Recruiter eyes Maritime talent

Toronto-based recruiter CNC Global recently opened an office in Atlantic Canada with the goal of helping local employers find IT skills that are often difficult to find in the region.

The firm set up shop in downtown Halifax. According to Michelle Murray, branch manager for the new location, some of CNC’s core client base has started expanding into the Maritimes because business is growing there.

“Big business wants to have a connection to Atlantic Canada. They want to serve their customers on a coast-to-coast basis,” Murray said.

In addition, the region offers a quality of life that many people desire, she said. “Many Maritimers who have left (to find jobs elsewhere) now want to come back.”

Cost competitiveness is also a major factor — she said it costs up to 25 per cent less to do business in Halifax than in Toronto. With those savings in mind, some of the major IT integrators have set up nearshore outsourcing practices in the region to service U.S.-based customers.

St. John’s-based solutions provider xwave offers nearshore application development and maintenance, as well as enterprise applications and systems integration services to U.S.-based customers. In October the firm won a contract to deliver its Corrections Information System (CORIS) to the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Corrections.

“We see [nearshoring] as strategic undertaking and we are leveraging talent that we have in Atlantic Canada, as are others,” said Jules Fauteux, managing director of consultant services at xwave’s Halifax office. “In part that contributes to the strength of our work force. The fact is that the people in the Atlantic community that represent our IT talent are able to satisfy the demand that goes beyond Atlantic Canada’s borders.”

Murray said one of CNC’s tasks will be to locate specialized or niche skill-sets like help desk, support services, and application development and testing, which clients are having difficulty finding in the Atlantic region.

“As far as the number of candidates graduating, enrollments (in IT-related programs) have actually dropped (in Canada), making our business more competitive because resources are harder to find,” she said.

However, Fauteux said xwave generally has no problem finding talent in the Atlantic region. “It’s not to say that recruitment organizations don’t have their place….We sometimes do require third-party assistance. But in general we are quite self-sufficient.”

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