The Talent War: Canadian firms need to up their recruitment game, UW grads say

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Katherine Carras is a recent University of Waterloo grad in Systems Design Engineering. She works in Silicon Valley as a product designer at Palantir Technologies.

And she’s got a message for would-be tech employers in Waterloo Region: Get in the game.

U.S. companies, Carras says, recruit university students much more aggressively than Canadian ones. They identify talent nearing graduation long before most Canadian companies do. They routinely offer guaranteed jobs as much as a year before students are scheduled to finish their programs – scouting students with targeted, exhaustive savvy, much the way pro sports teams scout college players – and they pay much, much more money.

I don’t think there’s an unwillingness among Canadian grads to stay in Canada,” says Carras, 23. “I think a lot of it comes down to the cadence of opportunity. A lot of international and American companies – specifically, American – will recruit new grads very aggressively early on in their last year [of university].

“I wanted to stay. My family is [in Canada]. I want to contribute to [Canada’s] economic growth.”

But when Palantir, a big-data analytics company with an estimated market capitalization of $20 billion, showed up offering a good, high-paying job a full year away from her graduation date, it was impossible for Carras to say no.

And when Canadian companies came calling months later? Well, they were way too late.

Carras’ experience is hardly uncommon. Many of her classmates have made similar decisions, as have those from countless graduating classes from across Canada, prompting much high-level debate over what to do about the “brain drain.”

What is uncommon is hearing, in their own words, the experiences of new graduates as they enter the tech job market – the forces that have driven them to decide whether to stay or leave or, in some cases, leave and return.

With that in mind, Communitech News sat down recently and talked with Carras and several of her classmates about their choices and their rationales. Their views were, in many cases, surprising [Read more].

This article was originally posted on the Communitech News website.