Tech industry posts first decline in jobs in five years
Ottawa's technology sector has posted its first decline in jobs in five years, according to an annual report by the Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation.
Although the number of tech companies in the capital rose by 31 per cent, the survey says nearly 3,000 jobs were lost in 2008.
"We continued to see multi-nationals shed jobs and the small- and medium-sized businesses, which have the source of jobs over the last five years, were starting to slow down," said Jeffrey Dale, CEO of the Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation.
The centre's survey shows almost one-third of tech jobs are now in support companies, such as law firms and other businesses which provide work that is contracted out.
Across Ottawa's tech sector, more and more firms are providing web-based products. Now, 51 per cent of all firms employ fewer than 10 workers.
That's the situation at Web 10 Solutions, which has a staff of two people who have developed a web-based product aimed to help the real estate industry design a website for their properties.
"I managed to wiggle my way into this by telling them about my business ideas and how we could take this into a business with my real estate contacts," said 27-year-old Andrew Ouellette, head of business development at uniquehomesites.com.
Although Statistics Canada numbers show Ottawa's tech sector lost 13,000 jobs, Dale says StatsCan uses a different method to count those jobs.
Still, he says both calculations show a decline in the tech industry and it's becoming increasingly challenging for new firms to find money.
"Now, what we are seeing with the credit crunch is that companies no longer have basic banking lines of credit to help them," said Dale.
OCRI is now stepping in to help companies like uniquehomesites.com to access low-cost office space and business advice.
"It's not a magic wand but it gives you access to a bunch of resources to help accelerate your success and accelerate your launch into the marketplace," said Kevin Bozzo, president of uniquehomesites.com.
With a report from CTV Ottawa's Paul Brent