Innovation Nation: In the cutthroat race for talent, humanitarian hiring offers an edge

This file photo taken on Sept. 19, 2015, shows a general view of the UN-run Zaatari camp for Syrian refugees, north east of the Jordanian capital Amman.halil Mazraawi/AFP/National Post photo illustration

Canada has a rich history of innovation, but in the next few decades, powerful technological forces will transform the global economy. Large multinational companies have jumped out to a headstart in the race to succeed, and Canada runs the risk of falling behind. At stake is nothing less than our prosperity and economic well-being. The Financial Post set out explore what is needed for businesses to flourish and grow. You can find all of our coverage here.

Bonfire Interactive, a procurement software company in Kitchener, Ont., often has openings for web developers. But finding suitable candidates can be difficult. So for a recent hire, the company expanded its search globally. The job was posted online, a promising prospect was interviewed via Skype, and a few weeks ago Bonfire’s newest software engineer arrived for work.

Far-flung recruitment has become business as usual for many Canadian tech startups: According to the Information and Communications Technology Council, the sector will face a shortage of 220,000 workers by 2020. What’s different is where Bonfire found their new employee — from a pool of refugees displaced by conflict.

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