Saskatoon tech sector goes global in search of new hires

Many local tech companies like Vendasta, Skip The Dishes and 7Shifts are casting their hiring nets far and wide to find the workers they desperately need.

Companies finding strength in diversity

Diego Von Shosten, originally from Brazil now calls Saskatoon home. Vendasta, the company he works for recently won an award for diversity in its hiring practices. (Jon Miller/Vendasta)

Saskatoon's emerging technology sector is booming and that growth is also fueling diversity in the city as companies search abroad for new talent.

I was really excited about the company and the goals and the challenges.- Marcus Mello

One prominent example is Vendasta, a software company that recently claimed the Saskatoon Open Door Society's Employer of the Year Award, an honour given to a company that can attract and engage newcomer employees.

"We hired over 70 people last year," said Jean Parchewsky, the company's director of people operations.  "A lot of people came from Brazil, Africa, China…everywhere."

Diego Von Shosten is a project manager at Vendasta and came to Saskatoon from Brazil.

"There are very solid emerging tech companies in Saskatoon and quality of life plays a role too," Von Shosten said in an interview with CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning.

A better life

Those quality of life factors include affordability, safety and lower commute times, but also the opportunity found in programs like the technology incubator at Saskatoon's Innovation Place. The incubator connects start-ups with industry mentors, gives them the tools they need to succeed and builds a sense of community among tech sector players. 

Vendasta is not alone in its global hiring practices.

Many local tech companies like Skip The Dishes and 7Shifts are casting their hiring nets far and wide to find the workers they desperately need..

7Shifts, a company that sells scheduling software for restaurants around the world, has recently recruited several new employees from Brazil, including Marcus Mello. Mello arrived recently with his wife after applying for work at a job fair in his home country.

"I was really excited about the company and the goals and the challenges," said Mello. "So I started researching a little bit about Saskatoon Saskatchewan … and I really like the city."

Marcus Mello arrived in Saskatoon recently to work for software company 7Shifts. (7Shifts)

It's a win-win

One of the defining features of the tech industry is its need to reach a global marketplace, so it make sense that local companies would search from workers from afar.

Von Shosten described a win-win situation. For newcomers, Saskatoon tech companies offer new opportunity that may not exist in their home countries. The companies then benefit from the diversity and life experience newcomers bring. 

"We work with customers from all over the world," he said. "So the more perspectives we have on the same problem the fewer biases we have and the more empathetic we are."


Danny Kerslake is an award-winning journalist who has worked in radio stations across Western Canada. In his career with CBC Saskatchewan, Danny has reported from every corner of the province and has lived and worked in Saskatoon, Regina and Prince Albert. Danny is a newsreader and digital AP for CBC Saskatoon.

with files from Saskatoon Morning