Companies where 2017–2019 UW Technology Graduates work. January 2021, Rob Darling

What companies are University of Waterloo technology graduates working for? A look at talent migration and the Canadian tech scene.

Every year, since 2017, I spend a few weekends analyzing the state of University of Waterloo talent migration via LinkedIn profiles. This year I did a deeper dive on UW tech graduates (Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Software Engineering, Systems Design Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Mechatronics).

This is my second article looking at talent migration for UW tech graduates (Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Software Engineering, Systems Design Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Mechatronics).

For greater context on the numbers below you can read my first article Where in the world are University of Waterloo technology graduates? here.

Summary (TL;DR)

In this article we will look at the companies that the 2017–2019 UW tech graduates work for. We will also see if this provides any clues as to why UW Software Engineering graduates show an opposite trend to all other UW tech graduates.

Note: If a graduate did not update their profile after their last co-op/intern position then they get put in the “unknown” employer bucket. While it is possible that they have moved to a permanent role at the same company, I don’t make that assumption.

There are over 845 companies that employ these 2,674 UW tech graduates.

FAAMA

While the top 25 employers of these 2017–2019 UW tech graduates includes the group of companies that JP Morgan calls FAAMA (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet (Google)), which interestingly also means “king” in the Mandinka language, there are another 840+ companies that employ these 2,674 graduates. While each of the FAAMA companies have offices in Canada, Google (Alphabet), Amazon and Microsoft are the only 3 that currently have these 2017–2019 UW tech graduates working in their Canadian offices.

FAAMA companies have hired 21% of the 2,674 UW tech graduates from graduating years 2017–2019

If we take all the 2017–2019 UW tech graduates who live in the USA, 41% of them work for a FAAMA company.

If we take all the 2017–2019 UW tech graduates who live in Canada, 9% of them work for a FAAMA company.

Computer Science

There are 456+ companies that employ UW 2017–2019 Computer Science graduates. The top 25 employers employ 33% of all 2017–2019 Computer Science graduates.

Computer Engineering

There are 178+ companies that employ UW 2017–2019 Computer Engineering graduates. The top 25 employers employ 44% of all 2017–2019 Computer Engineering graduates.

Software Engineering

There are 105+ companies that employ UW 2017–2019 Software Engineering graduates. The top 25 employers employ 52% of all 2017–2019 Software Engineering graduates.

As my last article showed, the percentage of UW Software Engineering graduates working in the USA has increased by ~4% for each graduating class over the past 3 years as per this chart.

Let’s dig deeper on what may be going on here.

In looking for correlation one would expect a three year consistent upward trend of 4% for either Canadian Citizens or International Student graduates — this is not the case, so it is safe to say that there is no correlation between the graduate mix and the rising trend of UW Software Engineering graduates going to the USA.

2. If we look at the Software Engineering graduates being hired by FAAMA companies, there was a decrease overall in 2019 with the biggest drop being in FAAMA offices in Canada. Overall, Facebook is the lead employer of UW Software Engineering graduates in this time period, hiring 15% of them. Since Facebook is only hiring these graduates for their USA offices, this one company has the highest impact on the percentage split between USA and Canada.

Let’s take a step back for a second.

3. Across the three years for UW Software Engineering graduates on LinkedIn there were 72 in 2017, 117 in 2018 and 81 in 2019. For simplicity let’s say that each year has around 100 graduates. This means that a 4% increase year over year is only 4 people per year. Given the small size of this cohort I don’t think we need to declare that the sky is falling.

Systems Design Engineering

There are 117+ companies that employ UW 2017–2019 Systems Design Engineering graduates. The top 25 employers employ 38% of all 2017–2019 Systems Design Engineering graduates.

Electrical Engineering

There are 138+ companies that employ UW 2017–2019 Electrical Engineering graduates. The top 25 employers employ 37% of all 2017–2019 Electrical Engineering graduates.

