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High tech help


Silicon Valley, Waterloo, Ottawa... the Maritimes? Our workplace issues columnist, Pierre Battah, looks at how to better brand our IT sectors in this part of the world.

My son is a self-avowed computer geek, he eats sleeps and dreams about computers and networks and their potential to cure all that ails humankind. He is under the mistaken assumption that in order to do challenging, a.k.a. cool work in emerging technologies he will need to leave the Maritimes for a large Canadian city or to the US. He is sadly mistaken.

As I recently witnessed firsthand in working with some of our region's leading IT sector companies both big and small, our region has an impressive technology brand to promote.

Employment branding experts remind employers they need to do four things to promote employment in a sector, company, industry or region:

1. Maritime technology employment Identity. Our region's employers are diverse and offer a multitude of great opportunities. Some echo the Microsoft mould of wanting the wizards of detailed processes, others flaunt Apple like work cultures that value creativity. There is something for everyone from well-established institutional employers to the freewheeling on the edge start-ups and everything in between. And they all offer the most sought after thing of all: challenging work on emerging technologies within an environment of world class technology infrastructure.

2. The Promise. This region's promise to potential employees is second to none: work on world class gear, with really bright people on really cool projects. Then throw in a low cost of living and a phenomenal quality of life.

3. The takeaway. Potential Employees need to be reminded of what they will take away from their experience with our region's technology employers. As I came to find out, the experience gained here is world class and will open many future doors within an ever increasing cluster of high tech companies locally or, heaven forbid, outside our region.

4. Promote all of the above 'til the developers come calling. Being a best kept secret is not helpful. The entire sector benefits when individual employers promote themselves aggressively with the government, academic, business and technology communities and especially online to potential applicants. Even better still when sector representatives convey the message loudly to all concerned.

So there is hope for my kid being able to grow his technology career in our region. Our technology sector has an excellent employment brand to convey in order to help our region better leverage the ICT sector, stem emigration and continue to innovate and contribute our economy and our communities.

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