As a main economic hub for the province of Québec and Canada as a whole, the people of Montréal and its metro area contribute a sizeable part of the GDP, both on the provincial and national level. The makeup of the sectors and their significance for the economy of the city closely resemble what you might already be familiar with from other metropolises of westernized countries. While there are still significant numbers of people working in Montréal’s industry and food-producing sectors — especially the agri-food processing sector — most people working in Montréal today have found employment in the services sector.
In the minds of many people today, the concept of working in Montréal is almost inextricably connected to one of the three major sectors of the city and its metro region. There are of course many sectors and trades you could choose to venture into, for example the city’s booming film industry, banking and finances, its cutting-edge nanotechnology sector, or environmental technologies. However, the following have probably helped give Montréal the great reputation it has today:
The aerospace sector is arguably the one the city is most well-known for around the world, with more than 240 companies, some of them major global players, working in Montréal and neighboring regions. The products and services offered cover a wide range, reaching from commercial flight simulators to plane manufacturing to the coordination of the Canadian space program, to name just a few. The region not only has various training programs and educational facilities to meet the demand for young blood working in Montréal’s aerospace sector, but also boasts more than ten aerospace research and development centers. These factors further contribute to making the city one of the three main aerospace centers in the world. Working in Montréal is thus probably one of the wisest career steps for any expat specializing in this sector.
In recent years, the IT/ICT sector has given aerospace a run for its money, so to speak. Within this sector, it has primarily been the video game developers opening up shop in Montréal which have seen the most rapid growth, making it one of the city’s main industries today. Video game enthusiasts and programmers from around the globe will tip their hats towards the studios and publishers from Montréal, among them many world leaders, whose numbers are rising almost constantly. This is hardly surprising, both with the unprecedented popularity of gaming and seeing how the government has heavily subsidized this sector with tax incentives and financial aids.
Life sciences and health technologies are further staples in the diverse economic environment of Montréal. The many excellent universities and institutes in the city and its metro region offer classes and programs in nearly every specialist field of life sciences. Pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and medical technology as well as research facilities specializing in neurology, cardiology, and immunology are all represented in the metro region, making working in Montréal a feasible and interesting option for many a researcher and highly specialized expert.
Seeing how Montréal is not only a major city in regard to its economic prowess, but also the quality and quantity of its tertiary educational institutions, expats interested in working in Montréal should expect to face considerable competition on the job market. Adding to this, the many special requirements to be fulfilled by anyone thinking of working in Montréal temporarily — we have listed them on page two of this article — may pose further obstacles.
Thankfully, the fierce competition on the job market does not apply to every profession. If you have expertise in one of the trades not enough people in Montréal have taken a shine to, thus creating a labor shortage, you might be able to improve your opportunities and speed up the process of acquiring a work permit.
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