Kitchener-Waterloo

City of Vancouver headhunting tech talent in Waterloo Region

Representatives from the Vancouver Economic Commission were at the University of Waterloo on Monday, courting students with promises of top-paying jobs in Vancouver's technology and entertainment sectors.

More than 15,000 jobs expected in the technology and entertainment sectors in coming years

Robyn Burns (left) and Gregor Craigie (far right), of CBC Vancouver, ask a panel of local entrepreneurs about Victoria's growing tech industry. (Wendy D)

Representatives from the Vancouver Economic Commission were at the University of Waterloo on Monday, courting students with promises of top-paying jobs in Vancouver's tech and entertainment sectors. 

"We're expecting, from now until 2019, for there to be 15,500 job openings," said Sean Elbe, technology sector development manager with the commission. "This is the huge gap that we're looking to support our companies in filling, and why not go to the best software development school in Canada and promote this amazing story that people just haven't heard of?"

Elbe said the university had approached the commission during the Globe Conference, which was held this March in Vancouver.

"They approached us to help them promote their talent out west," he said. "You know, of the 7,000 students every term that they place, 5,000 are placed in Canada, and 65 were placed last semester in Vancouver."

Desperate need of talent

That's not a lot, according to Elbe, who said the technology sector in Vancouver is booming and in desperate need of talent.

"We actually have an incredible concentration of top Canadian universities that are delivering top Canadian talent," he said, referring to Simon Fraser Unversity, the University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria, but says that more talent is needed.  "I think that gives you a sense of the scope of the growth that we're seeing here."
 
Elbe admits that getting students to move across the country to a city that is known for expensive housing could be difficult, but notes that companies in the technology and entertainment sectors often pay 60 per cent more than average.

He said he would be promoting Vancouver at a noon hour information session at the university, as well as during an informal networking event at the Bombshelter Pub in Waterloo.

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