In case you missed our article on Business in Vancouver, here it is, reprinted in full.
Building brand is the key to retaining great employees
What’s really happening with Vancouver’s job market? For every report citing that the recession is in the rear-view mirror, there are equally emphatic reports that indicate we’ve only just started to feel the impact of a looming economic dip. But what do the national reports mean for our local market? Or, even more specifically, how has our IT industry been impacted?
To put it simply, IT is thriving. While no industry is completely recession-proof, IT comes close. IT is an elastic vertical; when the economy dips, companies look to IT to improve efficiencies to cut operational costs. When the economy booms, so too do investments in new technology and development. Either way the economy moves, there’s likely always a demand for technical resources. To add to Vancouver’s growing reputation as an IT hub, there is also the added pressure of big names setting up shop, like Amazon, Microsoft or Facebook – just three of the big names that have joined the local market.
And why wouldn’t American shops want to open Canadian offices? With the soft Canadian dollar providing a 25% discount off the top, there is an immediate savings to be leveraged. Combine that savings with Vancouver’s lower IT compensation levels, which often lag behind Seattle’s by 5% to 10% and behind Silicon Valley’s by as much as 35%, and Canadian resources are a bargain. Vancouver offers a treasure trove of talent without having to worry about time zones or language barriers. The bottom line is the tech industry is facing a significant shortfall.
But what exactly are they looking for? Well, to borrow the eloquent words of Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s former CEO, “Developers, developers, developers. Developers. Developers!” Not coincidentally, that’s what a majority of local employers are seeking, and the demand is only increasing.
So how do employers stay competitive in attracting candidates to supplement their technical teams? More importantly, how can employers retain the great people they are able to find?
The quickest answer is to commoditize development and increase rates and salaries for skilled developers – which may work, but only for a while. Local employment experts at IT/IQ Tech Recruiters are actively helping dozens of local employers to refine lasting attraction and retention strategies. While tactics like staying competitive with market rates certainly play a role, they are only a part of the overarching strategy of building an employer brand focused squarely on the types of people you want to see walking through your doors – and staying there.
“One of the exciting things our team gets to do is to help our customers realize their own position in the market, and how to capitalize on it,” says Feras Elkhalil, IT/IQ’s president and founder. “Often, they have one idea of how they’re perceived in the market, but the reality can be completely different. Our team is plugged into the IT community, and we hear it directly from the source. We help our customers take ownership of their message, and use it to attract the right people for their environment.”
Your company’s employer brand can be completely separate from the product or service brand. Although every company may have challenges, the key is to be honest in assessing unique selling points as an employer, to recognize internal challenges and address them in a meaningful way. Once the employer brand is defined, it’s a matter of using it to effectively – and accurately – position the company as a desirable employment option. The most important point is that you control the messaging; this is your story after all.
The good news is you don’t need to do it alone; IT/IQ’s team is ready to help spread the word about your organization, exciting opportunities and unique culture.
About IT/IQ Tech Recruiters
Formerly known as WPCG, IT/IQ is a specialized IT recruitment firm providing contract, permanent and payroll services to the top employers in the Vancouver area. For more insight into the IT employment industry, or to speak with one of our team about trends we have tracked in the local market, please visit our website at www.it-iq.com.