Toronto The….Jobless???????

It’s no secret (especially if you have been following my blog) that I’ve tried my hardest to find work. Recently, I’ve gone as far as applying for openings at Wal-Mart, Metro (a grocery store chain), and Goodwill. These applications were not for information technology positions. They were for any job position.

Despite the effort, I feel sometimes like I’m hitting a brick wall. All this effort yet I can’t find a job? What’s going on? What am I doing wrong?

As I stated in my previous blog post, unemployment is a complex issue to tackle. In that post, I stated that one piece to solving this puzzle is ensuring we have plenty of employers looking for hires and plenty of people ready and willing to work. Unlike what some people might say, the unemployed are not lazy welfare cheats. They want a job. They want to work.

Last weekend, I took some time to try to figure out where this brick wall I was hitting was coming from. It certainly was not from lack of trying, or lack of creativity. It certainly was not from being too rigid in my job search criteria. A 20 year information technology professional applying at a grocery store for any job opening is hardly someone you would accuse of being picky, n’est-ce pas?

I’ve stated in my Kijiji, Craigslist, and other looking-for-a-job advertisements that I wanted a job within Toronto. That’s not an unreasonable request, especially since I don’t drive and do not want to learn to drive and purchase a car in order to get a job. I also love Toronto, despite the recent insanity it’s been going through. I was born here; my greatest life accomplishments (professionally and personally) were in Toronto. Everything I want is pretty much in T.O. Because of my decision to remain here, I decided to do a little research on the employment scene in Toronto.

Sometimes you regret what you ask for.

First of all, I learned Toronto has a higher unemployment rate than the provincial and national average. I couldn’t find the unemployment rate for July, but according to an article in the National Post on June 6th, 2012, Toronto had an unemployment rate last month of 9.5%. Nine point five percent. That’s nearly 1 out of every 10 people out of work. In that same article, Mayor Ford stated the commercial tax rate is too high. That part was not a surprise to me. The last company I worked for moved to the 905 area because it was too expensive to operate in Toronto, much to my chagrin. Immigrants living in Toronto suffer an even worse situation than Canadian-born citizens like myself. An article written by the Toronto Workforce Innovation Group reports immigrants looking for information technology jobs are instead being forced to work at Tim Horton’s. Toronto appears to be losing it’s lustre as a place to find a job.

And it looks like the job recruiters have reached the same conclusion as well. Below are excerpts from the following job opportunities I’ve received via Email:

July 19th, 2012: I saw your resume on a job board. I am currently recruiting for an RPG – Application Developer for a 6 months contract project with IBM Canada – Montreal, QC.

July 10th, 2012: One of our clients has an opportunity for which you may be interested. The job description is outlined below. Technical Consultant – SAP  (EH & S) Duration : 2 months; starting 9th July 2012; close dt : 3rd July 2012 Location : Calgary

July 9th, 2012: Our Client has a need for a Software Applications Engineer – RPG4/ILE in London, Ontario. This company is a Fortune 500 company experiencing significant growth throughout Canada, and offers a competitive compensation package.

July 5th, 2012: Good evening,I have a new ABAP role which just opened up for the Ottawa region for 2 persons. The first starts immediately.  The second starts mid august.

June 19th, 2012: We have an urgent requirement for a SAP BASIS. This is a Contract position based in Calgary, AB. If you are interested in this position, please contact / send me your updated resume.

That’s just the past month alone. I have plenty more where that came from, and it outnumbers the job opportunities I get within Toronto. I even received notices from recruiters asking if I’m interested in moving to the United States, to the United Kingdom, for work.

I’m not ready to be a gypsy yet, travelling from town to town to find work. I’m also not ready to give up on Toronto yet, either. All Toronto needs is solid leadership with a strategy to lure companies back to Toronto again and start creating jobs. Judging from the City of Toronto council’s recent “Who’s In Charge?” moment, however, that needed leadership may not be forthcoming. Even an Email to Mayor Ford by you-know-who asking for job search tips (not a job, just suggestions on how to find work in Toronto) elicited nothing except the following automated response:

Thank you for your email.

As I promised during the mayoralty election, I am dedicated to delivering customer service excellence, creating a transparent and accountable government, reducing the size and cost of government and building a transportation city.

I will continue to work on behalf of the taxpayers to make sure you get the respect you deserve.

This note is to confirm that we have received your email and that we are looking into your matter. 

Please feel free to follow up to check the status of your email.

Thanks again and have a great day.

Yours truly,

Mayor Rob Ford
City of Toronto

We’re all in this together.

Are we really? I, as well as many unemployed people looking for work in Toronto, will believe it when I see it.

Thanks for reading!


2 thoughts on “Toronto The….Jobless???????

  1. We have eerily similar stories, and live in places with eerily similar unemployment problems. I was recently turned down for an overnight job stocking shelves at a supermarket because they wanted someone with “career ambitions”. For stocking shelves. The world has gone crazy, it’s the only explanation I can come up with.

    Like your situation, I’m from here, I want to stay here, but I’m not sure that’s feasible for much longer. The big issue is being able to find and land a job in another area, without actually being in that area to look for jobs. Packing up and moving means more than just moving house, it means leaving your support network behind for the unknown.

    As always, I wish you the best.

    1. That’s a great point. If you have to move, the very network you use to find work is torn up in the process, so you have to rebuild it again. Sometimes you don’t have enough time to rebuild it in case you have to start looking again.

      We both appear to be in a sort of job-search limbo where we are either overqualified or underqualified but never the perfect fit. I have yet to hear back from Wal-mart, even after following up with them recently regarding my job application.

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