Nizam Ibrahim lives in Vancouver but commutes to Calgary, where he rents a two-bedroom apartment in a nice part of town. Despite added monthly expenses of more than $3,000, he still averages $15 an hour more than any job he could get in Vancouver.
“It’s a bit tiring, but to enjoy any kind of lifestyle in Vancouver it’s a compromise I need to make,” said the IBM IT consultant. “I’ve saved more in the last two years working in Alberta and traveling back and forth than I ever did working in Vancouver.”
Recruitment experts predict with its high living costs, skyrocketing real estate and grossly inadequate salaries, more Vancouverites will flee to where salaries are higher and commensurate with their skills and inflation.
“We’re facing an exodus,” said Feras Elkhalil of the WPCG recruitment firm. “We don’t want a brain drain out of Vancouver. We don’t want to lose talented people. If you want good talent, you need to pay for it.”
He added Toronto salaries are at least 15 per cent higher, and 20 per cent greater in Calgary and Edmonton where taxes and real estate prices are lower.
“Employers are not keeping up,” he warned. “I fear they’re turning a blind eye, saying it doesn’t apply to them and we’ll have people frustrated at the cost of living and (foreign investment) driving up costs of real estate. Young families will say ‘let’s sell what we have here, get a better mortgage and make more money somewhere else.’”
– From ‘BC facing a brain drain‘, Erica Bulman, 24 Hours, 17 Jul 2011 [hat-tip to Brent]
The math for Ibrahim is remarkable. It appears that, given the pay differential and his cited extra expenses, he only profits from the commute if he works more than 200 hours per month. Perhaps there are also career advantages.
That aside, the main point of the piece is sound: That income:RE_price ratio in Vancouver is forcing some people away. – vreaa