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Victoria’s tech industry blooms with new jobs

There’s a bit of a hiring spree going on in the high-tech industry, judging by a job board at the Victoria Advanced Technology Council that’s teeming with new positions from around the region.
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Victoria Advanced Technology Council executive director Dan Gunn says technology companies are expanding and ready to hire.

There’s a bit of a hiring spree going on in the high-tech industry, judging by a job board at the Victoria Advanced Technology Council that’s teeming with new positions from around the region.

The board has 98 jobs posted — it was more than 100 last week — and there are signs others are coming, said the council’s executive director, Dan Gunn.

“These are new hires, it’s not churn,” he said of companies hiring to replace staff who leave.

“Companies are expanding. We’ve had a few companies that have got good investment this year and solid results and returns, so they are ramping up.”

Gunn said when they have 80-plus jobs on their board, the industry is generally healthy — and more than 100 is considered really good. “At more than 120, we start having to deal with retention and recruiting issues,” he said.

Most of the jobs appear to be for software developers, highly skilled digital talent and analysts.

With a view to longer-term labour and skilled-worker shortages, VIATeC has been working with partners, including the Greater Victoria Development Agency, on producing materials to deal with recruiting.

Ahead of a planned trip to a career fair at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas, this week, VIATeC has put together websites, information and a video designed to lay out the opportunities that exist in Greater Victoria.

The video, which features a spoken-word performance by poet and Victoria Coun. Jeremy Loveday, has been posted at Somethingaboutvictoria.ca.

“Unfortunately, Victoria hasn’t created materials and branding about the opportunity here,” Gunn said. “We are great at selling Victoria for a visit.

“These are materials that anyone trying to persuade someone of the benefits and strengths of Victoria — outdoors, lifestyle, culture, coffee, beer — will have to share with that person,” he said.

At the Austin fair, Gunn expects to see hundreds of thousands of people pass by VIATec’s booth that will feature an “apply here” sign and offer information on what Victoria has to offer job seekers and companies, including details about the provincial nominee and federal entry programs.

“And we are still promoting the tech sector to the 37,000 full-time students here, so they know there are opportunities for them to stay here,” Gunn said.

aduffy@timescolonist.com