Crosscountry: Canada at a glance — October 2014

Montreal tops’s index of the most expensive five-star hotel rooms in the world, while studies show that Canadians see technological innovation as an opportunity rather than a threat.


Starry, starry nights

If you’re looking for five-star hotels, you might expect to see the highest price tags in Paris or Tokyo. But actually, it’s Montreal that leads the pack. With an average five-star room price of $573, Quebec’s largest city topped’s Price Index for the first six months of 2014. Tokyo came in second at $533, followed by Los Angeles ($532) and London ($508). Toronto was in sixth position ($465), just behind Paris ($469).

Those looking for a bigger bang for their luxury buck might want to head to Warsaw, which tops the Best Five-Star Value list with an average five-star room price of $152. Even Brussels is a relative bargain at $193, which puts it in sixth place, just ahead of Berlin ($200).


Good morning, robots

One in three Canadians think their jobs could vanish in a few years due to the rise of technology, according to the Randstad Workmonitor study, which surveys employees in 33 countries.

Employers of all sizes are ramping up on technology and workers are concerned about competing against machines that will continue to become more powerful, cheaper and easier to use. But while 32% of Canadians polled see technology as a potential threat, 68% view it as an opportunity. In fact, innovation can bring opportunities in many industries, says Randstad Canada president Tom Turpin. "As an example, computerization may have reduced the demand for typists and switchboard operators, but it also increased the number of more highly skilled and computer savvy administrative assistants," he says.


Slip sliding away?

Canada has dropped another notch in the World Economic Forum’s 2014 global competitiveness ranking, moving to 15th position from 14th last year. That’s far behind its 2009 position of ninth. But although the country still places well in areas such as health and primary education systems (seventh), it fares relatively poorly in innovation (22nd) and higher education and training (18th). Perhaps it could learn a thing or two from Switzerland, which has held steady as No. 1 since 2009-2010.


Still the best path

To land a Career, going to university still seems the best path to follow, according to a survey conducted for the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities by CCI Research Inc.

More than 93% of 2011 undergrads had secured jobs two years after graduation, and 87.4% found employment after only six months. The survey concludes that these were solid, well-paying jobs. After six months of employment, the average full-time salary was $42,636, and after two years the average was close to $50,000 ($49,398).

Just as important, university graduates found jobs related to their education. Two years after graduation, 88.6% of graduates working full time considered their work closely or somewhat related to the skills developed at university.