With the average price for a detached house hovering just under the $1.2 million range in Toronto and (gulp) $1.8 million in Vancouver, it’s no wonder city folk are turning their eyes towards small towns where they can potentially afford a home. What keeps people chained to the city? Well, for many, there’s a perception that there just aren’t any jobs in rural areas—which, as we’ll see, isn’t true. Here are 10 great careers that are up for grabs across Canada.
This shouldn’t be news to anyone: rural areas are experiencing a critical shortage of physicians. It’s not that Canada necessarily needs more doctors—from 2007 to 2012, the growth of the number of doctors outpaced the growth of the population—but the doctors that are qualified aren’t equitably distributed. While 21 percent of the Canadian population live in rural areas, only nine percent of physicians practice there, meaning there are significant job opportunities available.
Again, Canada doesn’t need more lawyers—big cities like Calgary, Toronto, and Vancouver have more lawyers than they do jobs—but they do need more attorneys in small towns and rural areas. According to one article, the average age of lawyers in small towns in BC range from 52 to 65—and since 75 percent of law students say they plan to work in a big city, smaller population centres run the risk of being underserved in the future. Folks with an interest in building a generalist law practice have great opportunities in a smaller town.
The Canadian Nurses Association is predicting a 60,000-job shortfall in nursing by 2022, with numbers even worse for those who live in northern, remote, and rural communities. As the population ages and nurses retire, demand will grow for nurses and registered practical nurses all over the country.
Website design and development
Ah, the digital age. Any job you can do remotely is perfect for a rural area, and web design or development are ideal work-from-home careers. As long as your area has a reliable internet connection (and that’s something to make sure of before you make a move), you can work from anywhere, on your own schedule and still get opportunities to work on creative, high profile projects. You may have to travel to meet with clients occasionally, but the odd trip into the city sure beats the daily commute.
An aging population means funeral professionals are in high demand, especially in small towns, where there may only be one funeral parlour. In rural areas, 43 percent of funeral directors are expected to retire in the next 10 years. And while the hours can be long and unpredictable, the impact a funeral director has on a community is unparalleled.
Farming and agriculture
Currently, Canada’s agriculture sector is short nearly 60,000 farm workers in primary production, with further shortages in processing facilities. And with Canada being the world’s fifth-largest agricultural exporter, those numbers need to be filled in order to keep up with the $106 billion the sector contributes to the Canadian economy. Although part of the shortage is with seasonal workers, full-time workers are in short supply as well.
Contracting and property maintenance
As more people retire up to their cottages, and as more people choose to commute to cities from further and further away, the demand for contractors and property maintenance workers continues to grow in small towns and rural areas. More than 19 percent of contractors and 20 percent of maintenance workers in rural areas are expected to retire over the next 10 years, so the field’s opening up.
Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics jobs are predicted to be plentiful in the near future, with many sectors—including environmental protection, natural resource management, mining, and biotechnology—just as applicable to rural settings as urban ones.
Support for aging populations
As the population ages and more people retire to cottage country, personal support workers, retirement home workers, and retirement home managers will all be in demand, as will those who work with elderly people in their homes, like diabetes educators, social workers, and personal assistants.
The market for elementary and high school teachers is pretty saturated in major population centres, but if you’re willing to go further afield, you may be able to get off the supply teaching merry-go-round quicker. There are particularly interesting opportunities available at First Nations schools across the country.