Total Compensation strategy for top tech companies in Canada

Hey everyone,

I have spent quite a lot of time going through various threads and realized that this forum is a treasure trove! For people moving from the U.S., this place is a boon.

As I’m someone with relatively less experience (2 years of employment in the U.S.) than others on this forum, I don’t have significant savings to move and comfortably afford a house in the Greater Vancouver Area unless I find a well-paid job (not on par with the U.S. of course, but something that’s above median with a good base salary + stocks/RSUs and bonus).

I am contemplating a permanent move sometime next year and I want to be well prepared as a lot of crucial things are counting on this transition. I work at a tech company in the Bay Area and full-time remote employment with my current employer is not guaranteed, though we have a Canadian office presence. Based on suggestions in other threads, it might be ideal if a U.S. employer could allow employment while the employee resides in Canada.

I’d love some suggestions/advice on a few parameters:

  1. Does it make sense to talk to recruiters in the U.S. and let them know about my intended move to Canada before interviewing? With this option, would companies typically have you interview directly with the Canadian team? If the interviewing is done with the Canadian team, I’m wondering if it impacts compensation as they’d probably regard me as someone starting from scratch in Canada.
  1. Compared to Vancouver, more tech behemoths seem to be situated in Toronto. From a financial and career trajectory perspective, would it make sense to perhaps consider a remote role from Vancouver for a company in Toronto?

TL;DR: overall, what would be suggested ways to land a Software Engineering job at a top tech company (product-based) with good compensation?

I’m looking forward to the resumption of MovNorth Hire and MovNorth Remote, but for now, I’d be really thankful if I could get some pointers.

Tagging some experienced folks to get your specific insights - @panditji @am1 @ak45 @avj @superishav. Thank you :slight_smile:

Hi j9lad, I am guessing you read my experience here.
Regarding your questions:

  1. I did not end up talking to the company on the US side as I was just casually browsing what companies are posting jobs and ended up interviewing with a few. Having said that I (and many others) can confirm that the salary/TC follows this order:
    US company, US location > US company, Canada location > Canadian company, Canada location
    My personal opinion is that you can try all that you mentioned but it will depend on the company. And moving from the US to Canada (changing your location) will lead to reduction of total pay. I remember my friend had to move from Amazon Seattle to Amazon Vancouver and got paid in CAD (given that Amazon is one of the highest paying employer in Canada, it was lower than what the US branch was paying).
    As for starting from scratch, I don’t think they will ignore your US experience. I had a similar opinion as you do, but I was proven wrong right away during the interviewing process. Canadian companies (at least the tech ones) do value your US experience. So go ahead and apply for the level you think you deserve :slight_smile:
  1. Yeah Toronto definitely has way more opportunities. However opportunities are growing in both the cities. And yes you can try a remote role from Toronto firm. It will basically boil down to whatever offers you get but I don’t think the offers are going to be that different based on the city afaik. You will definitely see a stark difference in pay between US companies and Canadian ones (maybe Shopify and some others might be able to match US company in Canada compensation)

All the best with everything!

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My 2 cents for better pay - Multiple offers always help, You can use one to negotiate the one which you desire. But please keep in mind some firms do not negotiate and will reject you right away if you try to negotiate - Example: Shopify

@j9lad

  1. Does it make sense to talk to recruiters in the U.S. and let them know about my intended move to Canada before interviewing?

Yes certainly, I got several interviews in Canada from US recruiters and that was back in 2018, now sky is the limit.

With this option, would companies typically have you interview directly with the Canadian team?

Yes Canadian team and pre covid many would bring you in for on site.

If the interviewing is done with the Canadian team, I’m wondering if it impacts compensation as they’d probably regard me as someone starting from scratch in Canada.

your compensation is based on your interview performance and leveling. Check levels.fyi Toronto for information on it. Your US experience is certainly counted, there is no difference in tech interviews and hiring process in Canada compared to the US. Compensation may be lower than SF Bay Area but it’s pretty competitive.

  1. Toronto hands down.

To land a job at a top tech company in Canada, do exactly as one would do in the US. My TC in Toronto >> than my previous TC in Texas (different employer).

@swamiom Shopify will negotiate- based on my personal experience.

It depends on team to team and recruiter to recruiter and how much valuable a candidate is and how softly you negotiate but Shopify tends to avoid negotiation as seen few examples - for somebody it costed an offer!!!

Thank you so much for the insights. They’re definitely helpful.

It’s great to know that US experience is regarded well and that I don’t have to start from scratch.

  1. Considering you were in Seattle, I’m guessing you were in a top-tier tech company. In your personal experience, did that help in any way in terms of companies in Canada being keen to get you on board? :slight_smile:

  2. Also, bases on interviewing and working with the Canadian tech sector after your move from Seattle, how has your overall experience been in terms of career trajectory and work in general?

Would love to get your perspectives and I really appreciate you taking the time to share your views.

Right, I guess that’s true in general within the tech industry amongst product-based companies. Having multiple offers will definitely help.

No problem. Happy to help in any way. I understand the worries associated with an international move.

Considering you were in Seattle, I’m guessing you were in a top-tier tech company. In your personal experience, did that help in any way in terms of companies in Canada being keen to get you on board?

I am not sure I can definitively say that my company brand name was the only factor. Your experiences and of course how well you do in interviews matter more, imo. And if you meant MFAANG by top-tier, no I did not work in any of them :slight_smile:

Also, bases on interviewing and working with the Canadian tech sector after your move from Seattle, how has your overall experience been in terms of career trajectory and work in general?

It’s only been 6 months working here so my experience in Canada is limited. I do not find a great difference maybe because my parent company is headquartered in the US. However, I do see some pleasant changes in terms of some perks because my org headquarter is in Europe (for example having 5 weeks paid time off). Career trajectory laid out is similar to ones you will see in US and I think this should be true for most tech companies in Canada. But I can’t comment on how the process is for growth and that would definitely depend on individual basis. I am sure its different in every tech company in the US too.

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I cannot comment much on the role since my background isn’t SWE… however -

Things have improved post-covid for remote work. Typically companies will work out your compensation based on your country/city of residence using market data. Nonetheless if you like a remote arrangement, you can maximize your earnings by living at a low lost of living / low taxation area where houses may be more affordable (if that purchase is necessary). Also you can consider lifestyle preferences seriously when choosing a place to live (as opposed to just proximity to place of work).

Good luck!

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