Hi MovNorth community, I’m in need of some honest insight as I’m going through major life-changing decisions in the next couple of months.
I will be joining one of the FAANG companies soon. I’m currently hired as a remote employee in the US, but the plan is/has been to relocate to Toronto in the near future. The company is looking to expand offices in Toronto, but I also have an option to move it to be in-person within SF Bay Area.
Now, I have the following questions for engineering folks (developers) who work/have worked for a company that primarily has a US headquarters/presence:
Based on your experience, how would you describe career growth opportunities with Canadian teams compared to counterparts in the US? (projects, growth possibilities, perks, etc.)
While working from Canada, would you say in-person engineering teams would be better off than working remotely for a US employer, if your priority is career growth?
I’d really be grateful for some advice/insight as it would help in making some decisions.
Work Culture: As someone who has worked both in US and Canada in software companies (non-FAANG), I would say the work culture is pretty much the same. Sure there are differences, for e.g. Bay Area tends to be more hard-working while Toronto seems to be a bit more relaxed in terms of work-life balance, but it varies a lot from team to team, company to company, state to state even in US and same in Canada.
Salary: You will never beat US tech salaries in Canada. I have heard people getting 2x, 3x salaries easily when they move/start work with US-based company. Not sure how salaries change if you are physically located in Canada but working remotely, but you get the gist, you can get a huge pay rise. If you have the option don’t let go off the US salary.
Projects, Growth etc: That really depends on your team, management etc. If your team is spread out remotely at various locations and/or if manager(s) are OK with employees working from anywhere, it generally shouldn’t affect the kind of projects you are working on, or the growth opportunities.
I have worked locally and remotely in Canada for US-based Canadian company for over 2 years now and even though I knew everyone in my team personally before pandemic, the remote work phase has not affected things, and there are people who joined mid-pandemic and it hasn’t affected them either. If the work culture at your team is accommodating it shouldn’t matter much.
IMO and based on my observations, for tech/software companies it doesn’t/shouldn’t matter where you are working from, especially in reputable companies. It then falls down to you to weigh the pros and cons of having a Canadian PR vs being local to US.
As someone who has been working in MAANG for the last couple of years, remotely from Canada, I can add a bit more here. Agree with Anshul’s take on work culture, it isn’t much different in tech heavy teams (it’s a bit different if you are in HR/people facing roles as Canadians do things differently, more fun , more relaxed).
Different companies have different comp models when relocating from US to Canada. If you really want to get on Canadian payroll (benefits being generous RRSP contributions, EI/CPP contributions), then be ready for a paycut in base salary and stocks. minimum cut being 10%, and can go upto 50% .
Project/growth is very team dependent. If the company is big (likely for MAANG), then there could be self sufficient teams in Canada, and they can provide ample scope of growth for junior level. If the mothership is still in US, then at senior level you would have a restricted growth unless at VP level. For smaller companies, it depends on how you adjust to working remotely, how your team adjusts and how the management sets up remote work. There is no clear answer here, you would have to try it and see if it works for you or not.