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Appealing to cross-border IT talent

Appealing to cross-border IT talent

By Hayley Shaughnessy


Employers are constantly promoting all the best things they have to offer to potential employees: an empowering workplace culture; great employee benefits; industry innovations; and a strong company history to bring together top emerging talent. With all of this, branding and recruitment strategies are ever-changing, including recently with the rise of the digital age and greater use of social media apps.


But what’s there to make of branding and recruiting in face of the recent political changes in other countries? Is there new opportunity for Canadian employers to expand recruitment outside of our country’s borders? Looking ahead, Canada’s emerging tech sector could be one of the biggest selling points for American job-seekers.


The Information and Communications Technology Council has stated that by 2019, there will be 182,000 job openings in our country’s tech sector and believe it or not, not enough Canadian professionals to fill them. This means that employers will likely need to look beyond Canadian borders to seek new talent to fill these gaps. In fact, organizations are already banding together to attract talent, through several programs.


Here are some ways Canadian employers can appeal to IT job seekers across the border.


Offer employee benefits for referrals


Regardless of whether or not your company has locations outside of the country, your current employee roster likely has professional and personal networks that extend south of the border. Motivating them, perhaps through incentives, to support recruitment efforts is both a benefit for you and them.


Your company might even find potential candidates are open to a move northward. In fact, leading up to November’s election results, Monster Canada found that 58% more Americans were searching for jobs in Canada as compared to 2015. Furthermore, from January to October 2016, there were more than 30,000 searches using the keyword “Canada” on Monster’s U.S. website. Throughout all of 2015, there were fewer than 20,000. This goes to show that Americans are indeed curious for what Canada has to offer, and it’s up to the employers to showcase how candidates may find better by crossing the border.  

Display opportunities for growth

Out-of-country recruitment ultimately has to answer the question: why move? Why should someone start fresh in a new country and perhaps a new company? A few reasons can focus on growth alone: more leadership opportunities, a faster track up the corporate ladder and perhaps company incentives, like traveling or working from home. All of these factors contribute to employee and personal growth, which can matter greatly to people. Lack of growth opportunities may be a strong pull factor.

As an employer, you want to be able to show potential staff how they can see themselves growing deeper in their careers with a company as great as yours. And if they’re concerned about the future of the industry, you can ensure job seekers not to worry. According to a report for Brookfield Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, 71,000 tech companies in Canada are responsible for over 7% of the country’s economic output and 5.6% of Canada’s total employment.


Show off what living in a tech hub is really like


If your company is in Victoria, Vancouver, Toronto, Kitchener/Waterloo or Montreal, you have a leg up to show off a new world of innovative opportunities in one of Canada’s tech hubs. In British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec, information and communications technology jobs make up over 50% of the provincial tech sector. Making a change as big as moving to a new country for a job can be stressful and intimidating based on the unknown alone. Saying goodbye to familiarity, routines and friends can be harder than expected.


Canada is also a diverse country, so it may help to demonstrate the unique selling points of each city and coast. As an employer, the more light you can shed on expectations for your new employees in and outside the office, the better.

Think about offering your top potential employee picks an opportunity to come check out the city and your company for a weekend. This way the both of you can get a better sense of what you’d be signing up for.


Don’t forget the basics


As an employer, you can also help show the steps to take for getting a Canadian working visa, a much easier process than those seeking working in the U.S.

One final thing worth noting: as we’re all well aware, salary is surely an important driver for big job moves. If you’re able, offering a salary commensurate with their expertise may go a long way in securing interest from top tech talent from south of the border.


The IT sector continues to be one of Monster.ca’s strongest industries. If you’re an employer keen on attracting IT candidates from south of the border, visit monster.ca to start looking for your next superstar employee, or to stay up-to-date on the latest insights into Canada’s IT job sector.