Trump’s won – but will Canadian IT storage experts return to Ottawa?

Three stacks of data hardware sitting next to each other

Posted on Thursday, November 17, 2016

For many Canadians living in the US, Donald Trump’s shock election win has forced them to re-evaluate their future in the country. And regional development agency Invest Ottawa is hoping that many former residents will be lured back north of the border.

Ottawa needs its people back

According to the Labour Market Outlook 2015-2019 report produced by the Information and Communications Technology Council, Canada’s businesses need to hire another 232,000 information and communications technology professionals in the next three years. Without these extra workers, Canada could find itself less competitive on the world stage.

The picture is the same at local level too. Ontario needs another 75,000 IT workers to fill new job openings, and to replace older employees as they retire. To fully understand the size of the shortfall, consider that businesses in Ottawa currently employ 72,430 IT professionals.

Following through on pre-election promises

Before the election, many Canadians (and other foreign nationals) had promised they would leave the US in the event of a win for the Republican candidate. Now Invest Ottawa is hoping that IT professionals (and other skilled workers) make the move back to their home towns.

Having workers re-emigrate is seen as the fastest, most effective way to fill vacancies. But anecdotal evidence suggests that it will take a little more than a Trump presidency to bring workers back to Ottawa.

Canadian workers want interesting projects – and money

Like IT workers across the world, Canadians are looking for interesting, varied projects – as they have become accustomed to in Silicon Valley and other US technology hotspots. They are also looking for a comparable salary if they are to return “home”.

The reality is that the accelerating demand for IT and storage professionals means that there are new projects underway in Ottawa and beyond. In order to capitalize on unrest south of the border, Canadian businesses will need to better target their recruitment efforts – and find a way to boost the remuneration packages on offer.

Talking to ex-pat Canadian IT professionals, many are looking for an excuse to come home – it’s now up to Ottawa businesses to deliver.