One job opening, hundred candidates: IT workers in Vancouver frustrated as tech firms turn to foreign workers

By Amy Chen
The majority of information technology jobs in Vancouver receive hundreds of applications from qualified Canadians as the job market for local talent shrinks as employers turn to temporary foreign workers after the federal government’s recent budget made it easier for corporations to bring in employees from abroad.

An opening for a Linux Kernel Software Engineer at Arista Networks’ Vancouver office received a whopping 557 applications, data from business-related social network LinkedIn shows.

An vacancy for Senior Software Engineer at ACTIVE Network has received 114 applications, while 100 candidates applied to become a Software Engineer at DarkVision Technologies Inc.

“I have sent over 100 applications,” a recent Computer Science undergraduate from University of British Columbia told the ThinkPol on the condition of anonymity for the fear of jeopardizing the chances of finding a job. “And I haven’t received a single acknowledgement.”

“I hear companies talk about ‘labour shortage’ all the time,” the 22-year-old with an impressive open source portfolio on the popular Github platform said. “Eight months after graduation, only a handful of my friends from my graduating class have found jobs.”

We showed the Burnaby resident a job posting by Amazon, which stated “AWS Commerce Platform will be in Argentina to interview folks for Vancouver-based positions on February 2017. Please apply if you’re interested in attending!”

“I should move to Argentina and apply from there then,” the aspiring software engineers said with a chuckle.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau unveiled measures making it easier to bring temporary foreign workers to Canada following industry pressure last November, claiming that “Companies are telling us their biggest challenge is talent.”

Shopify, an Ottawa-based startup that had spearheaded the lobbying efforts celebrated the government’s decision.

“We think this will be a game-changer,” said Alexandra Clark, Shopify’s director of policy and government affairs told the Globe and Mail newspaper. “Scalability is directly related to success for Canadian companies. What we heard today is that will be increasingly easier for Canadian companies to compete globally.”

The UBC graduate we interviewed didn’t share the sentiment.

“When companies like Shopify say that Canadian companies need foreign workers to compete globally, they mean compete globally in the race to the bottom,” the job hunter said. “If they truly wanted Canadian companies to compete globally in driving innovation, they would be hiring and training Canadians.”

9 Responses to One job opening, hundred candidates: IT workers in Vancouver frustrated as tech firms turn to foreign workers

  1. Dave says:

    As a software engineer working in the industry in Vancouver, I can say this is the complete opposite of my experience in the current market. I’m happily employed, being paid well, and have recruiters beating down my door to offer me the next opportunity, often with pretty attractive incentives.

  2. David R. Carroll says:

    I don’t see where you have connected the dots between these offers, and the same jobs being filled by foreign workers.

  3. Ryan R Clark says:

    Wow I knew the job market was rough in the tech sector in Van but that is pretty wild. How much less would a FW be paid for this gig, or would it be the same?

  4. a says:

    Why is this article interviewing one UBC new grad while inspecting senior dev positions around Vancouver? I’m sure some hiring managers and recruiters would have loved to speak about their experience, and we could talk more about the many expectation gaps in Vancouver tech rather than blanket blaming TFWs. Then again that doesn’t appear to have been the purpose

  5. jb says:

    My partner’s business has been looking for qualified Linux admins who have the right to work in Canada with very limited success. I’d love to see where these buckets full of qualified applicants are coming from!

  6. Bobby says:

    Fake News

  7. I think you're shitting us. says:

    I don’t think the research on this article is very complete. I hire in Vancouver for a team that is part of a large American tech firm. We hire grads, yes, we get tons of resumes. We also hire senior people. We get lots of unqualified, but zero qualified resumes from any country, here or abroad. Anyone with demonstratable skills in commercial software is working. We have to poach to get people.

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