Mechatronics

There are 160+ companies that employ UW 2017–2019 Mechatronics graduates. The top 25 employers employ 40% of all 2017–2019 Mechatronics graduates.

Some Thoughts

A. If you are a tech company in Canada, what can you do to increase your success in hiring UW tech graduates?

In the article The Talent War by Craig Daniels, the former Senior Journalist for Communitech sat down with some UW tech students to hear from them on their graduation opportunities. I recommend reading the article but a summary of the findings are:

B. What about the big picture?

In Alex Danco’s recent article on Why the Canadian Tech Scene Doesn’t Work he uses the book Finite and Infinite games, by James P Carse which gives us another lens to look through. Alex shares the following in his article:

This book introduces a simple but profound idea about there being two fundamental kinds of “games”, or multiplayer activities, that we engage in as people:

First, finite games are played for the purpose of winning. Whenever you’re engaging in an activity that’s definite, bounded, and where the game can be completed by mutual agreement of all the players, then that’s a finite game. Much of human activity is described in finite game metaphors: wars, politics, sports, whatever. When you’re playing finite games, each action you take is directed towards a pre-established goal, which is to win.

In contrast, infinite games are played for the purpose of continuing to play. You do not “win” infinite games; these are activities like learning, culture, community, or any exploration with no defined set of rules nor any pre-agreed-upon conditions for completion. The point of playing is to bring new players into the game, so they can play too. You never “win”, the play just gets more and more rewarding.

While there has been a lot of discussion on tech talent migration over the years and even recently, I feel as Canadians we need to know that we are in an infinite game. We should use this data to keep a pulse on how we are doing at attracting talent, not to complain that someone else “stole” our shovel from our sandbox. We need to put our energy into the Canadian tech scene to invest in and create high growth, global companies that will attract local and global talent. Lastly, we need to remember that we are in a global game and while the UW tech graduates are amazing and diverse, there is also a global world with talented people out there.

So knowing that diversity is important, your talent strategy should include hiring locally and globally. Two Canadian contacts for global talent are:

C. Does this percentage apply to all Canadian Universities and all UW programs?

Just a reminder that the percentage of graduates going to the USA from other Canadian Universities may be really different or may be the same as the above. We don’t know at this point — so we can’t really assume either way.

This is for the UW tech programs listed above and is likely different for other UW programs.

Have questions or thoughts on this? Feel free to reach out to me directly on LinkedIn.

A big thanks to all those who helped review this article!

About Me

I am the former Founder & CEO of LaunchSpot (acquired in 2017), a SaaS platform that was used to collect, analyze and report on private market data. Currently, I help Founders and leadership teams in startups and scale-ups.

Footnotes
¹ University of Waterloo, Degrees Granted, https://uwaterloo.ca/institutional-analysis-planning/university-data-and-statistics/student-data/degrees-granted-0
² Where in the world are University of Waterloo tech graduates? Rob Darling, September 8, 2020

Methods

Confirming Employer:
If a graduate did not update their profile after their last co-op/intern position then they get put in the “unknown” employer bucket. While it is possible that they have moved to a permanent role at the same company, I don’t make that assumption in this article.

Confirming Profiles:
Profiles used from LinkedIn are identified using the program name and graduating end date.

Confirming Education:
In a small percentage of cases where there was a missing date then the date of internship/co-op placements and the start date of the first full-time role was used as the indicator of the graduation date. If there was not enough information, or it did not look like there was the right number of co-op positions then the profile was discarded.

Confirming Location:
The primary location used for this data is based on the work location. If there was no location for a current role then the company name was used to identify the location along with the location of the previous role. If there was not sufficient information in any of the roles and the company had multiple locations (Canada and the USA) then the top profile location was used as a last resort. This was a small percentage of profiles.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Rob Darling

Passionate about tech companies and 🏒 | Helping companies 🚀 | Previously: CTO Communitech, CEO LaunchSpot (acq by hockeystick.co) | 🏒🏌🏼‍♂️⚽️ Dad.