- Purchase the complete Expat Arrivals Calgary Guide (PDF)
The province of Alberta is famous for its extensive oil resources, but Calgary has also diversified its economy significantly which, combined with Alberta’s non-restrictive economic policies, has led to a remarkably robust economy.
Job market in Calgary
Despite the oil crash in 2014 and the echoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, economic activity in Calgary still centres around the petroleum industry. Petroleum companies such as BP, EnCana, Imperial Oil, Suncor Energy, Shell, TransCanada and Nexen Inc all have their headquarters in Calgary. That said, while Calgary was once a great place for expats with expertise in the oil and gas sectors, landing a job in this field has become increasingly difficult. However, expats with the right qualifications and skills can also find opportunities in the city’s other industries, including the services, agriculture, IT, tourism and financial sectors.
The growth of Calgary, especially over the past decade, has also had far-reaching effects on the city’s infrastructure, with a considerable number of suburban and inner-city development taking place. This has created plenty of opportunities for those in architecture, urban planning and construction. The population growth in the city has also increased the need for teachers and healthcare professionals.
Additionally, as Calgary seeks to shake its image as the most ‘cultureless’ major Canadian city, there has been considerable investment in media and the arts.
Finding a job in Calgary
Expats who want to work in Calgary must ideally have permanent residence or a work permit linked to a specific job offer before arriving in the city. Many people are fortunate enough to relocate through an intra-company transfer.
For those without a firm job offer, the best way to start the search in Calgary is to consult local job listings online. There are plenty of good job portals and social networking sites, such as LinkedIn, to assist job seekers. Alternatively, expats can also consult a professional recruitment agency to support them.
Work culture in Calgary
Canada has a large and thriving free-market economy, and though there is more government intervention here than in the US, there is far less than in many European countries. Locals tend to be open minded and tolerant, and expat businesspeople can look forward to a welcoming working environment.
Despite its size and diversity, Canada nevertheless has a few consistencies in its business culture, and Calgary is no exception. Canadians value punctuality, and being more than a few minutes late is considered rude. Canadian companies generally have egalitarian management structures. Managers prefer to be seen as part of the team and less as aloof authority figures. Decisions ultimately rest with the senior management, but input across all levels is highly valued.
► Find out more about business etiquette and get some tips on how to be successful in the Canadian workplace in Doing Business in Canada
► Read about the legal requirements before taking up a job offer in Calgary in Work Permits for Canada
"The economy in Calgary is not great at the moment. Alberta has suffered a double-whammy with the falling oil prices and Covid, which have contributed to massive layoffs, unemployment and economic losses across the province. It’s not impossible to find a job, but it may be challenging. Expats need to network as much as possible, and those who really want to move here may have to take a job a few steps lower on the corporate ladder and build their way back up again. Good places to look for jobs are Indeed and LinkedIn."
Read more about South African expat, Catherine's experiences in Calgary.
Are you an expat living in Calgary?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Calgary. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
If you’re thinking about taking out private health insurance, our trusted partner Cigna Global is very aware of all the difficulties that expats can face when it comes to healthcare in a new location, so they have created a range of international health insurance plans specifically designed for expats, which you can tailor exactly to the needs and ensure access to quality care for you and your family.
Sirelo has a network of more than 500 international removal companies that can move your furniture and possessions to your new home. By filling in a form, you’ll get up to 5 quotes from recommended movers. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.