Executive Search Spotlight: The Canadian Tech Triangle

Executive Search Spotlight: The Canadian Tech Triangle

By Chris Welsh, Partner

The Waterloo region – Waterloo, Kitchener and Cambridge – is well known for being one of the most economically diverse, innovative and entrepreneurial areas in the country. Commonly referred to as Canada’s Technology Triangle it is home to over a 1,000 technology firms, a strong start-up scene, and one of the strongest manufacturing economies in Canada. It is recognized internationally as a technology and start-up leader, and as a hub for world-class education and innovation.


Silicon Valley North

Regarded by many as Silicon Valley North, much of the innovative spirit of the Canadian Tech Triangle can be traced back to the top-notch co-op programs established by the University of Waterloo.

Over the past decade, the triangle saw the rapid growth of companies like Research in Motion and Open Text.  While they received many of the headlines, other established companies like Google have moved into the region to take advantage of the world class talent. The community has created an incredible infrastructure and support network that will help to incubate and grow the next generation of high tech companies.


The Tech Triangle Is an Executive Search Hot Spot

Waterloo is also a hot spot for executive search. The region provides world-class talent in technology, which creates growth opportunities for executives in the Tech Triangle. This growth is being driven by innovation and a highly technical and skilled workforce, often servicing the global marketplace.

Opportunities exist for leaders who are not only comfortable with leading rapid change, but can be the pioneers of the future. A technical background is a definite asset, but the key driver for executives is the ability to innovate and be able to commercialize that innovation, while establishing the framework of a scalable organization.


Recruiting and Retention Are Key Challenges for Organizations

One of main challenges for companies in the Tech Triangle is being able to attract, recruit and retain top executives. Given the sheer number of start-ups, rapid growth and demand continues to outpace supply; especially for executives.  This creates a need to be aggressive in both the attraction and retention of top talent.

To attract top talent, companies should put a greater emphasis on talent management. Companies that rely on innovation and ideas need to be ahead of the curve. If you invest money in R&D as a competitive advantage, you should also invest money in talent attraction and retention.

The Canadian Tech Triangle’s impact has a global reach.  It is a great model for other communities, and it has become a huge recruiting ground for areas like Silicon Valley. Companies are not only competitive with each other within the Waterloo region, they are also competing with other global organizations – an important factor to keep in mind when performing an executive search and recruiting talent.


About the Author

Chris Welsh is a partner with Four Corners Group, having previously spent 15 years with Canada’s top technology recruitment firm.  He also works as an Advisor to one of the country’s top technology incubators.  He does Executive Search for clients in high Tech, Financial Services, and Telecommunications.

He is a graduate of Upper Canada College and has a degree from Queen’s University.