Fifteen hundred jobs, many of them in IT, will be up for grabs this month at the largest Virtual Career Expo to be held in Canada.

Over 50 employers from cities across Canada will be participating in the online job fair, which runs April 19 and 20. Companies like IBM, Pythian, Microsoft and the Bank of Montreal will be looking for highly-skilled technology workers from Canada and abroad.

The event is hosted by the International Talent Acquisition Centre (In-TAC) in partnership with Immigrant Services of Calgary and Immigrant Services Society of British Columbia. It’s also supported by the federal government.

“The IT sector is badly in need of top-notch talent that is not available here in Canada,” said Ying Xie, In-TAC’s Senior Manager. “We’re finding that this new way of recruiting people is very effective.”

Fixing the IT skills gap

More than 53% of organizations in Canada say that attracting and retaining skilled employees is one of their top challenges, according to a survey by the Information  and Communications Technology Council (ICTC)  The ICTC’s Labour Market Outlook indicates that Canada will need to fill 216,000 technology jobs by 2021. “This growing demand for ICT professionals is being created by transformative and rapid advancements of technology,” the ICTC says in the report.

To fix the IT skills gap, the ICTC recommends increased training for young people. However, due to Canada’s declining population, it says that immigrants will “play an increasingly pivotal role in addressing the digital talent shortage.” Currently, immigrants represent more than one-third of ICT workers in Canada. The ICTC proposes that Canada should develop policies and programs to make it easier for business to quickly hire international talent.

In November 2017, the federal government announced plans to help address the skills shortage by bringing 310,000 newcomers to Canada in 2018, growing to a total of 340,000 in 2020. “This historic multi-year immigration levels plan will benefit all Canadians because immigrants will contribute their talents to support our economic growth and innovation, helping to keep our country at the forefront of the global economy,” said  the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Get a job from home

The Virtual Career Expo website will give employers access to job applications from registered candidates from around the world. If they think there might be a match, the two can chat privately in a realistic 3-D environment that resembles an exhibition hall.  They can even conduct video interviews on the platform.

It’s a win for both sides, says Xie. For employers, it saves the costs of transportation and displays at on-site events. Job seekers can participate from the convenience of their device, without having to travel to crowded halls or wait in long lines to meet recruiters.

“We strongly encourage both parties to take advantage of this free opportunity to expand their staffing and job seeking strategies,” said Ying Xie, In-TAC’s Senior Manager. “Our hope is that employers will find the talent they are looking for with no additional costs, and that international talent will find jobs from the comfort of their homes overseas.”

Since it started in 2016, over 4000 international professionals from more than 80 countries have participated in the In-TAC Virtual Career Expo.

To register for the Virtual Career Expo, click here.