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). https://simpletax.ca/calculator
(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 @anon25417004 ; 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 @anon25417004, makes sense. May be thats a good cultural thing - you can’t put a price on happiness
My two cents is that income and happiness are positively correlated but not perfectly correlated.
I hear that the housing in Toronto is high (both in terms of rental and purchase). I am moving to Toronto next month as I have a PR. However with 15+ years of experience in top Tech companies, I find it sad to see the very low salaries being offered by Canadian companies.
It astonishes me to see numbers of $90K to $115K being offered by top tech companies. How do employees manage to buy/rent housing in Toronto (specially those with families) with such salaries?
Canada (usually) won’t offer high salaries as you would get in the Bay Area (even after adjusting for cost of living). It’s just a cultural thing I heard. Which is why so many Canadians want to come work in the US.
I agree with @anshul.v.joshi, from what I hear the good news is that its been trending upward. I have been trying to get some reliable statistics on it but no much luck - self reported ones like glassdoor, payscale etc could be way off from reality.
But check this out, it’s a really interesting link, salary stats from 2016-2018, a very positive one:
Article from April/2018:
According to online job-posting website Neuvoo, the average salary for blockchain-related careers in Canada is $102,500, with entry-level positions earning an annual salary of $72,000 and the most experienced commanding an annual salary of $144,000. By comparison, the website estimates the average annual salary of a Canadian software engineer at about $99,500.
High end salaries reported in glassdoor Canada:
Shopify Senior Software Dev salary:
Avg: CA$ 120k, Min CA$115k, Max CA$145
stocks/bonus: CA$ 46K avg
Min $80k, Max $150k
Min $90k, Max $154K
Low end salaries:
Senior Software Developer Salaries
Low $72K, High 93k
See the list here:
I am see more often folks comparing CA salaries to that of US. This is is quite unfair according to me. The salaries are definitely a tad lower as compared to US however one needs to look at the holistic picture here.
Unlike the H1/L1 there is very little to no uncertainty from your status point of view. If you have kids this is a very major factor as going back to India and getting adjusted a quite a herculean task for kids and not many will be able to survive the India conditions if kids are very seasoned out here in US. My take here Canada wins.
As far as spouse is concerned unlike H4 EAD which was introduced less than 5 years back and considered extremely controversial and on top of the hit list of the immigration conservatives to be scrapped The family must not relay on this income source and count it towards achieving any strategic financial goals. However in Canada this uncertainty is completely eliminated as both can work.Again Canada wins here
Canad provides you an easier path to citizenship as compared to US. Once you are on the Canadian passport the opportunities just open for you as you can pick up assignments in US,UK with out much trouble as compared to holding an Indian passport. The route to citizenship may take 5-6 years after landing in with PR.
The college tuition fees for kids are very reasonable ( not cheap ) as compared to any US universities. UoT is easily counted among the top universities out side of the ivy league list.
Considering all these factors I think the lower salaries are not really a big deal breaker. However picking up a new job that pays a lower salary than the current one is quite difficult to accept.
One thing that I would like to point out based on my (short) experience in Canada is that if you ignore the rent and house prices, it’s still much more expensive than a medium-sized city in the US (e.g., Salt Lake City). E.g. car insurance can set you back CA$200/month. Clothes are much more expensive, and so is gas (even after all conversions). On the plus side, healthcare is free so a health crisis isn’t going to drive a family bankrupt. And most importantly, it might be easier for family reunification as you can let your parent visit and stay for 2 straight years compared to only 6 months in the US.
Big city comparison:
Cost of living comparison between Toronto and NYC:
Indices Difference Info
Consumer Prices in New York, NY are 42.92% higher than in Toronto
Consumer Prices Including Rent in New York, NY are 73.42% higher than in Toronto
Rent Prices in New York, NY are 127.19% higher than in Toronto
Restaurant Prices in New York, NY are 50.98% higher than in Toronto
Groceries Prices in New York, NY are 53.72% higher than in Toronto
Local Purchasing Power in New York, NY is 0.53% higher than in Toronto
Smaller city comparison
Edmonton Population: 928,182
Salt Lake City: Population: 193,744
Consumer Prices in Salt Lake City, UT are 4.56% lower than in Edmonton
Consumer Prices Including Rent in Salt Lake City, UT are 3.97% higher than in Edmonton
Rent Prices in Salt Lake City, UT are 25.42% higher than in Edmonton
Restaurant Prices in Salt Lake City, UT are 2.42% lower than in Edmonton
Groceries Prices in Salt Lake City, UT are 6.01% lower than in Edmonton
Local Purchasing Power in Salt Lake City, UT is 16.20% higher than in Edmonton
Very good points. I would like to add that its more convenient to sponsor your spouse’s MS education as well, paying domestic fee instead of international fee and this education will add to her Canadian Experience which will help her get a job as well. Double income will definitely help to compensate relatively lower pay. To be honest, when I compare, Toronto housing prices are comparitively cheaper than Bay Area. So Canada again wins.
I found this guide from RHT to be useful:
Nice, thanks for sharing!