$4M ad campaign aims to lure workers to fill thousands of empty Calgary tech jobs

Calgary Economic Development plans to roll out a $4-million ad campaign to attract tech workers to the city. 

'We have a shortage of tech talent here,' says Mary Moran

Calgary Economic Development CEO Mary Moran says a new ad campaign will target tech workers in the hopes of promoting Calgary as a great place to live. (CBC)

Calgary Economic Development plans to roll out a $4-million ad campaign to attract tech workers to the city. 

"We have a shortage of tech talent here. There's a real misperception of what's going on here but then there's 2,000 to 3,000 jobs open at any given time," said CEO Mary Moran during CED's annual economic outlook luncheon.

Moran said the campaign will hopefully counter perceptions they've found through market research that other regions no longer view Calgary as an economically innovative place.

"We heard from Canadians that only 30 per cent of them actually think of Calgary as innovative and entrepreneurial which is much different than it was 10 years ago and certainly, even five years ago," she said.

"So we know that we've got to go out and tell more people in more places a different narrative about Calgary and that there's a lot more going on here than they actually think."

Moran said perceptions about the energy industry and the city's economic recovery likely play into those views.

"I don't think you can deny the fact that the negative perceptions around the energy industry, which are regrettable, are having a shadowy effect on the perceptions of Calgary … even if we get a panacea, a pipeline, and LNG gets moving, the energy industry won't be the job creator it was in the past," she said.

ATB Financial is forecasting that both Calgary and Alberta's economies will grow by two per cent next year.

But, the unemployment rate is also expected to remain high.

"We see the unemployment rate coming down but only gradually. Probably still around 6.5 per cent unemployment. So again, an improvement but modest. It is going to take a little bit of time to get the city back to full employment," Todd Hirsch, ATB's chief economist, said.

Hirsch said longer term recovery will require greater economic diversification.

Calgary Economic Development is also taking ideas from Calgarians as to how it can attract entrepreneurs and boost the economy, which can be submitted on its website.

With files from Scott Dippel


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