U.S. recruiter Workbridge opens doors in Toronto to meet high demand for IT workers

There may be talk of a recession as Canada heads for an October federal election, but one U.S. recruiter sees a huge growth in demand for IT staff in Toronto.

Workbridge Associates has set up shop in Canada’s largest city because the job market for those with information technology skills is rivalling major cities south of the border, including San Francisco and the Silicon Valley region, said Workbridge VP Drew Sussberg. “There’s no better time,” he said. “The IT contracting business is in such a high demand in Toronto.”

Sussberg said the city is already a large business hub, but it’s becoming more and more of tech hub thanks in part to the healthy startup culture. Workbridge will focus on helping Canadian companies hire full-time and part-time staff as well as U.S. companies that have operations in Canada, whether it’s larger enterprises or smaller firms on a growth spurt.

Workbridge specializes in staffing hard-to fill-IT positions such as developers with experience in Ruby, PHP, Python, UI/UX, JavaScript, mobile and Microsoft/.NET. Sussberg said initially the Toronto location will focus on filling positions that require open source and Microsoft skills; Workbridge will cater to additional areas based on local market demands. Generally, there is a high demand for experienced developers, particularly in Python and Ruby.

A next logical area would be mobile, said Sussberg, because although the iPhone has been around since 2008, there’s not a great deal of people who excel at it. There’s lots of development but not a lot of focus, he said. It’s also seeing the early days of the Internet of Things to begin to create a demand for skilled workers.

While the startup community is fuelling some of the demand for IT workers, said Sussberg, the financial sector is also an area that is hungry for IT contract workers. “The financial sector is strong here,” he said, “and there’s a really unique community here with startups in the digital marketing and advertising areas.”

When asked about how much Workbridge’s recruiting business might look to the nation’s oil and gas sector, Sussberg said it’s not a sector the firm really caters to.

Part of its business is advising clients on what the realities are in terms of what talent is out there, and that when there’s a lot more jobs that skilled workers, companies need to be flexible as well as investing in people if they fit most of a job profile, but not all of it. “We’re going to be honest about what we see and what we can provide them.”

For now, Toronto is the only Canadian city on Workbridge’s expansion roadmap, but Sussberg said the end goal is to expand into any city where it can grow its overall footprint and help the local economy. The firm is looking to staff to 30 here with local recruiters as well as tapping experienced people from its other locations.


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Gary Hilson
Gary Hilson
Gary Hilson is a Toronto-based freelance writer who has written thousands of words for print and pixel in publications across North America. His areas of interest and expertise include software, enterprise and networking technology, memory systems, green energy, sustainable transportation, and research and education. His articles have been published by EE Times, SolarEnergy.Net, Network Computing, InformationWeek, Computing Canada, Computer Dealer News, Toronto Business Times and the Ottawa Citizen, among others.

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