WITT Helps Employers And Job Seekers As the Workplace Moves Into The Home

Published: 13 June 2020

By Juliette Smith

Welcome to Women IT Teleworkers, WITT for short. We are a new employment service for women immigrants in the Ottawa region.  There are likely 200+ employment agencies in the area but we have extra benefits for both Job Seekers and Employers.

We are focused on internationally trained women who have various skills in Information Technology (IT) who prefer to Work from Home (WFH).

COVID-19 has caused a major shift in how companies view the role of Work from Home. We have seen the likes of Shopify and Microsoft planning to have many of their staff WFH permanently. Combine that trend with what we have learned from decades of helping the immigrant community through our parent organizations, the Ottawa Chinese Community Service Centre and the International Talent Acquisition Centre and you have the right set of experiences to backstop WITT. This includes previous projects that focused on immigrant women. Funding received from the City of Ottawa, now means WITT has seed money to provide these services.

Ottawa continues to attract immigrants from around the world. In the last five years, Statistics Canada stated more than 30,000 immigrants have arrived in the capital region.

Immigrant Snapshot

  • 23% of Ottawa’s population
  • 27% of Ottawa’s workforce
  • 46% are economic immigrants, either skilled workers or business people
  • 53% are women
  • 37% have a graduate degree
  • 57% have a doctorate.

Immigrants are still under-utilized; given the wide range of skills, they bring to Canada. They often cannot work in their chosen profession or apply the skills they have gained. Immigrant women have the toughest time getting a job. WFH opens up new opportunities for women who have IT skills. Immigrant women often are held back from jobs because of a lack of a support system, daycare and/or affordable transportation for the daily commute. Telework addresses these hurdles.

Hiring Newcomers to WFH Is a Savvy Business Choice

In a 2012 survey by EKOS, 95% of employers who hired a skilled immigrant said that hiring benefitted the company.

WFH has economic benefits. A US study says a firm can save $7,500 CDN per year if an employee works from home just two days a week. The savings come from reduced office costs, less absenteeism and increased productivity. Canadians have already moved to WFH in large numbers. According to Statistics Canada and the 2016 Census, 2.5 million Canadians worked from home, accounting for about 12.6 per cent of the workforce. In 2017 Regus Canada said 11% of employees work at home exclusively and another 36% said they mostly work from home. That adds up to nearly 50% of the workforce already working from home to some degree.

The tech sector is in a global competition to find and retain talent. The International Monetary Fund predicts a shortage of 85 million workers by 2036. Prime Minister Trudeau said in the fall of 2019 that immigrants have fuelled the growth of Canada’s tech sector.

WITT sets the stage to leverage immigrant integration into the labour market through WFH opportunities with our new unique service. We will vet and screen all candidates, listing their skills on our Web site but in addition, we train them in the issues that affect WFH success. These include mental health maintenance, work-life balance and inclusion in team camaraderie despite working remotely. WITT will save employers time and money with a more focused hiring search and your firm will gain in both gender and race diversity.

Our Job Seekers want to work from home as their primary “office” but they do realize that on occasion they can be requested to come into the employer’s office. Our primary goal is full-time employment but we can also assist employers interested in hiring virtual workers for short term contracts or freelance work.

WITT is a non-profit social enterprise, that means our fees are significantly lower than private-sector competitors. A portion of all placement fees will go to support Women’s Shelters in Ottawa.

Job Seekers Benefit from WFH

Whether you are a Web Developer, Network Architect, Software Developer, Security Analyst, Project Manager or Data Analyst many tech jobs can be done from home.

Those who work remotely aren’t just saving time and money for themselves and the employer, they also help the environment by reducing or eliminating daily commuting.

“From the environmental perspective, it’s tough to argue,” said Wayne Berger, the CEO of IWG Canada and Latin America, the parent company of remote office space provider Regus. “If you can help people eliminate two hours a day in a commute alone in their car, the quality of their life increases, they have more time with their friends and family, they get more opportunity to be productive, they balance their schedule differently, and it does reduce CO2 emissions.”

A review by the Telework Research Network of about 2,000 studies from the past decade concludes employees who work outside of the office can have higher productivity because of:

  • Fewer interruptions and distractions
  • Better time management and more effective communications
  • Greater flexibility to address work/life balance
  • More time for work rather than huge blocks of commute time
  • Reduced downtime.

Workers save time and money. The Telework Research Network calculates that just a two-day-a-week teleworker in Canada can save $2,000 a year.

The federal government has 80 programs to attract skilled immigrants and there is a separate fast-tracking initiative for the tech sector. Ottawa’s economy will benefit as these IT women gain opportunities to work at Ottawa firms

How Participants Are Hired

A Job Seeker’s work profile is posted to the WITT Web site and can be searched by employers to find the best fit. Then WITT consultants help the two sides to continue the hiring process.

A successful program to connect IT-trained women immigrants with new jobs is really a cornerstone of successful immigration. First, the individual becomes a taxpayer rather than being supported by taxpayer-funded programs. The individual’s self-worth and self-confidence increases. If the woman is a single parent, then her ability to provide for her family increases. Her financial situation will improve.

If you would like to register for automatic alerts on future blog posts that will focus on practical advice about best practices about working from home, please send your email address to info@WITTJobs.ca

Connect with us on:
Twitter – https://twitter.com/WittJobs
LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/women-it-teleworkers-99387a1ab/
Facebook –  https://www.facebook.com/WITTJobs
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/wittjobs/

Juliette Smith is the head of WITT and is the Manager of National Projects and Community Stakeholders for the International Talent Acquisition Centre.

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