Technology was always held up as the thing to release us from the shackles of factory and cubicle life.
It didn’t really. The advent of mass-market laptops certainly increased the mobility of a freelancer, but it was ultimately a shift in company culture that made work a more tolerable place to spend time. Turns out offices can actually be pretty nice when employers care about their staff.
Then came the COVID-19 Pandemic, which forced another abrupt work-culture shift. Even the most anti-remote workplaces were forced to send all of their workers home to plod away on computers from dog-hair couches and Starbucks barstools.
With many offices only just now returning to hybrid work more than two years later, full-time remote work has in the meantime become thoroughly normalized. Indeed, many people were hired entirely remotely through 2020 and 2021—without ever meeting their employer or coworkers until perhaps the last couple months.
Importantly, this unexpected experiment showed remote work en masse can be done.
Today, the quantity of open remote tech positions is significantly higher than it was pre-pandemic, which raises interesting questions. In the US, for example, tech industry representatives appear concerned with more offshoring of skilled tech work.
Remote tech jobs are up more than 400% in North America since the start of the Pandemic, and most of these positions can truly be performed from anywhere in the world with a reasonable internet connection. Live in any State? Cool. How about any country, though?
Should Canada be concerned? It is often thought we already lose too much of our homegrown talent to US hubs like Silicon Valley, where ambition is more richly rewarded. This trend may stall or even reverse if remote work trends popular enough.
Perhaps the boom of remote work could benefit Canada.
“The level of remote tech positions … opens the door to more outsourcing—workers staying in India, in China, or moving to places like Canada that have more flexible immigration policies,” Jennifer Grundy Young, Tecna’s chief executive officer, told the Wall Street Journal.
The WSJ points out that Canada has been “courting tech workers for years,” making it an attractive destination for coders and engineers “who have had a hard time obtaining US visas.”
No question: Canada is doing well on the tech front. For example, Toronto has added more than 80,000 tech jobs since 2016, a figure higher than any other city in North America. It’s a globally recognized fintech hotspot.
Remote work does not appear to be a threat to Canada’s tech momentum, and may even prove a boon.