Canada’s High Tech Grads Look South
OTTAWA (Feb. 9, 1999) -- Almost
80 per cent of computer science and engineering students at Canadian universities are willing,
and in many cases eager, to take jobs in the United States, according to a survey by PERSONNEL
SYSTEMS and NATIONAL Public Relations.
Students ranked higher
salaries, better long-term earnings, greater career opportunities, lower taxes and a better
economic climate as the major reasons for considering a move to the United States. But a
company’s use of the latest technologies and the corporate work environment were the
strongest factors influencing students when they researched potential employers.
Although talk about a brain
drain is widespread, the survey found that Canadian high tech firms underestimate the
willingness of Canadian students to take a job in the United States. The majority of employers
believed that less than half of high tech students would consider a job south of the border.
In fact, 78 per cent indicated they were willing to go to the United States. The students who
said they were not interested in U.S. jobs cited the U.S. health care system, higher crime
rates and distance from family, friends and home.
"U.S. corporations, search
firms and consultants are actively recruiting Canadian talent – often with a more attractive
package including higher salaries, signing bonuses and opportunities for advancement,'' said Janice
Schellenberger, senior partner in Personnel Systems. "Once they’re interested in a
potential employer, students are spending a fair amount of time on their own research. Grads
expect to have five or six interviews. A common complaint among students who already had
interviews was that recruiters did not provide enough information."
"High tech firms have to
put as much effort into positioning themselves to interest and attract recruits as they do
selling their products and services," said John Wildgust, a partner at National Public
Relations in Ottawa. "The disconnects between high tech students and employers about what
attracts potential recruits suggests that companies should be paying more attention to
communications – their messages and the channels they use to deliver them."
Among the findings:
The survey, one of the first to
focus on the views of Canada’s high tech students, as opposed to companies’ perspectives,
measured responses from more than 500 students from 30 Canadian campuses. It also gathered
responses from 91 high tech employers in Canada. The survey was conducted over the Internet
from November through January – the period when recruiters are beginning to approach the
latest crop of high tech graduates. The students responded to the survey voluntarily and some
universities were more active in promoting the survey. The full report is available on
Personnel Systems web site at www.perssyst.com/survey/grad-results.htm
- Most engineering and
computer science students want jobs in high tech and software companies, making recruiting
even more difficult for government, service and retail industries to fill information
- California, home of Silicon
Valley, was the most popular job location in the United States. More than half of all
students surveyed said they would relocate there.
- Almost half of the students
said they would move to a job outside of North America. Western Europe was the top
- In Canada, British Columbia
and Ontario were the top provinces for relocation
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