What you Need to Know about Bringing Canadian Talent Home

What You Need to Know About Bringing Canadian Tech Talent Home

BC Tech is proud to be part of Go North Canada, a partnership of tech-focused organizations across the country focused on bringing Canadian expats back home to join our booming tech scene. Through events and online campaigns, we connect with a multitude of Canadian tech professionals to provide relevant information and introduce them to hiring companies.
This season we focused on connecting with talent in the Western United States. Alongside tech hubs such as Communitech, and Canadian tech companies like Google and Hootsuite, we headed down to San Jose for a Sharks and Leafs game in February, to Mountain View for Tech Jam in April, and to Seattle for a Meetup at the Living Computers Museum in May. Overall, we met over 300 tech professionals interested in learning more about the Canadian tech sector and exploring its opportunities. Here are a few important lessons we learned from our travels abroad this season. Lessons that can better prepare us and our companies when looking to bring talent home: 1. There is a very strong and highly qualified pool of tech talent interested in Canada. Many are Canadians who miss home, while others are non-Canadians interested in immigrating. Most are seasoned professionals who’ve had years of experience working for high-profile tech companies in the Valley and learning their processes and best-practices. The fact that Canada is a beautiful and tolerant country is well known to all; however, there are obstacles (listed below) that we need to address if we want to help them succeed in their move. 2. There is shockingly little information available about the Canadian tech sector. Most of the Canadians we met didn’t really know much about current job opportunities, how to connect with companies, and what type of career progression is available. It became very clear to us that ongoing communication and information sharing is a must if we want to eventually bring our best people back. By having more companies show up in person to demonstrate first-hand what kind of technology, jobs and growth opportunities are available, we can increase our chances of bringing talented tech professionals home. 3. You gotta pay to play. Canadian companies are eager to attract talented professionals from the Valley, but many are shocked to hear their salary expectations. The fact is, the average US tech salary is much higher than the average Canadian tech salary, and companies should be aware of that difference when recruiting abroad. Although money is not the only motivator driving tech professionals back to Canada, expecting a top-notch professional to accept a salary cut that is often 50% or greater is unrealistic at best. At the end of the day, we need to be willing to pay above-average salaries to secure those key hires in our organizations that will bring the know-how straight from the Valley. 4. Yes, housing prices are an issue. We often hear that from candidates. Unfortunately, that’s not something we can easily solve, but our key message to candidates is that this is the price we choose to pay for living in one of the best cities in the world. World-class ski hills, beautiful beaches, unparalleled nature, wealthy and green cities, and one of the most diverse populations in the world… this is what we pay extra money for, and it’s absolutely worth it. 5. This is a long-term play. Many companies who headed down to the US events with us have made quick hires. Although these are always big wins, this is not the only purpose or measurement of success of these events. The true long-term value lies in changing the world’s perception of Canada as a tech hub. We need to be seen as a place of opportunity where professionals can build amazing tech careers, rather than a place where great students are poached from. To achieve that, we need to tell our success story together, consistently, time and time again, until it sticks as one of the best-known stories in the global tech sector. Hiring for your company’s current open roles is a short-term play, but having a consistent long-term presence in these markets, and talking about the future of tech as a community, is what will make us memorable and extraordinary. Go North Canada will return in the Fall of 2017 with more events and connection opportunities. Join us in bringing amazing tech talent back to our community.