A major multinational tech company headquartered in India is planning to expand its operations in Canada, bringing hundreds of jobs to the city of Calgary.
Infosys, a publicly traded tech giant that specializes in digital services and consulting, announced Wednesday it would be bringing 500 jobs to the city over the next three years as part of its expansion in Canada.
Infosys is planning on doubling its Canadian operations to 4,000 employees by 2023. It already has offices in Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa and Montreal.
The company announced the investment in Calgary virtually alongside mayor Naheed Nenshi, Premier Jason Kenney, Calgary Economic Development CEO Mary Moran, WestJet CEO Ed Sims, SAIT president David Ross and officials with Invest Alberta.
According to company president Ravi Kumar, Calgary was chosen for its expansion because of its low cost of living, positive quality of life and academic community.
“We think Calgary is going to be a vibrant tech and innovation hub,” Kumar told a virtual audience on Wednesday.
“We are hoping that Calgary can be this tech, innovation ecosystem which we could lead.”
The tech giant provides software development and maintenance to companies in several sectors including finance, insurance and manufacturing.
Officials said Infosys would be moving into an office space in the downtown core, hinting at a possible search for a space of 50,000 square feet; however, with the pandemic forcing people to work from home, a decision on a location hasn’t been made yet.
Premier Jason Kenney said he is pleased with the company’s announcement that it is expanding into Calgary, adding that the province’s tech sector is beginning to reach “critical mass.”
“This is one of the best days in Alberta’s economy for some years,” Kenney said.
“It’s been a tough few years in this province, a tough year for all of us with COVID, but this is a great sign of promise for the future.”
The move is seen as a signal to the tech community that Calgary is not only creating a innovation economy but is competing globally against larger tech centres for multi-national companies.
“That’s a huge positive signal that you can build technology companies in the city,” CEO of tech company MobSquad, Irfhan Rawji, said.
“If you think about other ecosystems like San Francisco or New York, or London or Vancouver or Toronto, they have large players there as well. And for us to get a large player like Infosys here, it tells us that we’re starting to compete much more globally.”
Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi and Calgary Economic Development CEO Mary Moran met with Infosys’ head of government and public affairs, Anurag Varma, for dinner on a trade mission to Palo Alto California four years ago. Nenshi told the virtual audience that Wednesday’s announcement has been a long time coming.
“We didn’t just go to anybody; we wanted one of the global leaders here.
“We wanted a global leader with deep expertise in energy to help us think through our own economic transition,” Nenshi said. “We wanted a company that was very good at helping people transition between industries, as well as hiring new grads.”
According to School of Public Policy president’s fellow and economist, Dr. Jack Mintz, one of the challenges facing the city’s tech sector in recent years has been its inability to retain tech talent in the city.
“There’s not enough people trained by universities and colleges in technology type jobs,” Mintz said. “I think the post-secondary education institutions are going to have to step up in terms of what they’re doing.”
Infosys said it plans to work with 14 post-secondary institutions, including the University of Calgary and SAIT, to train graduates to be ready for hire.
The company has done similar work in six “hubs” in the United States, where it’s made more than 13,000 hires over the last three years, and plans to hire 12,000 more through 2022 across the U.S.
“We’ve hired from schools and colleges; we’ve taken talent from traditional industries and built bridges into the digital future,” Kumar said.
“This is a proven, tested experiment, we’ve done it in the U.S, we’ve done it in Vancouver, and now we’re doing it in the beautiful city of Calgary.”
“What’s beautiful about this Infosys announcement — it’s a signal to all of our young people that study computer science, that there’s a there’s an opportunity and a job awaiting them,” Rawji said. “That’s how you build an innovation economy, you get people to actually want to study these topics, for the skills that are in demand.”
Wednesday’s announcement comes after post-secondary institutions in the province saw a 5.4 per cent cut to their operations and a reduction of 750 full-time equivalent positions.
However, Jim Gibson, dean of SAIT’s School for Advanced Digital Technology, said while post-secondary institutions must focus on transformation and transition, the capacity for digital transformation is well underway.
“We just got invited to the big dance to we have to we have to up our game and make sure that we’re ready to work with an absolute leading global player,” Gibson said.
“I think there’s plenty of capacity, I think there’s a real desire and urge and announcement like Infosys is one of those bellwether moments where you light the fuse and away we go.”
As of March 2020, the company reported 242,371 total employees around the world of whom 91,679 are women.
Infosys has offices in India, the United States, China, Australia, Japan, the Middle East as well as Europe.
The company is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange, and its website says it is a US$13.15-billion company with a market capitalization of around US$72.2 billion.