Nova Scotia, The Labour Shortage and my Frustrations

Recently I was approached about a job with a company in Nova Scotia and throughout the process I realized one area (of many) that is the cause of our labor shortage here in Nova Scotia, some companies are cheap. In the process of discussing my possible employment, or a normal job as I would like to call it, the organization seeking my expertise would not even negotiate, they offered the equivalent salary for such a role that would have been paid in 1998 (or as my wife would say “is reasonable for someone living in Tajikistan”).

This lack of negotiation and unwillingness to loosen the purse strings is forcing people to flee Nova Scotia to other provinces where most companies understand that it is crucial to obtain and retain talent by offering competitive wages. Whilst looking at various aspects of my own opportunity I came to find that the company based in Nova Scotia was not even willing to exceed 50% of the average wage for the role I was being sought for. No wonder we are experiencing a labour shortage in this province, Nova Scotia companies are forcing people leave if they want to provide their families with good lives and to get ahead (or at least to keep up).

While everything in society today gets more expensive, some companies in Nova Scotia are failing to keep up with current economic requirements. Nova Scotia is no exception to the increasing cost of living; contrary to what a lot of people hear the cost of living in say Ontario (just an example) is not far off the cost here and in some instances it’s cheaper.

Companies need to be more aggressive on all fronts if they wish to excel in the current economic climate. Gone are the days where people work at a company because they lack options, they like the area, social capital, etc. People are mobile, versatile and looking for more. Everyone wants to get ahead; why stay in Nova Scotia when you can go in many directions (west, south or east- like I did) and earn much more money for better working conditions, benefits and money? Wake up Nova Scotia your people are leaving and taking the future with them!

While my personal situation is different as I do a lot of independent consulting for companies on two continents, I must say this has been an aggravating experience and one I don’t wish to repeat.

Companies in Nova Scotia need to get with the times because at the rate we are going Nova Scotia is going to become nothing more than one big retirement community.


  1. While I’m not in the IT industry, I can appreciate your frustrations with Nova Scotian employers. I’m a designated accountant with an MBA, who has extensive experience restructuring and managing companies. In Halifax, I was barely able to make the bills. After rent, student loans, car payments, and other essentials I was broke. After earning my accounting designation, I stayed and struggled in Nova Scotia for 3 years until I decided to leave.

    I know work in the Caribbean and earn three times what I earned in Nova Scotia. My cost of living is far more here than it is in Halifax; but its relative. In Halifax, my wages were extremely low and the cost of living is high. With the exception buying a house, I believe Nova Scotia is the most expensive province to live. While in absolute terms things are lower than the rest of the country, your wages is so low there that the percentage of income spent to just pay the bills is higher than anywhere else in Canada.

    Most of my friends who I went to university with have left the province. For those that returned back home, they left because of limited opportunities.

    I don’t hold out much hope for Nova Scotia to get its act together because I believe there is a malaise that covers the province and fosters the “can’t do” attitude that is so prevalent in the province, which makes me very sad.

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