In our recent Voice of the Workforce survey, we surveyed more than 2,500 engineering professionals from around the world about their career aspirations and confidence in their sector. One of the biggest findings was that just under half of engineers (49%) would like to move abroad at some point in their career. At a sector level, those who work in maritime are the second most willing to travel (56% said they would consider making the move), closely following those in renewables (59%). So where would they move and why?

A quarter of engineers who work in maritime stated that North America would be their preferred destination. And out of these people, 71% said that they would choose to move to Canada. But what makes Canada such a desirable location and what can it offer the marine engineer seeking to move there?

The Canadian lifestyle

When asked what the primary reason for moving abroad for work is, 34% stated the most influential factor would be a lifestyle change. Of course a country as vast and diverse as Canada boasts a wide range of lifestyles so we’re going to focus on an area in eastern Canada which is particularly suited to maritime professionals: Halifax, the capital province of Nova Scotia.

The Halifax appeal is definitely driven by lifestyle, afforded by the weather, landscape and friendly inhabitants. Spend the morning in Halifax, the afternoon in nearby Wolfville and wander to Yarmouth for the evening, and you’ll experience three different climates each suited to different sporting activities. Combine the outdoorsy lifestyle and chance for a hike after work, with it’s small town feel and local coffee houses and you’ve got a great place to live, especially if you like variety.

Pay expectations and living costs

Another top factor in the decision to move abroad, as highlighted in our research, is better than average pay and conditions. Of course, as well as an enhanced lifestyle, promising pay rates and a good cost of living are undoubtedly important factors to consider when making such a big decision. So how does Canada, and more specifically, Halifax fair? Louise Lees, Recruitment Consultant, Matchtech, comments:

“With its low cost of living, Halifax is one of the go-to cities to relocate to in Canada. In Halifax, you could get a 4-5 bed detached house with over an acre of land for the same price as you would for a 3 bed detached house in southern England or a 1-2 bed apartment in more expensive areas in Canada, such as Vancouver, Toronto and Ottawa.”

Career progression prospects

Within our Voice of the Workforce research, we found that 65% of marine engineers from around the world believe there is a skills shortage in their sector. Whilst this can create a headache for employers struggling to recruit the engineering professionals they need, it does create opportunities for skilled marine engineers who can have their pick of the projects they want to work on.


Louise describes the career-defining opportunities available in Halifax right now:

“A historical and integral port to the Royal Canadian Navy, Halifax is the centre point for delivering the next fleet of combat vessels for the Royal Canadian Navy. As such, those with experience in production and engineering are particularly sought after.”

“Maritime is an industry which demands a willingness to move and with Halifax being the hub for a historical maritime project, what better incentive to take the leap and make a permanent move to Canada.”

Making the move to Canada

Whether you’re considering moving abroad for a contract or for a permanent role, it is a big decision to make. Researching the jobs available, the area where you might make home and the associated living costs you’ll need to budget for will certainly help you make an informed decision.

Furthermore, speaking to someone who has already made the move could give you an even clearer picture of your new potential life.

Stephen, a Senior Project Manager, made the move to Canada from England 7 months ago. Here’s how he found the transition:

“I started my new role in mid-August 2016 after moving to Halifax at the end of July last year from Hampshire, England. The transition wasn’t difficult; it’s actually not a big culture shift to England. There are, of course, some differences in banking, medical and a couple of traffic rules.”

“If you like being outdoors, there are plenty of seasonal activities that people can get involved in, which is a great way to make use of the winter months. In fact, that’s the best way to cope with the winter. I don’t regret my choice to move one bit and plan to stay here indefinitely.”

For some time, Matchtech has been helping maritime professionals from around the world make the move to Canada, including English-speaking engineers from Romania, Australia, Poland and the UK. If you’re considering starting a new career in Canada, Louise explains how we can help:

“Aside from finding you a great job that’s right for you, we can help advise you on all aspects of your move. The companies we have positions available with offer very attractive relocation packages so we’ve got you covered for everything you need, from private medical insurance for the family to getting flights secured for your pet dog. If you’re looking to relocate, it’s never been easier.”

To view the current maritime opportunities in Canada, please visit our jobs pages or contact Louise Lees on +44 (0)1489 898136 or via email

If you would like to find out more about the confidence of engineers within maritime or other sectors, read our Voice of the Workforce Report.

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