With 7 post-secondary institutions in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region, businesses have unprecedented access to skilled talent. There are 100,000 enrolled students, the region is teeming with young talent with the know-how to get the job done. Research agrees: 89% of employers in Alberta are highly satisfied with the skills and work quality of post-secondary graduates. Alberta’s primary and secondary (kindergarten to grade 12) schools are also regarded as the best in the world.


Canada’s rich background attracts millions of international students each year. The growing interest in Canada’s technological evolution is apparent in its post-secondary institutions. Canadian universities saw a 25% increase in international applications in 2017-2018 and Canada now ranks as the world’s 4th most popular destination for international students.

The top reasons international students choose to study in Canada are:

  • The quality of the Canadian education system
  • Canada’s reputation as a tolerant and non-discriminatory society
  • Canada’s reputation as a safe country

First generation newcomers make up 23% of the Edmonton Metropolitan Region’s population, creating diverse, welcoming and vibrant communities and workplaces.

Canada’s robust immigration system reflects the need to meet Canada’s demographic and labour market demands. People from around the world have made the Edmonton Metropolitan Region their home, bringing unique talents and expertise to our growing economy.

Canada’s Global Skills Strategy makes it easier for businesses to attract the talent needed to succeed in the global marketplace. Part of this strategy, the Global Talent Stream allows employers to bring top international talent to Canada quickly. Eligible foreign workers with employer-approved applications can receive work permits within two weeks.


The Edmonton Metropolitan Region is the second youngest metro region in Canada. The median age is 36 years old. 

The region was also named the top community in Canada for youth and youth work by Youthful Cities in 2019.

Webinar – Advantage Canada: Attracting & retaining international talent for your business

On October 20, 2020 Edmonton Global hosted a webinar – Advantage Canada: Attracting and retaining international talent for your business.  Attendees heard from a range of panelists who shared practical solutions for US and international companies looking to move teams to Canada, or establish a presence in Canada as an entry point to North America.

Attendees learned:

  • How Edmonton Global can connect businesses with the right people and organizations to support you in setting up a presence in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region
  • How the Edmonton region can offer solutions to help organizations access international skilled talent through Canada’s immigration programs 
  • The advantages of doing business in the Edmonton region and how combining top talent with a friendly and inclusive region will contribute to your company’s growth 

Canada’s Global Skills Strategy

Employers want to attract top talent to work for their company, and they want a fast and predictable process to do this. To help employers find these highly skilled workers faster, the Government of Canada introduced the Global Skills Strategy. The strategy features faster application processing times, work permit exemptions and enhanced customer service.

Global Skills Strategy Process Map

Global Talent Fact Sheet

Post-Graduate Work Permits for International Students

The Government of Canada provides the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program as part of its efforts to attract international students and retain them as skilled workers. The program provides an open work permit, which allows international graduates to work for any Canadian employer in any industry without the requirement of a Canadian job offer at the time of applying.

Leading Post Secondary Institutions

  • University of Alberta

    A prestigious institution known for its research and development capabilities, UAlberta has strengths in engineering, computer science and artificial intelligence (AI). It attracts top-notch talent and leading minds, including professor Richard Sutton, an AI expert and co-leader of Deepmind Edmonton.

    By the numbers:  

    • 38,311 students from 148 countries
    • Ranked 81 out of 19,777 universities worldwide
    • Leading research across faculties in over 100 institutes and centres
    • $12.3 billion annual impact on Alberta’seconomy
    • 388 undergraduate programs
    • 500 graduate programs
  • Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

    The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) is the largest provider of apprenticeship training in Canada, serving as a key talent pipeline for the skilled trades and manufacturing sectors. In order to ensure students are well-prepared for the workforce, NAIT pairs with the region’s industries to ensure training is relevant to needs and trends.

    By the numbers:

    • 120 certificate, diploma, applied degrees and degree programs
    • 34 registered trade programs
    • 16,200 students
    • 9,600 apprentices
  • NorQuest College

    Specializing in health studies, NorQuest College has the largest health care aide program and one of the largest practical nurse programs in Canada. They are a key asset to the health and life sciences sectors in the region.

    By the numbers:

    • 21 career credentials and 7 foundational programs
    • 17,592 students
    • 64% of students born outside of Canada in 2016-17  
  • MacEwan University

    This student-centric institution boasts a highly creative and hands-on teaching environment. MacEwan’s goal is to be the top undergraduate university in Canada and they are well on their way.

    By the numbers:

    • 65 programs including 8 bachelor programs, 2 applied degree programs, and 43 diploma and certificate programs
    • 19,351 students, of which 1,375 are international students
  • Athabasca University

    Canada’s leading digital-first university, Athabasca University is a public, doctoral-level research institution serving students online. It provides expertise in business, nursing and counseling, with some of the largest programs in Canada.

    By the numbers:

    • 43,000 students
    • One of  the largest business schools in Canada with over 14,000 students
    • MBA program was the first university degree program in the world to be delivered online beginning in 1994
    • Over 850 courses in more than 55 undergraduate and graduate programs are offered in the arts, science, health, and professional disciplines
  • Concordia University

    Since 1921, Concordia University of Edmonton has played an important role in Alberta’s educational history, offering studies in arts, science, education, language and business, focusing on education.

    By the numbers:

    • 45 majors and minors
    • 2 after-degree programs and 3 masters degrees
  • Kings University

    King’s is a Christian post-secondary institution providing liberal arts programs taught by world-class and national award-winning professors. They receive top rankings and national recognition for student-faculty engagement, a supportive campus, and high quality of teaching.

    By the numbers

    • 910 students
    • 24 programs
    • More than 650 courses


Industry connectivity 

All regional institutions have strong connections with local businesses and industries. NAIT conducts surveys with local employers to ensure that their programs align with industry needs and 94% of their current research projects partner with industry. At the University of Alberta, an engineering co-op partners over 1,400 students with employers each year to help them gain real-world experience.


The Canada-Alberta Job Grant is a training program where an employer applies on behalf of their employee(s) for eligible training costs. The government will supply up anywhere from 60% to 100% of the costs depending on the circumstances. 

Business Spotlight – Helping you find the talent you need


Energy Job Shop(EJS) is connecting industry to millions of oil and gas workers looking to find gainful employment in the transitioning oil industry. The emerging renewable energy sector is only beginning, and Energy Job Shop is aiming to connect these job seekers with not only oil & gas jobs, but solar, nuclear, and green energy, both locally, and internationally. EJS offers free educational resources and thousands of free energy job listings which are added daily.

Based out of the Edmonton region, EJS reaches more than 5 million energy job seekers every month.


MobSquad makes starting a virtual subsidiary in Canada easy for US companies – enabling companies to keep their technology talent that are facing US work visa issues or build a team of highly-skilled technology professionals, nearshore in Canada.

As the gap between talent supply and demand grows larger, MobSquad can also help companies grow their technology talent teams.  MobSquad has identified over 30,000 highly-skilled technology professionals from around the world and can connect you to the talent your business needs. 

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Edmonton Global is located and operates in Amiskwaciwâskahikan on Treaty 6 Territory. We acknowledge this land as the traditional gathering place and center for trade for many First Nations, Metis, and Inuit peoples. We recognize that inclusivity is at the heart of sustainable growth and understand that Indigenous partnerships and voices must be at the forefront of radical transformation of our region.