Meeting Opportunity in Toronto

Call it Silicon Valley North. Or Hollywood North. Or simply call it what the earliest inhabitants of Lake Ontario’s shores did — Toronto: “place of meeting.”

Today, the name is more apropos than ever. Toronto thrives as an international commerce center and city of heady cultural convergence. Even the United Nations hailed it as the most multicultural city in the world.

The fifth largest city in North America, with a population of 2.4 million, Toronto is noted for its superior quality of life: Fortune magazine voted it top global city for business and family in 1996.

An Employee’s Market

Toronto represents Canada’s largest employment hub, with one-sixth of the country’s jobs. A world banking and finance leader, Toronto also supports a burgeoning variety of high-growth sectors, such as:

  • Software and hardware design
  • New media
  • Biotechnology
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Telecommunications

The city’s economic vitals are strong. Toronto has generated 355,000 new jobs since 1996, a 15.8 percent increase that outpaced Canada’s 11.1 percent job creation rate. Unemployment reached a low: 5.3 percent as of June 2000, down from an average of 6.1 percent in 1999.

Toronto clearly supports an employee’s market. Shortages in health care and high tech are particularly acute. For example, the Information Technology Association of Canada estimates 20,000 unfilled IT jobs across Canada.

“New Economy” Growth

As home to Canada’s fastest growing high-tech market, Toronto boasts 3,100 high-tech companies employing 155,000, per statistics from the industry group, SMART Toronto. The city ranks fourth highest in the world for concentration of commercial software companies and also fosters a thriving hardware sector.

Professionals with expertise in software development, computer animation, Web applications, post-production and computer-generated imaging, and other specialized niches remain highly sought-after. Basking in exceptionally strong demand are telecommunications software designers and computer engineers, who enjoyed the highest employment growth of any profession across Canada during the 1990s.

Toronto claims 75 percent of Canada’s new media and multimedia firms, according to Toronto New Media Works. This $1 billion industry, composed of 4,000 mostly small multimedia and content creation companies, anticipates an explosive growth.

Bedrock Strengths

Business services remain one of Toronto’s best job generators, due to increased outsourcing of HR, accounting, advertising and marketing, and computer service functions.

Employment in finance, insurance and real estate grew by four percent in 1999, according to Statistics Canada. This sector employs more than 222,000 people, or around nine percent of Toronto’s labor market. The upsurge in demand for wealth management has created strong and expanding opportunities for financial planners and securities brokers. And real estate is rebounding after a slump in the early to mid-’90s.

The prognosis is good for Toronto’s health sector, which was up 9.1 percent in 1999. The city offers the largest concentration of biomedical and biotechnology jobs of any North American metro area. For those directly involved in patient care, the region’s dire need for nurses, radiation therapists, pharmacists and physicians promises rewarding opportunities.

Positions in high tech, health care, finance, banking — even movie making. Toronto has them all. So, bring your talent and ambition to Ontario’s prosperous “place of meeting” and find your True North.

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