Recruiting for Information Technology; Planning for the future of Kitchener-Waterloo
Anyone who has searched for employment this century will probably attest to how difficult finding the right job, or any job, can be. That’s what makes us, the recruiters, important to the seekers. We connect people with opportunities. We have already developed the relationships with the local companies, we have gone out and done the legwork to meet and get to know the people running the businesses, facilities and projects, and we know the kind of people they are looking for.
Some industries are harder than others, though. Some industries require more than a strong back and a little tact. Recruiting for the Information Technology sector is a little like herding cats. Transferable skills and specialized languages get lost in the translations from one acronym or another. I wonder how many missed opportunities were merely a function of misunderstanding the code they used to describe their skills.
I have to say the Kitchener-Waterloo region is pretty amazing in terms of its varied job market, but it definitely punches above its weight when it comes to the technology sector. We have some serious major players here who have become pillars of our innovation culture. Google, OpenText, and D2L are heavily invested in the region and promote its growth.
There’s an excellent article from the Globe and Mail last year that nicely highlights the work people are doing to make Kitchener-Waterloo more than just an ambitious city.
So where are we to look for the people to fill the increasing need for high-quality talent?
The plethora of post secondary institutions within a hundred kilometer radius is producing graduates who are hungry to make their mark.
The world’s largest co-op program is right here at our own University of Waterloo. Those are not my words, they are theirs. While the University of Waterloo is an innovation leader, we also have Conestoga and Wilfrid Laurier producing graduates eager to join the workforce.
If we look just a little further out, we find Mohawk and McMaster. These two institutions are also producing some world class entrepreneurs and employees. Through the partnership of The Forge and Surge, students and grads are able to not only learn important business practices and strategies, but have a go at starting their own venture.
But how are these young people supposed to find the 80% of jobs that aren’t listed if they don’t know where to look or that we exist to help them reach for their dreams.
Of course, recent grads and co-op students are only a very small part of the job market need. More often than not, we need to fill a client’s position with a person who has significant experience. Yet we have the advantage of a city that pays among the highest information technology wages in the province and roughly 20% higher than the Hamilton market. That difference more than offsets the 4% increase in the cost of living. For the people whom the commute to Toronto or Mississauga is either too far or too much, Kitchener-Waterloo provides a chance to earn a real living and excel while doing it. It is worth noting how many of companies operating here made the Canada’s Top 100 Employers.
Beyond the established companies, there lay opportunity in the unknown and soon to be great.
If the new millennium will be marked for anything, it may well be for the rise of the innovation startups. Small groups of two to three people creating something new. Social media started out with just a couple people hacking away at some code and now it’s a multi-billion dollar industry with a third of the world’s population logging in as users.
In 2003, three Finnish students set up their own company after participating in a mobile game competition. In 2005, they changed their company name to Rovio and, well, you probably know the rest.
Here’s why all of this is important, as of 2014, there were over 500 startups registered in the Kitchener-Waterloo area. Just by sheer numbers alone, some of those companies will develop into something greater. When they do, who will be there to connect them with the right people? Of course, I look at this as a fantastic opportunity for my business and I certainly believe they would benefit greatly from our recruiting expertise.
I can all but guarantee that the first things the brilliant minds looking for people will do is put an ad in the local free market-boards and search for the interview questions on the internet. However, I would be thrilled to lend my expertise and help those business out. Of course I have to quickly say… Please contact me for all your IT recruiting needs at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In closing, I’d like to say that I’m glad I work in the area. The IT business sector is booming, and, after the research I did for this article, I am excited to network and build relationships here.
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