By Paul Kent
(Originally published in the September 2014 issue of the Business Voice)
Famine? Or feast?
Abundance? Or scarcity?
As I write this article, I am full of questions about our community that seem to lead back to this one: Are we afraid for our futures?
Frequently when I write about helping people find meaningful work in Halifax, it involves immigrants, young and emerging professionals and retaining our homegrown talent.
Lately, I’ve encountered another face to our talent issue that has me stumped.
Over the past year or so, I have personally met with over 50 mid-career professionals with international work experience to discuss how they could begin to source job prospects in Halifax. Many of them left years ago and are understandably without local networks.
These people bring with them export expertise, cultural understanding from places such as China, South Asia and Central Europe, amazing credentials and jaw-dropping résumés I would love to call my own.
I bring them up to speed about the wealth of opportunity on our horizon and refer them to our vast network here in Halifax.
My discovery? Few of these prospects are hired, and I am left wondering, “Why not?”, as they come back through my door to say they must leave our city and province to find employment opportunities.
So my questions continue.
Are we so risk averse as a business community that we cannot see the human potential and expertise right in front of us that will start and span international business relationships with export opportunities to be seized?
Are we still waiting in the wings of uncertainty even as mega-projects worth billions are ramping up?
Have we forgotten how to embrace the risk of making room for experienced talent knowing they will earn their keep and more?
Are we so consumed with busyness that we do not slow down long enough to really understand and embrace the business growth potential that lies within these qualified professionals with worldwide connections to huge foreign markets?
When caught in choices that are not serving us well, a life coach might talk about our reptilian brain, the oldest part of our brain that houses the “flight or fight” response. It’s lightening quick to make a judgment to save us from certain death — which is especially useful when facing a saber tooth tiger. It is not so useful if it kicks in with memories or long told stories about past realities and circumstances — such as times of scarcity — that stop us from taking calculated risks during a time of great opportunity.
If the cities with the best talent win, and the world’s best talent is knocking at my door only to be turned away, what does our future hold?
I invite you to help me answer these questions. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I would sleep better at night knowing we are thinking big and embracing the gifted people coming to my door and our city.