Acquiring Talent after Brexit and Trump
By Joe Issid
Even if you are completely uninvolved in modern political discourse, you need to - at the very least - recognize that global political events can have a large impact on employment and educational trends. From minor policy implementations to huge political earthquakes, the ripple effect can be felt in many unexpected and far-reaching places. And 2016 bore witness to some fairly seismic political occurrences that are now starting to show some residual impact on employment, travel and education around the world. No matter your personal feelings on Brexit or the election of Donald Trump, there is no denying that these events are creating opportunities and challenges alike. Here are some ways in which they are impacting talent acquisition in Canada:
What to expect
In Canada, there has been an immediate increase in the volume of international students opting to apply to Canadian universities. As I work in higher education, I can see the impact that these events appear to be having on undergraduate enrollment. While no specific studies have been conducted to determine the absolute cause of this increase, it is reasonable to assume that non-Canadian students are looking at Canada more favourably than the UK or the US following these political events. Likewise, many Canadian students who may have been looking at studying abroad may now be re-considering their choices.
Admittedly, most of the world was not expecting either of these outcomes so it easy to understand why no one was prepared for them. But the public reaction to these events has been swift and Canadian institutions will need to respond quickly to accommodate increased demand. Canadian employers and academic institutions are now enjoying increased global visibility so it is essential to be accommodating to this popularity. To wit, Montreal was recently named the world's top city for students; as such, educational institutions in Montreal need to be ready to leverage this exposure and convert this attention into increased enrollment.
Don't be afraid to spend
Many organizations do not like to spend money on marketing when they feel like they don't have to. In the case of Brexit/Trump, Canadian institutions may feel like they have the wind in their sails and can allow the current global political climate to drive students to them. But this would be a foolhardy approach. In fact, committing to your marketing efforts is especially important during a time when your organization is under expanded scrutiny - even if said scrutiny is positive. This is a great opportunity for Canadian organizations to expand their international appeal and reputations so it behooves them to invest appropriately. Failure to do so could be a huge missed opportunity.
More IT jobs?
With Brexit/Trump causing uncertainty among many foreign workers (and foreign-based Canadians), Canada is more than happy to provide a destination for these skilled workers. And no industry is more primed to take advantage of this potential influx of talent that the tech sector. It is estimated that the tech sector will have 182,000 open jobs by 2019, which will require a huge influx of students and workers with the right kind of expertise to fill these positions. Canadian legislators are already looking at ways to facilitate their entry while Canadian businesses already have their eyes on Canadians working in Silicon Valley and trying to find ways to lure them home. Recruiters for schools and employers alike are going to have some interesting challenges in the coming years - but for some very positive reasons.