Should You Relocate for a Trades Career? Consider the Pros and Cons (French version available)
One of the greatest benefits to being a skilled tradesperson is that there are opportunities everywhere, and your skills are directly transferable. But should you relocate specifically to take on a trades job? There’s no single answer that is right for everyone, but there are some core pros and cons you should consider if you’re thinking of moving for a job.
- Availability of Jobs in Your Trade
A common reason to relocate is availability of jobs in your chosen trade. Trades employment is often based on supply and demand, though demand is often high. But depending on your trade, certain areas will have more opportunities than others. For example, if you are in a trade related to oil & gas, there are typically more jobs and more companies hiring in the Alberta oil sands compared to Southern Ontario. Make sure to consider both the availability of jobs, and the suitability of the location before committing to a relocation.
- Higher Wages, or a Lower Cost of Living
Whether you’re considering a relocation to a job that pays more, or to a city with a lower cost of living, the end goal is the same: a better financial situation. In-demand trades in high demand areas will often command a higher wage. By the same token, moving to an area where the cost of living is lower can provide the same benefits, allowing your wages to stretch farther when it comes to renting or buying a home, shopping for essentials, and paying for utilities. It’s a good idea to research your prospective city or town, and compare the cost of living to the potential wages of your trade. Work out a budget to see whether the move would make financial sense.
- Find the Lifestyle that Suits You
Not everyone wants to stay in their hometown, or live in a city, but luckily for people working in the trades they have the flexibility to seek out work somewhere that offers the lifestyle they want. For example, fast growing cities and towns are likely to have opportunities for construction and service trades, and offer exciting amenities in terms of entertainment and social life. Rural towns offer a slower pace, close-knit communities, and affordability, and may have more opportunities for agricultural tradespeople, outdoor recreation, and tourism. The important thing is to find a job in a location that offers you the lifestyle you want.
- Financial Incentives
Relocating, especially across a significant distance or to another province, can be pricey. However, many companies hiring tradespeople for high-demand jobs may offer financial incentives to people willing to relocate. This could be a hiring bonus, or offering to cover the costs of moving. While counting on a monetary bonus shouldn’t be the main consideration when seeking a new job, it can offer some security in the process to help you establish yourself in a new place. Relocation costs can also be deducted on your taxes, so be sure to keep track of what you pay for transportation, storage, temporary living expenses, and other costs association with your move.
- Relocation is Expensive
As already mentioned, relocating for a job can be quite expensive between moving costs and a different cost of living. It is important to make sure that not only can your existing financial state afford the move, but that the new job will pay a high enough wage to ensure you can live comfortably and put money into savings. Even if you get a hiring bonus or are reimbursed for moving costs, it may not be enough. Do your research to price out moving costs and living costs, and examine different budgets to make sure that the move will be the right financial choice.
- Partners and Family May Struggle to Find Work or Community
If you are considering relocating for work and have a partner, it’s important to consider the effect moving will have on them. You may have a job, but will they be able to find work easily, as well? Does the lifestyle and financial situation of the new location fit with their needs? If you have children, will they have access to the schools, entertainment, and community that they need? When you are the only person relocating, this might not be a concern, but if you will be bringing family with you, make sure you keep their wants and needs in mind.
- Need to Build a New Social Circle
While it’s true of any move, the farther you go the more isolated you will be from your existing family and friends. You will need to build an entirely new social circle in a new place, which isn’t always easy. It can also be difficult to go long stretches of time being unable to visit family, especially if you are used to seeing parents, siblings, and friends all the time. This can lead to feeling homesick, isolated, or depressed, and makes it hard to enjoy a new job or new home.
- You May Need to Re-Certify
Depending on the trade you’re in, moving to a new province might mean you need to complete additional training or recertification in order to meet the regulations and standards of that province. This is an additional expense that can impact your move, both financially and by requiring time spent training instead of working. To help avoid this issue, consider completing the Red Seal certification for your trade. This not only ensures you have proof of all the right skills, but makes it easy to work in your trade anywhere in Canada.
Relocating might not be right for every tradesperson, but for many it can provide opportunities not available where they currently live. The important thing is to do your research into the requirements and availability of your trade, the lifestyle and costs associated with new locations, and whether you believe you can build a community and a life for yourself.
Fraser Dove. “The Pros And Cons Of Relocating For Work.” https://www.fraserdove.com/the-pros-and-cons-of-relocating-for-work/.
Government of Canada. “Moving within Canada to work.” https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/programs/labour-mobility.html.
Impact Recruitment. “Benefits of Relocation.” https://impactrecruitment.ca/relocation-options/.
Red Seal. “Red Seal Program.” https://www.red-seal.ca/eng/about/pr.4gr.1m.shtml.