Saturday, May 12, 2012

Talent Economy Canada

Call it the curse of the Underpants Gnomes. Phase 1, spend $10 million. Phase 2, "?". Phase 3, attract foreign born talent. Canada needs skilled workers, desperately. Beyond throwing money at the problem, the country isn't sure how to do it:

For Sander de Block, the personal approach – and the genuine interest shown by Nova Scotia representatives – has won him over: “In most places, it stops with being wined and dined, getting a nice brochure, or a tax rebate,” he says. In Nova Scotia, he says, the conversation was also about fostering his company's innovation.

Emphasis added. The money tends to go to those initiatives you find in most places. A major theme in the success stories is the personal connection, networking. Sound strategies for landing a highly desirable job apply well to engineering talent migration. Where you go depends on who you know.

You don't always go where you know. Network or chain migration is instrumental in facilitating the exception to the geographic mobility rule. How else can Kitchener-Waterloo compete with Silicon Valley for talent? I'm betting that $10 million won't answer that question.

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