Work for non French speaking in Montreal

Mar 5th, 2006, 12:14 PM
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Work for non French speaking in Montreal

Hi, I am about to move to Montreal. I have secured a job, but my wife hasn't. She is english speaking, and she has worked in marketing for the past 5 years. Are there any office jobs for non French speaking people in Montreal? Admin or secreterial work or anything.... Thanks
JAL15 is offline  
Mar 5th, 2006, 12:24 PM
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My guess is that your fears/concerns are greater than necessary.

Even a english-speaking person from the very center of the USA could go to Montreal and find lots and lots of people conversing in english and have no cause to worry. In fact, Montreal can be disappointing in ways to those looking to be immersed in the purely-french-Canadian culture.

So she'll have no language problems/barriers of note. (though perhaps she won't be best for a telephone receptionist job where something is required beyond "Bonjour")

NorthwestMale is offline  
Mar 5th, 2006, 03:38 PM
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I am not sure that the fact that a unilingual anglophone can get by easily in Montreal means that the same is true of a job seaker. My expectation is that most workplaces in Montreal would require reasonable facility with the French language. I did a quick look at and found that all the English job titles I checked asked for bilingual applicants. Perhaps somebody with some familiarity with the Montreal job market can post.
Gavin is offline  
Mar 5th, 2006, 04:04 PM
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I assume your wife is Canadian; if not, she will face greater obstacles in getting a job than her lack of fluency in French. If she is authorized to work in Canada, being unilingual/English will make it extremely difficult to find a job. Before even dusting off her resume, she might want to enroll in an intensive French immersion program.
Lois_L is offline  
Mar 5th, 2006, 04:28 PM
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Here choices will no doubt be limited. There are a few jobs for unilingual Anglophones, but I suspect that they will most likely be in the telemarketing, market research industry... Even ordinary customer service jobs require some knowledge of French. She might succeed in finding admin or secretarial work at select offices, those of which deal exclusively with the United States and/or the rest of Canada, but to find such places will probably require extra research. Good luck.
LuvToTravel77 is offline  
Mar 5th, 2006, 04:29 PM
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Whoops! Naturally, I meant her choices.
LuvToTravel77 is offline  
Mar 5th, 2006, 04:35 PM
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It seems to work out that the more senior you are, the less you need French, but it depends on the industry.

In advertising, the Montreal ad agencies that are parts of international or Canda-wide networks tend to work on French-language campaigns in Montreal, and handle the English in offices in other parts of Canada.

Local ad agencies tend to work for French clients, or French and English cleints. There are not a lot of English-only clients in town.

The pharmaceutical business is big in Montreal, and there's lots of English spoken there.

Now, about administrative jobs ... these tend to be bilingual, and part of their responsibilities are to be inbetween the people who only, or with limits, speak French and thos who only, or with limits, speak English.

Self-employment might be an idea...


BAK is offline  
Mar 5th, 2006, 04:54 PM
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I'm not sure about the job situation - but I know there are French immersion programs around the area. I spent five weeks in Quebec City studying French last summer, and they had two summer sessions as well whole semester programs. There are probably programs in Montreal, too.

Good luck!
katie_scarlett is offline  
Mar 7th, 2006, 02:12 AM
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I don't believe you can get an admin or secretarial job or any job in Montreal without a working knowledge of french. It's the law here; there are full time french courses she could take to accelerate the process.

You can function in your daily life with english only in montreal; but get a paying job such as in the field you mention, I don't think so.

mitchdesj is offline  
Mar 7th, 2006, 04:58 PM
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I agree with the other comments here that she will have an issue. I have travelled extensively for business in Montreal and have noted that even the anglos with whom I work are fluent in French. There are many offices at large Montreal-based companies that undertake a significant amount of their work in that language. She could consider a commute to Ottawa, although even there French is often required. I echo the suggestions of language classes ASAP.
Cat123 is offline  
Mar 7th, 2006, 06:13 PM
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I wouldn't recommend a commute to Ottawa if she lives in Montreal. Unless she is used to travelling long distances on a daily basis, I can only imagine that a 1 hour and 45 minute commute everyday would be quite annoying and tiresome.
LuvToTravel77 is offline  
Mar 8th, 2006, 07:16 AM
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hi JAL15

While not impossible to find work as a unilingual anglophone in Montreal, I would say many doors will be closed to her. I try to think of the anglos I know who fit this category... the few that I know either work as a specialist in the biotech/telecommunications industry, as a software specialist or managed to get a position at an English-language institution in the city. The latter jobs I believe are quite competitive.

Most anglos I know in this city (myself included) are now bilingual, a radical transformation from the English-speaking community of 30 (even 15) years ago in Montreal. I'd hypothesize that anglophones really wised up, desirous to keep open as many doors for themselves and their kids as possible, especially after two consecutive Parti Quebecois govts and the 1995 referendum. In discussions with friends, it seems that numerous anglophones feel that French (and Quebecois slang) even has become a part of OUR identity, as we switch back & forth and think regularly in both languages. (Maybe we should be called franglophones?)

From the standpoint of a business, in most cases, it just makes dollars and cents here to hire someone bilingual if possible, to market in both languages, to type up documents/answer phones in both languages. It's harder for both unilingual anglophones & francophones alike. If I had to estimate (I'm pulling the number off the top of my head here, no statistics), I'd say maybe 20% of jobs here (if that)are open to a unilingual anglo.

Good luck! DAN
Daniel_Williams is offline  
Mar 8th, 2006, 12:49 PM
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Thank you all for you comments. It was always our plan to learn French as soon as possible after we arrive in Montreal, and now even more so given that it will be hard for her to find work without being able to speak it. Looking forward to moving over ! JAL15
JAL15 is offline  
May 29th, 2012, 10:06 AM
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I have a problem with the federal government posting jobs with bilingualism as a requirement; yet when I called concerning my EI benefits the agent on the phone said she dudn't speak any french either. Seems like a lot of double standards to me in Quebec.
challengeinmtl5 is offline  
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