Edmonton taps CNC Global to recruit IT employees

The City of Edmonton is one of the first municipalities in Canada to turn to outsourcing its IT staffing requirements to recruiting firms as opposed to using a tendering system such as Merx or, in Alberta, the Alberta Purchasing Connection.

The City on July 1 signed a five-year contract with CNC Global for it to provide recruitment process outsourcing services to help it save time and money in the recruitment process. Under the terms of the deal, CNC will manage the engagement of 50-plus information technology professionals on an annual basis. To ensure a competitive bid process, CNC will compete against Edmonton-based Intellex Systems and Eagle Professional Resources, which offer similar services.

Dan Lajeunesse, coordinator of strategic procurement for the City of Edmonton, said the Alberta Purchasing Connection, which is similar to the Merx system that’s used by governments across the country, is a time-consuming process.

“This was an effort to try to streamline the process to try to achieve the key objectives for our IT groups in the city, the biggest one being reducing cycle times from identification of a need for a resource to getting bums in seats,” he said.

Lajeunesse said the City spends between three to five million dollars annually on contract staffing costs. With the CNC agreement in place, he expects to save 10 to 15 per cent on that figure. Depending on skill set and skill level of the worker, Lajeunesse said CNC would charge anywhere from $35 to $130 per hour for its services.

The deal also allows the City to save on the time it takes to recruit contract workers. Using the old system, the City was averaging six to 10 weeks before it found a suitable candidate, said Lajeunesse.

“For a three-month Oracle developer contract position, it became almost as much effort to hire the developer as to do the work when you factor in all the time,” he said.

With CNC, the City expects to reduce its hiring cycle (the time it takes to hire employees) by up to 75 per cent.

Terry Power, president of CNC Global, which has over 250 employees in 11 branches in Canada, including Edmonton, said Edmonton is one of the first cities to outsource its recruiting practices.

“We’ve had some interest expressed by other cities in Canada,” said Power, who declined to name any of the other cities, citing that discussions were ongoing. “Merx is a tool that many government entities have used for quite a while and it certainly has its merits in that it allows a number of our organizations to compete for specific requirements.”

Power, however, added that systems like Merx also present problems such as too many points of contact, major discrepancies around pricing and difficulty understanding the project’s requirements.

Being able to hire contract workers more efficiently and cost effectively is essential to the booming economic climate of Edmonton and much of the province these days, said Lajeunesse.

“Any of the hot new technologies are sometimes a challenge to get,” he said. “Sometimes the Edmonton marketplace is not the best source for them. We’re sourcing beyond the region to try to acquire some of them.”

In terms of what’s hot, CNC’s Scott Mackinnon, who is manager of client and partner programs, said Web developers are followed very closely by technicians or infrastructure workers.

“Because we roll it out geographically it doesn’t vary dramatically by the structure of the demand,” said Mackinnon.

The City’s contract with CNC is effective immediately and is up for renewal in one year.

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