Vancouver a Tech Hub for Large Business only?
I found this article by Microsoft to be fairly interesting and if anything it mirrors what I’ve been saying even though I would say my perspective (as small/mid business is the opposite). The article says Vancouver is anchored by Seattle as a Tech Hub. To me that’s like saying we’re on the map by fluke because of another major hub across the border.
Tech is thriving in Vancouver but all of the examples in the article cite large companies like Deloitte, Microsoft, Boeing etc.. If anything isn’t this an indication that there is little to no small business in the IT sector around here? Large companies go and succeed in almost any market so the presence of such companies in Vancouver in my opinion does not confirm much.
Yes there are definitely some innovative startups in AI and AR but do we have a thriving small business community like the US or in Asia? I think the answer is a clear no.
Where is our own network?
Telus has done a great job of finally laying fiber yet where does it go? Do a traceroute, most traffic goes through Seattle, Chicago or New York? Look below, from my home in Vancouver a visit to CBC.ca goes through Seattle. Vancouver and Canada itself are nearly 100% dependent on US fiber in hubs like Seattle. If a war breaks out or the US administration deems Canada a natural security risk (such as with aluminum) they could in theory cut off our access to the world almost entirely. My point is that we lack our own infrastructure so we’ll always be second tier to the US including Seattle on who’s internet we depend on.
And when they talk about the number of jobs I have some anecdotal experience from recruiters, students and recruiters. I’ve found a large majority of advertised jobs appear to be aimed at Temporary Foreign Workers or otherwise “someone who is new to Canada”. What I’m saying is that these jobs cannot be counted if they are not aimed at permanent residents and citizens of BC and Canada. Essentially a lot of companies have a lot of positions that are in Help Desk Like or Junior/Entry Level that often have managerial duties where they want to target someone who would accept the lowest wage.
As a business model it obviously makes sense for large companies to do that to save money. But what does it say about the viability of operating here? It seems like the large companies depend on the cheapest possible labor and cannot afford to pay for skill and experience. For example a Software Development Manager in the US will get paid $120k-$140US, while in Canada for the same position, the pay is a $80k-$100k CAD. This is a indicator that the US is growing in the IT sector, not us. We’re just piggy backing on some of their large business in Canada.
How do I know this is the case? Because I’ve been told this by a number of recruiters and also based on my name I’ve been getting contract offers where some of this recruiting systems think I am from “Pakistan” and seem to be targeting anyone their systems think is a foreigner. So it’s definitely a disappointing and sad state in my opinion to see this here in Vancouver. But I believe this is what’s generally happening. It’s why I branched out my company to other markets and to this day we have very few Canadian clients.
What do you think fellow Canadian IT workers?