose and its world renowned silicon valley.
The living cost in San Jose is of the highest in whole North America; with its housing price well above the North American average. However, in global standard, the housing price is still lower than most of major European and Asian cities, even lower than most of Australian capital cities.
The salary for managers in IT companies in San Jose, in the mean time, is significantly higher. We have seen positions that offer base salary of $150,000 or more for IT related companies. There was a position available for a marketing manager for an Internet Data Center company which started at $170,000 as the base salary as an example.
There is currently a shortage of software developers and programmers in San Jose area; and the IT companies have been hiring campus graduates; some are offering lucrative contracts and incentives to attract professionals from other States.
We will cover more analysis on other cities in our next article.