Having a civil engineering degree is rarely a ticket to joblessness in any developed economy. This applies especially in the case of developed countries with enormously high demand for exactly the kind of work that civil engineering is all about across multiple sectors. Canada is just that kind of country.
If you’ve graduated with a degree in civil engineering, starting a very successful career will require plenty of hard work, but is far from difficult. Let’s cover some of the key professional fields and employment prospects that are available for you in this enormous and highly productive country.
The general picture for civil engineering in Canada
Canada not only has plenty of employment opportunities to offer its domestically trained engineering graduates, the country even imports thousands of foreign engineers annually to fulfill growing demand. These newly minted professionals cover many fields, such as electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, industrial fields and in manufacturing as well.
In the civil engineering sector in particular, demand is still high enough for employment prospects to not be excessively competitive for graduates or junior engineers, and many fields will require their expertise in the growing Canadian economy, according to research from Job Bank, the Canadian government’s information portal for employment in the country.
Geography and growth for Canadian civil engineering
Employment opportunities between now and projections out to 2028 are particularly favorable for engineers hoping to start a career in the western provinces of the country. These areas include British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Other provinces and territories with great civil engineering career prospects are the Yukon Territory, Quebec, New Brunswick and oddly perhaps, the tiny little province of Prince Edward Island.
As a highly developed, prosperous and growing post-industrial society, Canada has many fields in which civil engineering is necessary. What’s more, two other features of Canada make the country particularly unique among industrialized nations as an engineering employment haven. The first of these is Canada’s immense size, and the second is its unusual status as a higlhy developed nation with enormous natural resources production.
Specifically, Canada’s vast landscape is still being stitched together by a growing network of roads, rail networks and other public infrastructure projects, particularly towards the west and north of the country. These will continue to create heavy demand for years to come.
On top of these needs for the country as a whole, Canada’s enormous mining, forestry, petroleum and natural gas extraction projects also require much further infrastructure, road, pipeline and other developments. All of these are also expected to contribute to a consistent demand for civil engineers, among other types of engineers.
Available careers for civil engineers
There are numerous different specialized job titles that civil engineering graduates in Canada can immerse themselves in career-wise. Many of these relate to the country’s especially large natural resources sectors. They include the following, as classified under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) system of Canada:
- Civil engineering
- Hydraulic engineering
- Construction project engineering
- Geodetic engineering
- Environmental engineering
- Structural engineering
- Highway engineering
- Transportation engineering
These are just some of the more obvious and major categories for potential growth in Canada’s economy during the next decade. There are also others that feature strongly with government or private employment at the municipal, provincial, territorial and federal levels.
Average salaries by civil engineering NOC category and region
The kinds of salaries that civil engineering students can expect after graduation in Canada depend enormously on the specific civil engineering-related specialty they enter, the type of employment they seek (private or public) and the industry they gravitate towards.
Different types of civil engineers in provinces such as Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan or territories like the Yukon can look forward to salaries as high as $100,000+ per year even early into their employment. This applies especially to professionals who work in more remotely located areas for the country’s enormous natural resource extraction industry.
Engineers with seniority, career experience and specialized training can even look forward to salaries in the range of hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in some sectors of the economy or with certain companies, especially in the natural resources and petroleum industries.
Civil engineering graduates looking for work in the more urbanized regions of the south of Canada and in its major cities can possibly expect lower salaries of below $70,000 per year, but better access to amenities and urban living options if they want to start a family.
The degree of specialization in a high-demand area of civil engineering will definitely improve salary and employment prospects, as will the type of degree that a graduate has. In this latter qualification, civil engineering graduates with a bachelor’s degree may have to compete more forcefully than those that also have a master’s degree or doctorate in a specialty field related to civil engineering.
Who hires civil engineers in Canada?
The range of industries, business interests and government departments that hire civil engineering graduates is very broad. As we made clear above, this is a high-demand profession with many, many applications to all kinds of economic and business projects, particularly in a sprawling energy resource exporting country like Canada. Because of this, you as a new graduate can find yourself enjoying potential job prospects with entities like:
Local, regional and provincial governments: The governments of Canada’s cities, remote northern settlements and provinces have no shortage of infrastructure projects they need to develop further. These smaller governments may be shorter on funds than some corporations or the federal government, but if the need for their regional infrastructure plans is somehow economically or nationally critical, both corporate and federal subsidies will definitely appear. Being hired by them can entail a very long, well paid and stable career path.
Specialized industries: In Canada’s extremely advanced and well developed economy, hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign and domestic corporate investment are being poured into many urban and rural construction projects. This funding applies especially to road, transport, bridge and facilities development for the oil and gas extraction industries. Pipelines are also being built across the country and all of these sectors absolutely need civil engineers.
Surveying and architectural services: Services offering surveying and architectural planning for government and corporate interests are a growth industry in Canada’s growing economic landscape. Civil engineers will also be in demand for these projects, especially for geophysical surveying, mapping, building inspections and planning of new rail, road and pipeline routes.
Developing your own civil engineering career
If you want to study civil engineering in Canada or seek the certification necessary for a career in the country, especially as a foreign graduate hoping to be recruited, Canada’s governments offer a number of programs that help migrant professionals integrate themselves with careers in-country. These government initiatives include:
- Federal Skilled Trades Program
- Federal Skilled Worker Program
- Canadian Experience Class
The provinces and territories of Canada also have their own regional provincial nominee programs that can help fast-track foreign or domestic civil engineering graduates. These are particularly notable in Alberta, Manitoba, British Columbia and Saskatchewan. You can apply for these programs through each province’s government website.
Finally, if you’d like to help streamline the prospects of your own civil engineering career for rapid recruitment, you might want to consider the professional private support of SSA Group. We are a Toronto and Vancouver-based construction recruitment agency that specializes in helping civil engineers find the careers that are ideal for them in terms of both salary and employment benefits.