In the past few years, Canadian businesses realized how vulnerable they are to labour shortages. Sourcing tech talent became a much bigger problem than anyone imagined they could cope with. Almost 80% of businesses in Canada stated that they need more tech employees and 68% of them said that they are having difficulties finding and hiring people with necessary skills, according to KPMG’s report.
The tech talent shortage doesn’t only affect tech companies – this is where many businesses are caught off guard. Any company in any industry needs tech personnel to keep its operations going. This creates an environment where virtually every business in Canada is competing for a very scarce pool of qualified candidates.
Tackling the Salary Bloodbath
Naturally, by dramatically increasing salaries employers try to outcompete their competitors for qualified talent. Last year, some tech workers saw a 38% increase in salary. As a result, 40% of companies stated that they lost talent to higher-paying jobs. Some goliath-like companies can cope with paying astronomical wages but not everyone can. If they had a choice, even large international corporations would choose not to dramatically increase their salaries.
One option that many companies tend to overlook is foreign tech talent. Tech workers from abroad are as qualified and as experienced as homegrown “wonder kids”. They will certainly do the job and even exceed your expectations. Your company may even benefit from their international work experience, new outlooks on business problems, and fresh ideas that may create more opportunities for your business.
In the majority of cases, hiring foreign tech talent will be cheaper for you than overpaying homegrown tech wizards. This is because foreign talent will generally accept lower wages but offer the same skill set as domestic workers. Foreign workers tend to be more loyal to their Canadian employers because working in Canada allows them to bring their families to the country, and tend to stay longer with their first employer. They are thus happier with salary and living situation compared to local talent. MetLife study found that happier employees are 90% more loyal than unhappy workers.
Tackling Homegrown Talent Problem
Some propose that the most efficient solution to Canada’s tech shortage is homegrown talent. This is what Sheldon Levy proposed in his Globe and Mail article, who is a special adviser to the British Columbia Minister of Small Business & Export Promotion and International Trade. He proposed that we should:
- Create new tailored tech education programs; and
- Create a partner network between industry players and education providers.
In his eyes, this will create “earlier pathways for students to learn about the sector”. As a result, students will receive industry training, a tailor-made curriculum, and exposure to the sector.
Levy is right in many ways; however, the tech industry and other industries have been partnering with universities and colleges for many years to produce a “new wave of talent”. It still won’t solve the issue of out-of-space wages, as homegrown talent will also want to be paid as they expected. Another issue is the significant decline in the growth of enrollment for educational programs that produce the needed tech talent. What do we do if we just don’t have enough students? The answer is once again, to hire from abroad and turn those foreign workers into Canadian tech workers by retaining them in Canada.
The Government Supports You to Hire Foreign Tech Workers
For many businesses hiring foreign workers is unchartered territory. It is thought to be full of bureaucracy and processing time delays.
In our experience, the government has programs to help you hire the right foreign worker for your company in time! There are immigration programs that can get you your worker in less than a month! Generally focusing on tech workers, these immigration programs make it quite easy to secure the right tech talent for you from abroad and bring them to Canada.
Other programs will fund your tech projects and even help train or upskill your tech talent. The perfect example is Digital Nova Scotia – a provincial industry association that strives to foster the growth of the digital economy in Nova Scotia. Year over year they see demand for tech jobs and they help businesses through various programs. With Digital Nova Scotia you can receive funding for employee development, employee skills-building opportunities, industry recognition, and much more!