“Recruitment to Vancouver for skilled health professionals is nearly impossible. I’m leaving, too.”

“I work for/with a large health organization in the lower mainland. Here is the bottom line:
Recruitment to Vancouver for skilled health professionals is nearly impossible. For very skilled, technical, health professions, out-of-city recruitment just doesn’t happen. If they don’t already live here, they aren’t coming. They can make more money ($5-$7/hour more, depending on the profession) in Alberta, with housing costs way lower to live in Edmonton or Calgary. For people with families and/or student loans, Vancouver is a non-starter. Our pay here is relatively low compared to other jurisdictions, and our cost of living is enormous. Plus, our employment scene really isn’t that great here for spouses – yes, there are jobs, but the professional ranks here are pretty thin. We don’t build stuff in Vancouver – in fact, I don’t know *what* it is we actually do here!
Yes, Vancouver is a pretty city with water and trees and mountains, but guess what – you can’t eat the scenery and more young families (the ones you want to recruit for the long haul) do the math and say ‘better value elsewhere’.
I’m leaving too – just got back from a weekend in Seattle and my wife and I said “and why do we stay in Vancouver?” We have five university degrees (three Bachelors, two Masters, one PhD in progress – in health sciences and engineering, in case you were wondering) and we can’t wait to pull the pin to move to a place where we can have a house of our own and be around people that do more than just talk about real estate.
As an aside, the bigger problem with real estate in this city is that it has turned the culture into one where everyone wants to be rich, without actually doing anything. Go to a city where people care about actually doing real work, creating value, building things….wow – what a difference in energy! More than anything, that is what Vancouver lacks, and unless that attitude changes, Vancouver will be condemned to also-ran economic status and will continue its status as an economic and cultural backwater.”

‘Vancouver in the Rearview’ at VREAA 25 Mar 2012 12:01pm

16 responses to ““Recruitment to Vancouver for skilled health professionals is nearly impossible. I’m leaving, too.”

  1. Basement Suite

    “We have five university degrees (three Bachelors, two Masters, one PhD in progress”

    and a partridge in a pear tree… Seriously, I agree. I also spent a good part of my life in school, am making decent money and have a lot of money saved/invested, and check out my username on this blog. Mind you, I could RENT a nicer place, and more and more I think that is the answer. I don’t like paying high rent, I’d rather buy, but that only applies in a normal RE market. In today’s market where you’d have to be a lunatic to buy, I guess it’s nigh time to rent a nicer place with some privacy. But I take your point about people not moving here. It’s hard to leave any city one has established themselves in, Vancouver is nothing special in that, but not impossible as you point out. Good luck and I hope you get the lifestyle all that education should have earned you.

    • Basement Suite

      P.s. To be clearer, moving away from your home is hard but not impossible even if it’s here in the “BPOE”, but NOT moving TO Vancouver at this point is a no brainer for anyone looking to move to/within Canada. Why move to the lowest median income/housing cost ratio city on Earth (or second, whatever it is today)? Answer: don’t!

    • Good posts Rearview & Basement Suite.

      I hear your comments and agree with them. If make a decent income and are single or have no kids, Vancouver is a fun city and the cost of living is tolerable. If you have kids, Vancouver is a much tougher city in which to have a reasonable lifestyle. If I didn’t have close family ties here, I’d almost certainly move down to the US. The lifestyle down south is much better, the careers much more vibrant, and there are many more opportunities for motivated professionals.

      “Will continue its status as an economic and cultural backwater.”

      Actually, I’m not sure I agree with that statement. Culturally, Vancouver is not doing too badly. In many ways it is a more culturally interesting city than (to pick a comparable one) Seattle. But of course it pales in comparison to NYC, Boston, SF, etc.

      • Basement Suite

        Thanks Jeff. I haven’t been a big fan of the US, but these times certainly make it look a lot more attractive.

  2. Basement, you really should rent a better place. From what I can tell you don’t have kids yet, and you have great income. You should really enjoy this time before it all gets crazy. Moving can’t be that hard. I think renting a good place will make waiting out the storm a lot more pleasant.

    Zerodown and Mrs. Zerodown, BSc., MSc., CFA, BASc., CLS, BCLS

    • Basement Suite

      Correct on both fronts, though expecting the tax man to take his big bite shortly :-|. I do agree with you, what I want is privacy. I assume a concrete tower gives the best chance at some sound proofing (short of a whole house), so that’s what I have in mind now. I was delaying the family thing myself in large part due to this bubble and my stubbornness about renting a nice/expensive place, before buying. But I think you are right, one can only wait so long and rent is a good option. Thanks for the advice. Nice degree list yourselves by the way it almost wrapped to the next line :-O.

  3. I still think Vancouver has always been this way to some degree — the westside was vaulted stratospheric in the early 1990s with (guess what). So in my view it’s a matter of magnitude but the underlying quiescent anecdote will remain apres le bubble pop.

  4. Nonsense! My wife and I both work in healthcare, both here in Vancouver, PHSA and VCH. We are currently experiencing a flood of applications from our local talent, the USA (especially), and around the world. It is a very competitive hiring environment. Local nursing schools are producing far too many graduates and few have employment offers upon graduation. My wife tells me that many of our medical school graduates are also having trouble. But please, don’t take my word for it, simply look at the career websites at each of our health regions and you will see very few postings. And though we only have 4 degrees between us, we know of what we speak. My wife was recently part of a team recruiting for a new pediatrician at the Children’s, MANY applicants, hired a physician from Johns Hopkins. Hey, I know it doesn’t fit with the “message” on this blog, but this is the true reality.
    nts

    • We are personally bearish the market, and think that housing prices in Vancouver are overvalued; we think we make that clear to readers.
      But, when it comes to posting anecdotes, we genuinely look for any stories about local RE… from bulls or bears… we do not attempt to massage stories selectively to project a ‘message’. I know that may seem incredible to some, but, believe me, there just aren’t that many personal stories out there from those bullish Vancouver RE. In fact, we repeatedly call out for stories from bulls… Please let us know the tales of people coming here, buying, making money in RE, etc.
      So, allen, we’ll headline your story, it’s an interesting one, thanks.

      • Thanks VREAA. Yikes, didn’t mean to sound like a RE bull! My family and close friends are all very bearish on RE, just bullish on healthcare recruitment I suppose. I really don’t know what is going on with occupations in general here in Vancouver, but I will keep you up-to-date regarding healthcare and its potential impact on RE. Recently, the PHSA implemented a hiring freeze, with some limited exceptions. At the very least, this will limit immigration to the Vancouver area in my small corner of the world.

    • but how many actually move?

    • After talking to some interns in my travels it does appear that allen’s comment has some corroboration; nonetheless as a bright mind once said, “the plural of anecdote isn’t data”.

      I do like to think the singular of data can be anecdote! Net interprovincial migration remains negative last quarter so highlighting a few “Screw you guys I’m leaving” anecdotes might have some credence.

    • Unfortunately, your comments do fit the message of this blog- one being the lack of employment/income opportunity for local professionals in a high cost of living region thus supporting the continual out-migration of people to economically more attractive cities.

  5. There is one thing I don’t understand about house prices.

    The bubble is growing. Deflate or burst, it will make a lot of people unhappy. Rulers will need the police to stand between them and the angry lemmings (look at Greece and now Spain).

    Now, question:

    How can a police officer afford Vancouver? What is the motive to join the police or any other form of collaboration with a regime that does not provide enough to cover basic needs?

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