Halifax ADC seeking IT pros

An outsourcing firm has launched a recruitment campaign to attract IT professionals across Canada to positions in its nearshore outsourcing operations in Nova Scotia, due to growth in the market.

Headquartered in Boston, Keane Inc., which has 7,500 employees spread across facilities in the U.S., U.K, India and Canada, has seen a 30 per cent increase in the demand for nearshore outsourcing over the past six months, said Jim Brewer, the firm’s vice-president of global services delivery. Keane is now looking to fill software engineer, project manager and business analyst positions in its advanced development centre (ADC) in Halifax.

To support the initiative, Nova Scotia Business Inc. (NSBI), the province’s business development agency, authorized a payroll rebate for Keane for a maximum of $1.5 million over three years, provided Keane creates and maintains 175 new jobs.

Although he wouldn’t disclose the exact percentage for the rebate, NSBI’s president and CEO Stephen Lund said Keane will only receive money back after the people hired at the Halifax ADC have been employed for a full year and the government has collected the tax revenue. “Whatever we take in…it’s always a net for us,” Lund said.

The ADC in Halifax was recently recognized as the first Canadian IT services facility to be assessed at Level 5 against the Software Engineering Institute’s Capability Maturity Model (CMM), a standard for evaluating and improving software processes. Nova Scotia Economic Development will give Keane a $2.5 million innovation incentive to support the company’s achievement of CMM Level 5 certification.

Brewer said despite the escalating interest in offshore outsourcing, the appeal of nearshoring has spiked partially because companies are now looking for ways to develop some redundancy in terms of technical infrastructure, rather than “putting all of their eggs in one basket like India.”

Brewer explained that there are geopolitical factors to consider when deciding whether to go offshore or stick closer to home. “The political environment in India or the Philippines could change tomorrow, and those are places where there is less perceived political stability,” he said, noting the recent fluctuations in the tension between India and Pakistan.

NSBI’s Lund said there is no way Canada can compete with India on wages alone. “But for a U.S. company, the total cost of ownership is critical – not just wages.” Companies who opt for nearshoring can still save 40 to 60 per cent when doing work in Nova Scotia versus New York or Boston, he said.