Spotlight: Veteran Recruiter Shares View of Canadian Market

March 21, 2023 – Toronto-based Rosenzweig & Company is an executive search firm focused on the critical, often specialized recruiting needs of its clients. The firm also offers management assessment, onboarding and executive coaching, organizational effectiveness, digital media strategy, and risk advisory and compliance services to a growing international client base.

Jay Rosenzweig, the founding partner of the firm, is an expert in designing, building and attracting world-class executive teams. He consults to public and private companies, including large global corporations, emerging growth to mid-sized businesses, professional services firms, and private equity and venture capital firms. Mr. Rosenzweig recently sat down with Hunt Scanlon Media to discuss what it takes for recruiters to fill senior roles in today’s business climate in Canada.

Jay, the Canadian government is pushing to add 1.5 million immigrants in the next couple of years to boost its workforce. How does that affect the recruiter’s work?
As a country, Canada has historically always been very open to growing through immigration and one that sees a lot of value in immigration. Immigration accounts for practically all of our labor force growth. It’s a perspective that has enhanced our workplace and led to a strong commitment to diversity. As a firm, that perspective is reflected the specialized expertise we bring to the table in diversity recruiting and our efforts to promote inclusion through our Rosenzweig report on gender equality. We’ve always felt this kind of inclusive approach works exceptionally well for us as recruiters. We are constantly seeking to open up the funnel to uncover and put forward great talent that our clients would never otherwise have considered, and a commitment to diversity is a key element of that.

What roles might non-Canadian hires fill and in what sectors are they most needed? Where are the immigrants coming from?
Canada is in the fortunate position of being able to draw in great people from every corner of the world. Like other countries in the post-COVID world, Canada is always seeking the best ways to meet labor demands in many sectors, but certainly healthcare, construction, and technology are three of the most critical areas. Given our international capabilities as a firm and Canada’s openness to immigration, we have often been able to bring in specialized talent from across the world to meet the needs of companies here.

Do immigrant hires require any extra attention? It could be tough coming to work in a new country.
In a general sense, immigrant hires need the kind of information that someone would need for instance to move across the country, along with technical information on the immigration process itself. In other ways, it’s remarkable how quickly they can make themselves at home. I was invited to a dinner with the Canadian Minister of Immigration hosted by Mohamad Fakih, a successful immigrant himself who is CEO of large food company. I was struck by the stories the people attending the dinner related about the importance of immigrants to their businesses. They consistently told stories of how quickly immigrants were able to adapt to the new environment, how hard-working they were, and how grateful they were to Canada for having welcomed them.

Do issues facing Canadian recruiters mirror those in the U.S.?
A good percentage of the work we do is in the U.S., and we do help many U.S. based companies recruit American talent for operations in U.S. locations. That being said, we are often faced with unique cross-border talent needs. For example, we recently brought in a senior American executive from the media sector to fill a board seat with a prominent Canadian company. An American private equity firm came to us to bring in a CEO for an exceptional Canadian business in the electronics and E-commerce space. We brought in a senior American executive to head up digital for the U.S. business of a Canadian multinational in the insurance space. And we placed a top notch American CEO in a ground-breaking Canadian tech company helping the legally blind to see. So the borders are quite fluid for us and we have to have the agility to be able to integrate companies and candidates from across North America on a regular basis.

What are some examples of uniquely Canadian challenges facing recruiters?
The unique challenges we face in Canada mirror the nature of the country. We are a smaller population that stretches out across a large landmass with the vast economy and influence of our U.S. neighbor close by. Sometimes that means that we have to be creative and exhaustive in our approach to finding great talent. And it certainly means we have to have deep expertise in navigating the U.S. landscape. But overall we are fortunate to be working in a country, and really a North American environment, that has a profound entrepreneurial spirit and boundless opportunity for great talent to achieve success.

What sector and roles are keeping you most busy today?
We are a high end recruitment firm with truly global reach. The implication of that is that every senior-level search we do is unique, and requires a very customized approach. Whether that is a senior strategic investment executive for one of the largest pension funds in the world, the chief technology officer of hot new Web3 venture-funded start-up, or the head of group benefits for a major insurance company, we are known for our agility, the deep intelligence we gather on the need, and our exhaustive approach to the market. At the beginning of every search, I commit to our clients that we will leave no stone unturned. And if that, along with our creativity and the quality of people we bring in are the cornerstone of our legacy, then I will be happy.

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