In the investment and talent attraction world, the word ‘diversity’ has become ubiquitous. It’s true that most global cities have diverse populations – a critical ingredient to an innovative and dynamic economy. You’ll notice almost every city throws around this buzz word, but the Toronto Region is one of the only places in the world that truly ‘walks the walk.’
Business knows that the Toronto Region is synonymous with tech and innovation because we provide not only a future proof talent pipeline but one that has one of the most diverse and educated workforces in North America. Toronto is calling you and your business.
We are diverse
According to 2021 Census data from Statistics Canada, more than half of residents in the Toronto Region identify as a visible minority (54.6 percent) – a higher percentage than most global cities, including New York. The region is home to 34 percent of all foreign-born people in Canada and half of Toronto Region’s population is foreign-born. Now those are numbers that are hard to compete with!
Diversity is truly a unique strength in the Toronto Region, and our large immigrant population enables business to be conducted in a variety of languages, which can help you engage in international markets. In fact, there are over 190 languages spoken in the region, and we are home to Canada’s largest ethnic Chinese (approximately 682,000) and Indian populations (approximately 600,000).
International businesses have no problems here finding workers to communicate globally. For instance, in 2022, Karrot, a hyperlocal community app company based in Korea, expanded to Toronto, with plans to build out its headquarters for global operations in the city. As one of the most multicultural and diverse cities in the world, Karrot targeted Toronto in its global expansion plans. Home to a large and vibrant Korean community, and the largest in Canada (approximately 70,000 Korean-speakers), Toronto represented a market for Karrot that had built-in brand awareness and marketability.
“As we operate Karrot in Toronto, I was deeply impressed by how people are genuinely embracing diversity – truly shaping who Canadians are as a collective – while each Toronto neighbourhood embodies a distinct culture at the same time,” said Gary Kim, Co-Founder, Karrot.
We are educated
Talent remains the primary driver for location decision making. Over the past few years, it has become evident that there is, in fact, a global war for talent, with companies competing heavily for highly skilled people, especially when it comes to engineering and new technology. Luckily, skilled talent is one of the strongest assets that the Toronto Region has to offer.
Seventy-one percent of adults in the province of Ontario have a postsecondary education, a rate higher than any OECD country (Invest in Ontario). When asked about the rationale behind their investment decisions, almost all international companies cite talent as one of the motivating factors – if not the most critical decision-maker – to establishing operations in the Toronto Region.
Not only do we grow talent here, we also attract and retain talent. Canada has increased its immigration goals through to 2025. In 2022, Canada welcomed over 430,000 permanent residents – the largest intake for the country. We have several programs, including the Global Skills Strategy, Global Talent Stream, and Intra-Company Transfer, that cater to businesses seeking to attract international talent.
More than 370,000 international students come to study in Canada each year, and 50 percent of those students choose Ontario.
Last year, American cloud computing company, Snowflake, opened its Canadian headquarters in Toronto, which also functions as one of its five global engineering hubs. With the intention of hiring hundreds of engineers, the company did not shy away from announcing the rationale behind this decision.
“Building a massive product line like this requires world-class talent to solve complex engineering and product problems,” the company said in a statement. “Our journey to build out our engineering hub in Toronto is just the beginning.”
Snowflake added that Toronto was an “obvious choice” for several reasons, such as its pool of tech talent due to schools like the University of Toronto and University of Waterloo; the city’s open and multicultural environment; and its ability in attracting top talent in the high-tech sector.
It’s hard to compete with data. The Toronto Region is diverse, skilled, and brimming with talent. We’ll let international companies “talk the talk,” and we’ll continue to “walk the walk.”
Click here to learn more about the talent advantage in the Toronto Region.
Erika Lewis is a Senior Communications Specialist with Toronto Global.