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Foreign workers filling talent gaps in Canada’s fast-growing video game industry

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Chad Sapieha

FINANCIAL POST

November 16, 2015

 

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A BOOM IN THE VIDEO GAME INDUSTRY

 

As Canada’s video game industry continues to grow, new research suggests Canadian talent may not be able to keep pace with demand for experienced workers, leading to attractive opportunities here for foreign workers.

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Thirteen per cent of the industry’s work force now comes from abroad, with most foreign hires originating from the United States, United Kingdom and Western Europe.

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According to a new report commissioned by the Entertainment Software Association Canada (ESAC), that trend will likely continue in coming years. ESAC anticipates more than 1,400 senior and intermediate level jobs will be created in technical and creative roles overt the next one to two years.

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The video game sector’s contribution to Canada’s GDP grew to $3 billion in 2015, a 31 per cent increase since 2013, with 472 active studios creating 20,400 full-time jobs — a 24 per cent gain in people directly employed by the industry, which develops such games as the Assassin’s Creed series, the Need for Speed titles, Club Penguin and the FIFA World Cup series.

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Jayson Hilchie, ESAC president and CEO, says the industry’s reliance on out-of-country talent is a potential benefit to Canada.

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“A third of these temporary foreign workers end up becoming permanent Canadian residents,” he said, adding that a further eight per cent go on to become citizens. “So we’re actually creating new Canadians, per se. As far as I’m concerned, that’s a really positive stat.”

 

 

 

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