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Spotlight on Meetings and Conventions

Québec City’s booming economy and job market attracts major events

Québec City’s economy is booming—and along with it, the lowest unemployment rates seen in decades. This thriving economy is great for businesses, entrepreneurship, key industries and, of course, the event industry. Over the course of the past year alone, the Québec City Convention Centre welcomed more than 171 conventions and meetings.

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While the province of Québec’s unemployment rate is hovering at 5.4% since the beginning of 2018, Québec City’s was as low as 4% in May 2018. “The need for talent is across all industries, such as IT, financial services, manufacturing, retail, healthcare institutions, hotels and restaurants, you name it. And businesses are looking for workers of all skill levels. It is definitely an exciting time for job seekers and businesses in Québec City,” said Marie-Josée Chouinard, director at Québec International.

That is why Ms. Chouinard, her team, Québec International and all levels of government are cooperating very closely to help local companies fill their myriad of open positions. From recruitment missions to coaching businesses on how to recruit international, work permits and immigration, to assisting businesses in expatriating employees that need to work in another country, Québec International and its partners are pulling out all the stops to remove the maximum number of obstacles and help Québec companies in hiring, inducting and integrating new employees, getting work permits, and navigating through immigration processes. The synergy between business, government, and the scientific community helps drive promising projects forward and is testament to what makes Québec City such a compelling place to do business and hold events.

But what makes a city appealing to foreign workers, businesses and events?

“We believe that there are three main facets to Québec City that make it a perfect place to do business—facets that Québec International and its partners are particularly focused on.”

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Innovative Companies

“First, to make Québec City a desirable place for workers from other provinces, the US and abroad, we need to have companies that innovate, in terms of their solutions and services as well as how they manage their employees. Nowadays, people are looking for work life balance and turn to businesses that don’t just talk the talk but walk it too.”

It also means that companies have to invest in creating stimulating, comfortable work environments that foster a healthy climate. Be open to cultural and generational diversity is also important. “Foreign or older workers are invaluable human resources that must not go untapped,” she added. 

Ms. Chouinard points out that some Québec City companies, which could be traditionally considered competitors, are actually cooperating on joint projects that leverage each entity’s unique expertise. “Coopetition is definitely a trend that is increasingly popular.”

Regional Mobilization

Ms. Chouinard also described how various economic stakeholders, the City of Québec, educational institutions and community services have come together to attract foreign workers. Since Québec International started its international recruitment arm in 2008, over 2,300 skilled workers were recruited from abroad thanks to recruitment missions and other initiatives.

The numbers are indeed impressive. Over 160 different Québec City companies have participated in at least one of Québec International’s 37 recruitment missions in France, Belgium, Spain, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Tunisia, the United States and even Montréal. And 590 businesses have benefited from Québec International’s recruitment consulting services.

This summer, Québec International will be hosting its first worldwide virtual recruitment mission in Latin America, France, Belgium, Eastern Europe and Northern Africa. “While we have done other virtual missions before, this one is the first one we are hosting around the globe.”

And the missions are paying off. The most recent virtual recruitment mission in June 2017 targeted Latin America and enabled 18 Québec City companies to attract 15,000 applications. Nearly one hundred positions were filled.

Thanks to the quality of its educational institutions, Québec City has attracted 6000 international students. Over 60% want to stay in the city after their studies. “While international students are not used to working and studying at the same time, we are encouraging these readily available candidates to take up part-time work in Québec City’s hotel and restaurant industry,” said Ms. Chouinard.

Attractive City

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“Québec City is such a charming and beautiful city,” Ms. Chouinard noted. “It is very easy to sell it to foreign workers who are thinking of uprooting their families to come to Canada.”

She explained that quality of life for young families and professionals is a big factor when workers abroad take the leap to Québec City. “It is a city—with a human scale. The cost of living is affordable, there is a lot of public transit and Québec City is ultra-close to nature. Candidates fall in love with the idea that they can experience the city’s unique urban vibe—and the great outdoors.” For newcomers, Québec International and its partners are convinced that the city offers an unbeatable life for newcomers. Québec City even ranks first among Canadian cities as most attractive city for millennials according to Point2home.

Québec International, along with several partners, created an innovative portal, Québec First, which offers a wealth of information for foreign workers who are considering moving to Québec City to study, pursue their careers or even start a business. “Québec First is a practical tool to show candidates their potential in Québec City—and the city’s potential as their new home.”

The feverish economy and recruitment pace in Québec City shows no signs of slowing down. “We have had tremendous success stories in bringing qualified workers to the city. And as long as there are openings, we’ll work tirelessly to fill them!”

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