Young professionals want to live in Halifax for the lifestyle and their closeness to friends and family, according to a survey by Fusion Halifax.

But 65 per cent don’t believe Halifax holds long-term opportunities for them to progress in their careers, and that’s something the city needs to fix if it wants to keep young talent, say members of the youth action group.

Fusion surveyed 234 young people between the ages of 20 and 40. Of those, 85 per cent said they stayed in Halifax to be near friends and family, and 75 per cent suggested they stayed for the balanced lifestyle. Three-quarters of respondents said they worked an average of 36 to 50 hours per week.

Still, a high percentage — 69 per cent — said they’d consider leaving for the right job.

“People do choose to stay here. They want to stay here. This is their number one choice for a place to live,” said Natasha Winters, co-head of the group’s People Action team.

Part of the problem, said Fusion chair Alyson Queen, is that Halifax has traditionally been a place where you get jobs largely through connections. That makes it tough for those without connections — or ex-pats looking to come home — to break in.

“Previously, there’s been that notion of who you know, hearing things through the grapevine,” Queen said. “We need to think about not only keeping people here, but also bringing them back.”


The survey showed mixed loyalty; 51 per cent of respondents said they planned to stay with their current employer for up to three years. For those who have moved back to Halifax after time away, 76 per cent said they’d leave again for the right opportunity.

Thursday night, Fusion hosted a panel discussion with local business leaders to discuss the results.