Across Canada and the US, layoffs have continued into 2023, with many major tech companies making headlines with sizeable cuts.
The blows have been damaging: In 2022, a total of 150,000 tech workers were laid off globally across more than 900 companies.
Digital innovation has also enhanced the mobility of workers. Canadian organizations such as Jelly Academy, Palette Skills, and Uvaro enable talent at any stage of a career to complete up- and side-grades with remote upskilling programs and online certifications.
Above all, it’s important to recognize that—contrary to viral headlines—not every company is currently in the process of downsizing or restructuring.
In fact, many are still actively growing—specifically in Canada, too.
For example, Toronto-based insurance technology startup PolicyMe is entering the new year on a hiring spree following an $18 million Series A round secured late last year.
From 2020 through last year, the company tripled its headcount to more than 50 employees. Not only have they avoided the layoff bug many tech firms have caught recently, but PolicyMe is expanding—the startup says it is looking to fill several positions in the first quarter alone. These open roles include customer success, engineering, and product.
According to chief technology officer Jeff McKay, PolicyMe is “always in search of motivated talent to join our teams.” The startup promises a competitive salary, annual health spend account, and four weeks of vacation per year on top of unlimited sick days.
And of course, as a digital-forward company, the company offers employees the option of remote work or a physical desk at their cozy Toronto office. The startup’s remote work policy was originally based on Covid-19 Pandemic restrictions, but remains solidly in place because PolicyMe knows it has to compete on all levels for prime talent in the current market.
That is because, despite all this effort, “finding talent has been quite difficult … due to fierce competition in recruiting,” McKay admitted to TechTalent.ca recently.
This is ultimately good news for talent, though. In spite of mass layoffs, the supply-and-demand economics of tech workers in Canada appears to remain in their favour. Many of those looking work are therefore in strong positions to rebound.
This is partly because local companies need ample talent, but also because Canada’s tech hubs are so rich that outsiders are continuously compelled to tap into the pool—such as Santa Clara-based Astera Labs and Sanofi from France.
Astera Labs Vancouver, an office and “state-of-the-art lab to support the company’s development of cutting-edge interconnect technologies for Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning architectures,” is strategically located to “tap into the region’s rich technology talent base to drive product development, customer support, and marketing,” the company stated last year.
Sanofi meanwhile announced a new Global AI Centre of Excellence located in Toronto, home to Canada’s deepest tech talent pool.
Others, like Croatia-born Agilno, expanded to Canada because the business is good and so is the talent. The global custom software development firm is deepening its footprint in Canada through scaling its office in Toronto, where it plans to “leverage the region’s deep tech talent pool to hire roles in Product Management, UI/UX, and Software Development,” according to a statement from the company.
Toronto is well-known as a thriving technology hub with a strong and diverse economy, notes Agilno CEO Peter Vukasinovic. It also represents access to a skilled talent pipeline, proximity to key partners in international markets, and availability of resources and infrastructure, the executive says. These were all “critical factors in the company’s decision-making process.”
People from around the world come to Canadian cities like Vancouver and Toronto “to gain a world-class education, jumpstart their careers, and be part of a respected community of industry professionals and entrepreneurs in the world’s fastest-growing tech hub,” stated Stephen Lund, CEO of Toronto Global, which supports the expansion of international businesses into the Toronto Region.
Agilno plans to “continue growing and recruiting talent throughout the course of 2023,” hiring across a wide range of roles. And they’re not alone. Other examples include PointsBet, Ripple, Nokia, and more.