WRITTEN BY: FRANK COY
The Niagara Region has always been a great place to live, but the knock has often been that the jobs were scarce.
That scarcity of quality jobs has driven many aspiring young professionals out of the area to larger cities where jobs were more plentiful.
We are seeing evidence of this tide returning to Niagara. Our hiring experience over the past couple of years indicates that a cohort of young, highly skilled tech professionals is making their way back to Niagara.
In March of 2017 we posted for two positions, a graphic designer and a senior digital project manager.
We received 90 submissions, equally split between the two positions. We short listed and interviewed 10, (five for each) and actually hired three of those people.
That cohort was a little spotty and the 10 we interviewed were not hard to select out of the 90.
In early November of this year, we posted another 3 positions with similar skill sets. A web content specialist, a junior digital project manager and a senior digital project manager. Our experience so far has been quite different.
We have received more than 60 resumes of which we are presently considering 20 and have interviewed 10 so far.
The quality of the respondents this time is significantly higher and of the 10 we have interviewed, five were originally from Niagara, moved to Toronto for several years and have moved back for various reasons. (costs, start a family, commute, etc.)
When we were speaking of our hiring needs with our business mentor, she indicated that we would probably have trouble sourcing this type of individual in Niagara. The challenge would be that the successful candidates would have to make two moves. Move from their present position and move geographically from Toronto. This, she felt, would present a potential problem with recruitment.
We haven’t found this to be true. The quality of applicants will actually present a different kind of challenge for us, selecting only three.
What we have found to be the most pleasantly surprising is the number of qualified applicants who are originally from Niagara, have moved away for work and are now coming back.
We have heard repeatedly from these candidates that infrastructure like the Meridian Centre and the Preforming Arts Centre in downtown St. Catharines as well as the cost of living compared to the larger centres they are leaving, were the main selling points for them returning to Niagara.
This influx of high-quality job applicants has given us a great deal of confidence in having chosen to start our Software as a Service (SaaS) business here in Niagara and ensures our ability to stay here and continue to grow.
Frank is a lifelong St. Catharines resident who spent 24 years in the financial services industry. Since 2012, Frank, Blair Colbey and Lisa Matheson have been growing CMSintelligence, a website and strategic consulting agency as well as developing their Tymbrel software platform that has users from across North America.
This article originally appeared in Business Link Niagara.