Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Canadian IT Firms Eager to Hire Skilled Migrants

As job openings in Canada are rapidly surpassing available IT graduates, finding skilled IT workers in Canada is becoming increasingly difficult.

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That is why local IT firms, like Keane Canada, are looking to fill their skilled labour shortage by recruiting across Canada as well as overseas.

Keane Canada employs 500 people in Halifax and is looking for skilled workers in places like Toronto and other large Canadian centres to meet its expanding personnel requirements.

"We do a fair bit of recruiting from Ontario and across Canada," said Pam Johnson, a senior director of human resources with the firm, which provides software development and maintenance services for its clients, which include Fortune 100 companies in the U.S. Pam Johnson, a senior director of human resources within the firm, said Keane Canada employs about 105 new Canadians in Halifax.

According to Ms. Johnson, about half of those employees come from places like India or China but the rest are from other parts of Canada.

Most employers recruit by telephone or through Internet job posting sites like Workopolis.

According to a recent report by the Information and Communications Technology Council in Canada, enrolment in university IT courses has declined about 50 per cent in the past few years, while almost 90,000 new Canadian IT jobs will become available in the next three years.

Keane Canada said earlier this year that it plans to hire up to 375 people for its Halifax operations in the next five years.

Ms. Johnson said the company likely won’t find all the skilled workers it needs locally, and given the domestic shortages, she said more should be done in Nova Scotia to provide a support system to welcome and retain skilled immigrant workers, who tend to gravitate to larger centres like Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.

Keane, which has been recognized as one of the country’s top 20 employers for new Canadians, works with local immigrant agencies like the Metropolitan Immigrant Settlement Association and helps provide its new Canadian employees with language training and other services to help accustom them to their new surroundings.

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