Ontario firms pay 36-39% less for tech talent

The convergence of traditional sectors and information technology, including the impact of artificial intelligence and automation, puts added pressure on employers looking to attract and retain employees for IT roles. And not surprisingly, salary expectations among those with the right, in-demand skills have never been higher.

One of North America's largest staffing firms, Robert Half International produces their Salary Guide for Technology Professionals based upon current salary and data analysis of the thousands of job placements they make each year. The report compares salary ranges for 75 different IT roles in both Canada and the United States, which include variances among major metropolitan areas.

Tech firms that locate to Ontario stand to save big on IT salaries

Using data from Robert Half's 2018 Salary Guide, below are average salaries of five of the most in-demand IT roles in New York City, Boston, San Francisco, Kitchener-Waterloo, Ottawa and Toronto. The comparison shows that, on average, businesses that locate in Ontario can access the talent they need at a 36-39% cost advantage over major U.S. centres.

IT salary comparison between U.S. and Ontario cities

IT salary comparison between U.S. and Ontario cities
Cities Chief Information Office (CIO) Business Intelligence Analyst Data Scientist Database Developer Network Administrator Total
U.S. Average $202,500 $104,000 $119,000 $116,000 $87,000 $628,500
New York City $284,513 $146,120 $167,195 $162,980 $122,235 $883,043
Boston $271,350 $139,360 $159,460 $155,440 $116,580 $842,190
San Francisco $283,500 $145,600 $166,600 $162,400 $121,800 $879,900
Canadian Average $165,000 $93,500 $105,000 $104,000 $62,500 $530,000
Kitchener Waterloo $158,895 $90,041 $101,115 $100,152 $60,188 $510,390
Ottawa $168,300 $95,370 $107,100 $106,080 $63,750 $540,600
Toronto $173,085 $98,082 $110,145 $109,096 $65,563 $555,970

Lower salaries of employees off-set by lower cost of living

Although salary costs in Ontario are considerably lower, employees don't need to make sacrifices when it comes to quality of life. In his post, Debunking the myth of higher pay in Silicon Valley, Stephen Lake of Thalmic Labs (which has offices in both Waterloo and the Bay Area) explains that when you take into account the high costs of living in major centres like San Francisco, you end up with less – especially if you're raising a family.

Know someone that's ready to test the job market in Canada? You're in luck because Ontario is making it easy for fast-growing businesses here to recruit them.

Open for business immigration policies make it easy for employers to recruit foreign talent

The best places in the world to do business put out a welcome mat for top talent to bring their energy and ideas from anywhere in the world. That's why federal and provincial governments are working together to implement business immigration programs that help companies recruit and retain the highly-skilled international talent they need to fuel their fast-growing tech firms – and fast – with a 10-business day work permit processing guarantee.

And while Canada has taken over as the top destination for international students, the Ontario government is also making investments to increase the number of post-secondary graduates in STEM and artificial intelligence to ensure that businesses also have access to the talent they need in the future.

Global Skills Strategy

Ontario aims to become a top producer of STEM grads

Ontario's commitment to increase its annual STEM graduates from 40,000 to 50,000 will make Ontario one of North America's top producers of STEM grads.

It's all part of a conscious effort to position Ontario to thrive amid the shift to a knowledge-economy, by attracting businesses with access to the world's best talent, while continuing to be a place where its people can live a rewarding life.

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December 19, 2017
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