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Calgary’s technology is thriving, says the Collision 2022 panel.

The Calgary Economic Development panel discussion at Collision 2022 discussed the issue of attracting and retaining talent in the growing technology sector in an era of turmoil and uncertainty.

From left to right: Mayor of Calgary, Joti Gondeck. Arlin Dueck, Executive Director of Harvest Builders Talent. Jill McDonald, Vice President of Business Development at AltaML. Brad Parry, President of Calgary Economic Development. Photo by Tom Lee.

Calgary’s technology is thriving

Arlin Dueck, Executive Director of Human Resources at Harvest Builders, a Calgary-based recruitment firm, suggests that companies see the recent chaotic employment scene as an opportunity to reassess their prospects for future staffing. So I broke this problem.

“This is a great opportunity for companies looking to expand their runways and be very careful about hiring and become strategic during a major retirement period,” said an early-stage venture. Dueck, who leads the way in finding talent, says. “Whenever there is a recession, invest in your people and find really good people to help you build for the next iteration of what your company will look like when we emerge. It’s a good time. “

According to Mayor of Calgary, Joti Gondeck, Alberta has gained momentum in the technology sector over the past few years. Historically known for its energy sector, the state is now attracting engineers from all over the country. Gondec said businesses are attracted to cheaper properties than other major cities, but Calgary’s diverse and dedicated talent pool is convincing them to stay.

“If you look at the talents … I think in 2021 Alberta and Calgary had more talents than we see in Seattle than in New York,” added Jill McDonald, vice president of business development. rice field. AltaML is leading her company’s efforts to apply AI to both the public and private sectors.

McDonald’s also emphasized the growth of opportunities in Calgary within the last few years.

“Even if we went back three or four years ago, Calgary didn’t have enough talent pools and most of the time we were shifting deckchairs among many partner organizations. We’re almost poaching from each other. “She said. She believed that this shortage was the driving force behind the city’s impetus to create larger pools.

Its growth required coordinated efforts from both the private and public sectors. Before that, Mayor Gondek emphasized the communication gap. She said regulators and policy makers need to better understand what investment in technology comes with, and innovators need to present their ideas more clearly.

“I think the danger faced by technology is that decision makers and policy makers have no idea what you’re doing. We’re scared and can’t ask,” Gondec said. .. “That is, by developing all the terms and terms, we have become better decision makers.”

To explain that, Gondec pointed out that he had a hard time understanding the difference between startups and scale-ups and caused confusion about how to use the Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund, which was set up to attract and drive the growth of the city. Did.

Accepting diversity is the key to growth

Calgary’s tech department is currently in the heart of downtown and adjacent to the energy industry, but there is still work to be done. The Panel agreed that embracing diversity is the key to developing a larger pool of talent. This not only facilitates innovation in the short term, but also enables greater potential in the long term.

“Immigration is a fundamental factor in bringing the world’s greatest talent,” said Duek. “And we’ve confirmed that software developers are playing such an important role in the areas of enterprises we’ve already talked about today. These developers have achieved what they’ve been trying to achieve years later, and then After launching the company, it turns into another unicorn very often. It’s really, really exciting. “

In addition, Dueck pointed out that companies need to abandon the idea that they have foreign workers just to meet their temporary needs. He said foreign workers trying to find their permanent home in Canada should be offered greater opportunities.

“As far as I am concerned, I need to change my overall mindset in how to treat these people who are very excited to come to Canada to make things and start a great life with their families. “Duek said.

When asked about the greatest impetus to keep people away, Dueck said that, like any other relocation, it is still difficult for many to uproot an established life.

“Life is my greatest commitment,” Dueck said. “Whether it’s a partner or school kids … I think it’s the biggest thing to be honest.”

Talent bleed continues to cause problems

Attracting talent remains Calgary’s focus, but the other is to keep it there. Businesses, especially small businesses, have always had to face the problem of losing talent to Big Tech.

Serene Yew, CEO and Technology Director of Pixeltree, an entrepreneurial software development company, said: IT World Canada..

“In Canada, for senior developers of full-time office workers … 100,000 to 150,000 would be a pretty good offer in Canada, but Amazon and Google offer you 30,000 to 400,000 for the same role. You really can’t compete with it.

She explained that this gap isn’t that big for junior developers, but it’s still far behind the big tech companies.

Yu felt this directly in his company when one of his favorite employees decided to change jobs.

“I didn’t think [the employee] I was going to leave our company because of how much he was acquired by our values ​​and what we brought to the city, “Yu said.

To mitigate this risk, Dueck encourages businesses not only to make money, but also to create meaningful opportunities. Still, he admitted that it was a wicked problem.

“It’s a really challenging problem,” Dueck said. “This doesn’t completely solve the problem, but if your company is effective in promoting props of value that people can feel attached to, it’s not just salary, but work. Must have other elements. “

“There will always be people leaving for money, but that’s their way,” Gondek added. “When I’m chasing my dreams, I have something to say to young people. I think we’re starting to see a very different workforce. We take care of older parents and take care of our children. I’m starting to see people who need a little space in their lives to do things like that, and if you build a company that allows them that flexibility, they leave you for money I have no intention. “

More importantly, Ichii added that he needed to hire potential people and help them grow.

“One of the problems is that we actually have a lot of junior talent, but not many companies want to hire them,” she said. “If we have the money to train junior developers to speed up, we will be able to show more talent in the market.”

Calgary’s technology is thriving, says the Collision 2022 panel.

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