Waterloo IT companies to hold job fair in Ottawa

Ottawa-based IT professionals seeking a new job in the Waterloo region can attend a technology job fair coming to town on April 21 where prospects are afforded a face-to-face chat with a potential employer.

The ‘Get a Life in Waterloo Region’ recruitment event is where about a dozen Waterloo-based technology companies with open positions will be present to speak to interested IT professionals.

The job fair is organized by Communitech Technology Association Inc., a technology hub representing 700 IT companies in the Waterloo area. Iain Klugman, CEO of Communitech, said the recruitment event is part of an ongoing strategy to ensure companies in Waterloo have the IT talent they need for continued growth.

“The challenge right now is company growth has outstripped talent availability here in the Waterloo region,” said Klugman. “The war for talent never stopped for us here.”

Another challenge facing Waterloo is the region’s demand for IT talent has been very specific to IT development skills, said Klugman.

Setting up a job fair in Ottawa, in particular, will take advantage of the recent job losses suffered in the capital’s IT sector, said Klugman. “Ottawa has historically been a magnet for talent and has great tech workers,” he said, referring to large IT organizations like Nortel Networks Corp. that drew many IT professionals.

One company that will be showcasing at the event is Waterloo-based social media analytics company PostRank Inc. The company has two developer positions to fill at the mid to senior experience level.

CEO Carol Leaman said PostRank is attending the job fair to broaden the net for the right IT skill. “Waterloo has a very, very tight developer market because of a lot of software companies here, so we are looking outside the Waterloo region for developer talent that can be attracted here,” said Leaman.

Most of PostRank’s employees are developers working primarily in Ruby on Rails, a specialized programming skill that Leaman said is difficult to source. “Many developers have Java and off-the-shelf software experience and not so much on the Web and real-time experience,” she said.

Klugman said IT professionals relocating from Ottawa to Waterloo shouldn’t require a huge adjustment considering the similar cultures and lifestyles of both cities.

The ‘Get a Life in Waterloo Region’ job fair in April is only targeting Ottawa, but Communitech does organize similar recruitment events in other Canadian cities such as Markham, Mississauga, Hamilton, Burlington, and London in Ontario.

Communitech also targets key U.S. cities for Canadian expats who might want to return to a job in Canada. Leaman said PostRank also sources U.S.-based Canadian expats because it allows employers to sidestep immigration issues and weather concerns that non-Canadians might entertain.

After the job fair in Ottawa in April, Communitech will be hosting a virtual recruitment event followed by an onsite event in Markham, Ont.

Follow Kathleen Lau on Twitter: @KathleenLau

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