Sh*t Canadian Salaries have me feeling Demotivated

I've complained about it before, but holy fck are Canadian salaries abysmal across the goddamn board. How the hell do the Big 4 accounting firms get by with paying such sht wages in this country. All the Big 4 Strategy arms pay absolutely awful ($60-70k CAD compared to $80-90k USD for the same f*cking work), the only firms that pay market (MBB) have one office (Toronto) they actively hire to. 

The irony is that Canadian offices work closely, sometimes on the same projects, as the US counterpart, and yet get shafted. especially in Big Four Strategy arms. The All-In at Big 4 Canada is $70-80k and the verified equivalent is $100-$120k. 

On top of that, most consulting firms don't even consider the Canadian market until the MBA level even though some work on the same client.

With all this, I'm feeling incredibly deflated and demotivated. I wish I had been born in a country that offered non-sh*t paying jobs for educated positions. I imagine a few of you will be like "well, you could be worse. Unemployed, in a labour-intensive job, etc." - Well, I studied four years to not be in a bad position. I did my research thoroughly, but I can't change external factors like how consulting firms won't easily sponsor Canadian talent when the US market has an ungodly number of UG Consultants at their disposal. 

Comments (29)

Apr 29, 2022 - 12:18pm
generic_consultant23, what's your opinion? Comment below:

For "high pay" in consulting in Canada, MBB/Kearney/OW are really the only firms that will have >$100K TC out of undergrad. ZS Associates also pays well if you're interested in pharma. The big 4 strategy arms barely even exist in Canada (S& and EYP don't do undergrad recruitment to my knowledge in Canada and have very small Canadian teams overall). Deloitte S&O (or whatever it's called now) is a mile behind on comp.

It's definitely tough. You have people from schools all across the country (and even Canadians at schools abroad) applying to those 5 firms for basically one single office. 

  • Prospect in Consulting
Apr 29, 2022 - 2:06pm

Monitor Deloitte & EY-Parthenon pay $65-75k for their TO roles with all-in at an abysmal $85k. Despite working on the same clients as US Counterparts and and earning the equivalent of half (pre-tax) and probably less than half post-tax. 

The predicament above is why I'm so demotivated. Unless I grow a second brain, or luck out and somehow land one of the five companies that pay market wages in this entire country, I get shafted for being born in this country. Makes no sense....

May 2, 2022 - 6:48pm
BayConsultant, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Wrote below but S& in Canada is a 50-person team that will grow to 60 by end of this year. Associate comp is 80k+20% out of undergrad

May 3, 2022 - 8:42am
generic_consultant23, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Problem with ACN and Big 4 (outside of S& it seems, per other comments in this thread) is that growth in comp is lower. Doesn't matter if you're looking to jump after 2 years in consulting, but if you want to stay in for the medium to longer term, you start seeing a major gap at the Manager level. MBB / Kearney / OW will have you at >300K CAD as an EM for reference.

  • Prospect in Consulting
Apr 29, 2022 - 2:07pm

This is the reason why many young adults in Canada live with their parents until their mid or late 20s when they can afford to move out since their starts wages are god-awful in this country. 

Apr 29, 2022 - 3:55pm
m_1, what's your opinion? Comment below:

For real, you have decent detached homes (nothing crazy fancy) routinely going for over $1.5M in the *suburbs* of Toronto (~1 hour out of the city).

Exactly. Almost all my close friends that "did well" had to leave Canada to do well unfortunately. You simply can not create wealth when salaries are half of what they are in the US + 2x COL...

Most Helpful
  • PM in HF - Other
May 1, 2022 - 12:46pm

Creating wealth is a US mindset similar to you and your friends I made same decision. I think people are crazy to live in Toronto.

But many are at the same bank/firm 10 years later, bought a house for 900k when it sounded insane and worth 1.8mm now and using the gains to renovate/move to bigger home. Have pensions/TFSAs that do better than 401ks. No fears around parents medical costs. Like the diversity and do not the police issues of the USA.

That all said they are still insane to live in York Mills for the price of Ausin, TX.

May 1, 2022 - 11:10am
LP_Man, what's your opinion? Comment below:

OP. Please read up on TN visas for Canadians. I had similar sentiment being Canadian and if you're in consulting a "Management Consultant" is a TN qualified role. You can work fun the US indefinitely with a TN visa and get the firm to sponsor you for an h1b to eventually get permanent residency. I literally just got the h1-b this year.

May 1, 2022 - 11:59am
LP_Man, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I did not come to the us as a consultant. I spent a few years working in Canada then made the switch.

  • PM in HF - Other
May 1, 2022 - 12:41pm

Gonna fill you in a secret…
Canada pays sad low salaries especially big4 firms. Yet 10 years into their careers all these people are doing much better than vast majority of the population . Why, cause like Europe its super cliquey and hard to get into their careers/industries later on. Turnover at these firms is real low compared to the USA. 
Your upside maybe lower, but literally after you get past year1 your comfort level gets more and more.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
May 1, 2022 - 12:46pm

I thought senior managers at the Big 4 only get paid like 250k

  • PM in HF - Other
May 1, 2022 - 12:48pm

They do, but banks/consulting firms run the country. You want to be a partner at a smaller firm its coming a small pool of people, they have all the connections etc..Know one guy who did it and basically has way easier hours/lifestyle now.

Again Canada is not a FIRE mindset.

  • Prospect in Consulting
May 1, 2022 - 1:36pm

Thanks for the counterpoint. I would argue that being paid substantially lower salaries would adversely affect my performance. Especially in accounting where overtime is not only expected, you basically earn the equivalent of below minimum wage with the average hours worked. I understand the view that working at a Big4 gives a pedigree and opens doors, but I find it appalling that those same doors are open in the US (or equivalent) with no discount in salary. 

My view is pretty simple - comfort in life is dependent on reaching a threshold of monetary wealth to build a life from. Even securing a down payment for a home or affording a car can take years of planning at such abysmal salary levels. Hell, if the salary doesn't increase at the rate of inflation (or housing prices), then there's a good portion of young professionals that just won't have the luxury of affording a home unless they take on inheritance or other means of income. I'm not sure how comfortable some can be without having the independence to either move or not pay rent (mortgage instead) in their 20s. 

  • PM in HF - Other
May 1, 2022 - 2:13pm

Again, way more competition in the USA from various industries, more turnover, more people leaving for paycuts to startup/tech etc later.

Many US firms have tried to penetrate into Canada and pay higher salaries before and yet the banks/consulting/pensions reign supreme. 
Again if you really think you will not be able to afford all that in 5 years time not sure what to tell that is a very jaded view.

Again US culture is pay high salaries and grind juniors like mad. Canadian banks/firms want every jr to be a sr employee one day, of course many do not choose or make it. But they usually end up at one of the other top 100 companies in the country and have a wayyy larger head start than rest.

May 3, 2022 - 8:45am
generic_consultant23, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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