Location and education are factors in Hamilton’s contribution to Canada’s booming tech industry – Hamilton
A business development expert says Hamilton’s proximity to an innovation corridor in southern Ontario is why the city is one of North America’s hotbeds of tech talent.
City of Hamilton consultant Karol Murillo says the location has a lot to do with the city’s ranking in the top 10 in the category, along with centers like Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, San Francisco and Seattle.
“About eight years ago we were starting to see all this growth from Waterloo, Hamilton to Toronto. And for us, we have been part of that growth,” Murillo said.
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A recent study of data on LinkedIn, drawn from profile information linked to more than 800 members, suggested that the technology expansion plans of some of the world’s largest companies and the curriculum offered by major universities were the catalyst for ” lead the charge”.
“In the past few weeks alone, Walmart Canada has announced that one of its two new Global Technology Centers will be located in Toronto as it plans to hire 5,000 tech workers this year,” said Riva Gold, staff writer. LinkedIn chief in a study summary, “while Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp parent Meta shared plans for a Canadian engineering hub that will create approximately 2,500 jobs.”
Murillo says Hamilton’s tech occupations have grown 50% over the past five years, peaking with about 18,000 tech workers making Hamilton their home.
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“Right before the pandemic in 2019, one of our biggest wins was landing an investor in a tech company called Q4 Inc.,” Murillo said.
“They walked in, saw what was happening in Hamilton, and landed on over 20,000 square feet of space right in the heart of downtown Hamilton.”
The LinkedIn study also indicates that education along the southern corridor is key with the University of Toronto, Waterloo, Toronto Metropolitan University and Seneca College among the top 10 tech graduates in Canada.
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Foremost in the boom is the recent number of engineering students the University of Waterloo is producing — nearly double what Stanford and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have produced in a year.
Before the pandemic, the school had more than 10,000 students enrolled in its engineering programs, compared to 5,000 at Stanford and 3,000 at MIT, according to data from each school’s website.
Calgary is leading technology growth across the continent through a downtown revitalization initiative that is mobilizing more technology-related investment, diversifying its traditional base of oil and gas offerings.
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Much of this investment is attributed to a 2019 forecast from the city’s economic development division which estimated that $18 billion was set aside for the creation or expansion of digital technologies over a three-year period, housing some 77,000 jobs.
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Soaring house prices don’t appear to be a problem for tech workers, as Canada’s West Coast and Greater Toronto Area (GTA) continue to see talent flow to the metropolises.
Vancouver leads in this category with growth of 2.1% over the past 12 months.
LinkedIn data revealed that the most coveted tech specialists employers are currently looking for are those with a background in data engineering. Back-end developer, software engineering manager, implementation specialist, data scientist, and director of engineering round out the top five.
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