Software dev jobs and pay in Toronto area


I have been googling around for software development jobs in Toronto area and I see no shortage of high quality, really interesting/cool/cutting edge jobs. Six months ago I did not know anything about tech in Canada so this is all great news and very promising! But the average salaries reported on Payscale, Glassdoor etc are somewhat low, even for senior software engineer positions. I know some of these website don’t have reliable stats for some places. Also, many companies don’t post their pay ranges. I was wondering if anyone had any insight into salary estimates for senior software developers (ballpark)? I have heard its a bit lower in Canada in general, just wanted to get an idea so that I can have realistic expectations when moving there.


The average pay in Canada in general is less compared to USA. This is the one thing that bugs me. I have gotten interview calls/offers from US, Canada and Europe, and nothing pays as much as US in my experience! With people I have spoken to here, that’s the main reason US is still attractive and they don’t want to leave yet! Moreover, taxes are higher in Canada in general (they vary by province and your tax bracket though), and stuff is more expensive in general. For e.g., if you get a $80,000 salary in Montreal (which is considered pretty good!), you end up with $54,000 in hand after Federal and Provincial taxes (in fairness Quebec has a higher provincial tax rate).

(Digression) You do get free healthcare though. Although according to people in Canada I’ve spoken to, depending on where you live, getting appointments for non-emergency care can be a bit frustrating to people used to US healthcare as the wait times tend to be longer. For e,g, in Montreal, getting a GP (General Practitioner) has a year of waiting as there are limited number of doctors. Surgery wait times for non-urgent issues also has a long wait time. However, emergency care is free. Walk-in clinics also are free although there can be a queue.(End of Digression)

In Toronto you can get anywhere from $70k - 90k depending on your position, experience, and the company that you work for. Big companies tend to have higher pay than smaller startups in general. Ironically, cost of living in Toronto is high (mainly rent, car insurance), but salaries are not that higher than in, say, reasonably priced towns in midwest US. Vancouver is even more expensive than Toronto for rent and house prices. Montreal is a bit cheaper but if you want to land in Quebec you might as well apply under QSW rather than FSW, and it’s colder, and it’s French.
Don’t expect to get $120-130k like you get in Bay area for software engineers. You can always negotiate, as I have tried, but it’s unrealistic.


thanks @anshul.v.joshi for the detailed response! Pay, I think, is the big concern, no one really wants to downgrade their pay while moving from the US. I hope salaries there have been trending upward over the years with all tech things going on in the area. Amazon in Toronto seems to be paying good - SDE II is $100K - 130K plus $10 - $50K in cash/stock/bonus and SDE III up to 150K CAD (on glassdoor) - pretty good.


Yes, I agree this is an issue and one I have brought up with startups and the government here every chance I got. What I hear is that its a cultural thing and that they have been trending upwards. From my experience salaries are always localized and all those places in the US where those high salaries exist are also very experience to live in and often involve long commutes. For example software engineering salaries in Austin

Additionally due to the nature of the H4 visa people in places like NYC and the Bay Area find they are single earners having to support a family and save for things like their kids college education and medical expenses in later years.

On a side note I know quite a few people here who work remote for US startups and NYC based hedge funds earning in USD. They love the arrangement and a few have setup themselves are contractors earning much more. This works great for them since things like good healthcare that you need a job for in the US are free here.


Thanks @vik ; you mentioned that you hear lower salaries could be a cultural thing - is it only for software devs or is it for other types of jobs as well, like management or even non IT jobs? if you happen to know. Just curious to know if there was a bias towards certain occupation.


When you look at salary data keep in mind it gets skewed by lots of talent that might not command higher salaries in tech due to lack of experience (tech is fairly new after-all) I know off and have seen offers in the range of 120 to 130K CAD for senior positions.

I have also seen people with experience that have moved here from the US ask for and get more senior titles and take-up more mentorship / leadership roles. When I said cultural thing I meant people are not aggressive or money driven most are pretty content and happy. Tech salaries are probably the highest, with the most jobs and probably seeing the most growth.


thanks @vik, makes sense. May be thats a good cultural thing - you can’t put a price on happiness :slight_smile:


My two cents is that income and happiness are positively correlated but not perfectly correlated.