Where Canada Stands in the Global Race for Talent

With a growing shortage of skilled workers developed nations including Canada are looking at various sources of recruitment

By Jonathan Stoller, The Globe and Mail

When Debarshi Nandy moved to Toronto from Calcutta, India, in 2004, he saw Canada as an ideal place to pursue the kind of career that his talents afforded. “I wanted to live in Toronto. It’s a diverse, multicultural city,” he says.

With a PhD in finance from Boston College and fluency in English, the 40-year-old is the kind of job candidate that many nations are trying to attract.

Countries are looking at what others are doing,” says John Shields, professor in the department of politics and public administration at Ryerson University in Toronto. “There’s definitely a trend among [Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development] countries in terms of competition for immigrants.”

Businesses from industries such as information technology, manufacturing and construction have grown increasingly vocal over what they say is a growing shortage of skilled workers. According to a recent C-suite survey, two-thirds of Canadian executives say they are having trouble finding qualified workers, and one-third say this is slowing the growth of their business. The survey of 151 executives was conducted for The Globe and Mail and Business News Network by Gandalf Group and sponsored by KPMG.

Employers from developed nations are now searching abroad in hopes of filling their ranks. “Often it’s much cheaper to take labour from developing countries,” Dr. Shields says. “Many have a very highly educated population.” This larger talent pool gives businesses more choice, particularly in fields of high demand where Canadian schools have been unable to keep up.

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