25 Sep Top Six Reasons Why Rural Talent is Canada’s Best Untapped Resource
Rural areas comprise 95% of Canada’s land mass, employ 4.9 million people and generates 30% of our GDP.
When you think about Canada, what springs to mind? For most people, endless wheat fields, frigid snowy landscapes and soaring mountains are among the first ideas. Canoes on lakes, skating on frozen ponds, that type of thing, right? Nothing wrong with any of those images, they are right on the money. But at Sales Beacon we see more.
We see opportunities. We see talent. We see our future!
Rural areas comprise 95% of Canada’s land mass. That’s more land than any other single country in the world except Russia. While most Canadians live in cities and towns, 25% of us live in rural areas, away from the hustle and bustle of commuting, pollution and noise. Rural Canada employs 4.9 million people and generates 30% of our Gross Domestic Product. Pretty good for an empty icy wasteland!
We feel that there is an incredible amount of skilled rural workers waiting for the right chance to find challenging, meaningful employment. Heck, we’ve built our company through finding exactly this type of person, repeatedly.
Sales Beacon’s mission statement is to “…transform Canadian rural talent into outstanding virtual program resources”. By hiring virtual workers, Sales Beacon makes a difference in the lives of individuals and communities.
Our Director of Sales Lesek Demont recently gave a talk on the impact working virtually has on women in rural communities. Lesek said: “Sales Beacon thinks Canadian untapped rural talent is one of our most valuable resources and focusing there is very smart business. Where else can you find thousands of overeducated, highly motivated people in minimal job prospects?”
IBM’s Canadian President, Dino Trevisani, agrees. He purposely created workshifting hubs in Atlantic Canada to help provide jobs there to take advantage of skilled workers who didn’t want to leave their home provinces. If a big multinational corporation has taken this step toward developing rural talent, can others be far behind?
Top six reasons rural remote work will continue to grow
11% of business people in Canada report that they work remotely all week.
- Working virtually means it can be a job done anywhere. Many young Canadians, tired of struggling to afford housing in larger cities are deciding to move to smaller communities where their dollar can go further. These professionals are ready to fill jobs as virtual workers and they have the technical savvy and drive to thrive in these roles. Work-Canada has found that already 11% of business people in Canada report that they work remotely all week.
- Rural communities and people have always been innovative and adaptive to new concepts and creative planning. Sales Beacon CEO Cynthia Spraggs said in an interview that there’s “phenomenal talent” in rural areas. “It actually astonishes me that more companies don’t take advantage of it. I’ve always said if you can organize a surprise birthday party, you can be a successful project manager. If you can get five kids off to school and get their lunches and get them organized, you can be a project manager. There are a lot of people that have innate project management skills that don’t know they have it. I love finding those kinds of people.”
- Stability – people with rural roots tend to stay in a job longer because they love the lifestyle. “Rural people highly value their quality of life” says Sean Markey a professor at Simon Fraser University’s School of Resource and Environmental Management. “Many of the rural stereotypes are true: small-town feel knowing your neighbours, community support less traffic cheaper housing, access to nature.” All these things are attractive to a growing number of disaffected Canadians struggling to cope with life in the big city. Markey continues: “We need to imagine a new rural Canada. We need to return to a state where dollars spent in rural regions are seen as investments.”
- High-speed connectivity, while expensive to establish in more sparsely populated areas, was in 2016 declared an essential service by the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). This means that the current level of 39% of rural and remote homes with access to fast internet will continue to grow expanding the talent pool for all rural-leaning forward-thinking companies.
- Many rural Canadians work in the oil and gas sectors. While world energy consumption continues to grow, renewable sources of energy such as solar and wind are closing the gap in terms of market share. Canada’s oil companies have also become more efficient and labour requirements have weakened. The industry is expected to create just 2150 jobs over the next five years. Recently a long-awaited and debated pipeline from Northern Alberta to the Pacific Coast was scrapped, further hindering the expansion of oil and gas production. Laid off energy workers would be smart to tailor their skill-set to a more remote-work-friendly model.
- Remote work will benefit rural areas infrastructure and stimulate the local economy. Work done in rural areas will increase tax revenues which can be used to improve services in the community, in turn making those areas more attractive to people considering leaving big cities.
Instead of viewing rural areas as places people need to leave to get good jobs, we should be supporting local innovation and high-speed connectivity. This will encourage workers and entrepreneurs to stay put and enjoy the benefits of a small community. Companies should be urged to hire from a rural talent pool and reverse the talent drain that seeps away from our farms and villages into our over-saturated, over-priced urban metropolises.
We’d like to hear your thoughts about remote work and its future in rural areas. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.