Ottawa tech sector resilient amidst industry-wide layoffs: Invest Ottawa CEO

By CityNews Ottawa

Despite a bout of massive layoffs spreading through the global tech sector, Invest Ottawa is confident the capital's tech companies can stave off the infection.

Speaking on Wake Up with Rob Snow, Michael Tremblay, chief executive officer of Invest Ottawa, said they are still seeing a lot of hiring.

“Obviously, there's going to be some bumps in the road for a number of companies,” said Tremblay. “But you have to keep in mind, for the multinationals, it isn't unusual for them to take these steps of reducing the workforce.”

Over the last few weeks, some of tech's biggest players have resorted to downsizing their workforce, including Google with 12,000 layoffs, Microsoft with 10,000 and Amazon with 18,000.

Tremblay attributes a lot of this to keeping the stock price buoyant for investors, citing the 2008 recessionary period as historical proof.

“They really took that precaution to double down on R&D (research and development) and reduce costs on operations,” said Tremblay. “I don't think we should be spooked by this.”

The diversification of Ottawa's tech sector over the years instills Tremblay with added confidence. Compared to the early 2000s when Ottawa's tech sector was heavily invested in telecom, today, Ottawa's tech companies range from software development to military defence.

“One of the advantages of our market is that we're so diversified in terms of deep technical skills,” said Tremblay.

Ottawa remains the highest density tech sector in North America, ahead of even Silicon Valley, according to Tremblay, with almost 12 per cent of the population working in tech-related jobs.

“That's a significant capability to bring to the world,” said Tremblay. ” So, I always like to say, the world needs Ottawa.”

Listen to the full interview with Michael Tremblay on Wake Up with Rob Snow below.

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