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CEOs of tech start-ups say recruitment and retention is their biggest challenge

Revenue is not the biggest concern for Canadian tech start-ups, according to a report on emerging technology companies released this week by PwC. For the first time, the 150 CEOs interviewed listed managing talent as their biggest...


May 17, 2012  


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Revenue is not the biggest concern for Canadian tech start-ups, according to a report on emerging technology companies released this week by PwC. For the first time, the 150 CEOs interviewed listed managing talent as their biggest issue (26%) compared to revenue (25%) and funding (18%). Now in its ninth year, the annual report found that:

* Compensation was said to be the cause of most voluntary turnover (26%), followed by a lack of new challenges (23%).

* Nearly half of involuntary turnover involved underdeveloped or under skilled talent — poor performance (41%) and poor skills fit (13%) were most often cited as the reason why CEOs let staff go.

“On the one hand you could say that Canadian start-ups need to do a better job of finding and keeping the right people with the right skills,” said Peter Matutat, PwC’s National Emerging Company Practice Leader.

“However it’s disconcerting that the current talent pool may actually lack the skills, knowledge or experience needed by today’s tech companies.”

Nearly two-thirds of respondents said that over the past two years it has become more difficult to find the programmers and technical personnel they need.

CEOs also indicated that the “brain drain” of Canadian talent to U.S. companies continues to hurt their businesses.

“It’s promising to see so many entrepreneurs in the market but it makes the talent shortage and the need for training, development and support for Canadian-based innovation that much more acute,” Matutat said.

The 44-page report polled over 150 CEOs of emerging Canadian software companies on a variety of topics including growth, recruitment, M&A and exits, and raising capital. Overall, revenues in this sector are increasing with revenue growth at approximately 25% in 2011.

Further information is available at www.pwc.com/ca/cv2r.