Victoria’s tech sector seeks to groom leaders to fuel growth

With an eye on its lofty goal of helping Victoria’s tech sector grow to $10 billion in annual revenues by 2030, the Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council is drafting in reinforcements.

VIATEC is on the lookout for three new staff to focus on establishing new leadership, human resources and engagement programs for the organization and the broader tech sector.

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Dan Gunn, VIATEC’s chief executive, said while the sector is thriving its growth has been held back by a lack of seasoned talent and leadership.

Collectively, VIATEC companies claim a $5.22-billion annual economic impact, which includes wages, spending and combined annual revenue of its 955 companies of about $4.06 billion.

“It is imperative that we attract more talent, while also supporting leadership development among our members for them to reach their full potential,” he said.

To that end, VIATEC is hiring what it calls a leadership director who will develop a leadership training program for the region’s senior executives, and a director of talent, who will design and implement new programs to establish supply routes for skilled workers and managers.

“In a city of our size, we can’t attract all that much experienced leadership talent,” said Gunn, noting tech leaders tend to be attracted by a broad spectrum of opportunities. “So we have to build our own.”

VIATEC hopes grooming new leaders from within Victoria’s tech sector will result in enhancing and growing the companies they work with and the sector.

The new director of talent will be tackling another of the sector’s biggest issues — the workforce.

“That role is about finally trying to quantify, coordinate, research and analyze the [human resources] situation,” said Gunn.

Gunn said the hope is they can dive into the talent recruiting and retaining issues faced by companies of all sizes and by doing that determine what kinds of jobs are difficult to fill, why that’s the case and what steps they can take to address it.

That role is likely to include creating materials, presentations and displays to sell Victoria as an option to prospective workers around the world. Gunn said they are not looking for a recruiter, but someone to do a proper analysis of the labour force situation and establish programs that will address the issues the tech sector faces.

Gunn said they are also looking for a new community manager to build and maintain relationships with the organization’s nearly 500 members.

“For the past few years we have offered pilot programs focused on leadership development and our members have told us that it has been very impactful and for many, the most valuable thing we have done for them,” Gunn said. “We are excited to be moving forward with new resources aimed specifically at addressing these key challenges to give our community another advantage, so that our members can focus on building their products, markets and revenues.”

aduffy@timescolonist.com

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