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Press release: Second edition of the Montreal Health Report : The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal takes a fresh look at Montreal's attraction, training and retention of talent

Press release

Second edition of the Montreal Health Report:
The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal takes a fresh
look at Montreal's attraction, training and retention of talent

Montreal, August 25, 2005 – The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal is unveiling today the second edition of the Montreal Health Report. To produce this edition, devoted specifically to the issue of talent in Greater Montreal, the Board of Trade once again took an approach that combines a rigorous comparative analysis of objective data on a dozen North American cities and a measurement of perceptions via an opinion survey.

“O ne of the most striking findings in the first edition of the Health Report, published in May 2004, was undoubtedly the low concentration of university graduates in the Montreal population  compared with the 11 other cities studied. Consequently, in this second edition, we wanted to present a complete and detailed picture that would generate ideas on ways of optimizing Montreal's performance as regards talent. This better understanding of the situation and the strategic courses of action that follow are especially important in that we are quickly approaching the 2016 deadline, when the net growth of Montreal's workforce will come entirely from talent from outside Quebec,” said Isabelle Hudon, president and CEO of the Board of Trade.

The research findings at the heart of this second edition of the Health Report point to three fronts on which the talent battle is being fought: training, attraction and retention.

Training: one of Montreal's undeniable strengths

“While the first Health Report showed that Montreal ranked 12 th out of 12 in terms of percentage of university graduates in its population, this edition sounds a more encouraging note: a true leader in university education, Montreal trains its talent at a good pace and has succeeded in reducing relatively quickly the gap that separates it from the other cities studied. The quality of its universities makes Montreal a magnet for students, first and foremost for Quebec students, of course, but also for students from elsewhere in Canada and from abroad,” explained Isabelle Hudon.

Attraction: Montreal, in a class of its own

“The less encouraging news for Montreal in this report primarily concerns attraction of talent. Montreal does not attract as many graduates – nor as many immigrants, all categories combined – as a city of its size and stature should normally attract in the Canadian context. It is especially in the category of international immigrants with university degrees that Montreal has a lower growth rate than the other big Canadian cities. Regional immigration, especially provincial, is thus Montreal's primary source of immigrants with degrees,” added Ms. Hudon.

Retention: students who get a taste of the city often stay

“While Montreal attracts relatively less talent than other Canadian cities, its share of emigrant graduates (who leave Montreal for other cities in the country) remains within the Canadian average, resulting in net positive migration. In short, Montreal is not the victim of a brain drain. Interestingly, among all the graduates surveyed, one student out of three from outside Quebec still lives in Montreal today. Among the reasons given for leaving or staying in Montreal, economic issues (job opportunities) predominate. However, it was also found that those who have remained in Montreal are more attached than the others to the quality of life and to a stimulating cultural environment,” pointed out Ms. Hudon.

Capitalizing on Montreal 's strengths 

“Montreal's biggest challenge is thus to attract talent to the city, especially international talent. Once here, people discover a city which, in addition to offering attractive job opportunities, has an enviable quality of life and a stimulating cultural environment. In this context, it seems very logical to use the power of attraction of Montreal's universities to bring in to the city more candidates for sustainable immigration and to strive, throughout their stay here, to make it easier for them to integrate and settle in the city,” said Isabelle Hudon.

“The Health Report points up the opportunity to adjust our talent strategy to Montreal 's strengths, which means focusing more on talents to train rather than those already trained. In other words, the findings of the Health Report encourage us to renew our efforts to attract to Montreal talents that want to learn and to share with them our passion for creating because this is often the best argument for convincing them to stay with us,” concluded Isabelle Hudon.

The Montreal Health Report is a publication of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal. Highlights of the report are published in the second September issue of L'Actualité magazine. To produce this second edition, the Board of Trade once again called upon experienced collaborators and wishes to thank Mario Polèse, Richard Shearmur and Philippe Chenard of the Institut national de recherche scientifique, Urbanisation, Culture et Société (INRS-USC) as well as the CROP survey firm. The Board of Trade would also like to thank Concordia University , École de technologie supérieure, McGill University , Université de Montréal and Université du Québec à Montréal for their collaboration.

The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal has some 7,000 members. Its primary mission is to represent the interests of the business community of Greater Montreal and to provide individuals, merchants, and businesses of all sizes with a variety of specialized services to help them achieve their full potential in terms of innovation, productivity and competitiveness. The Board of Trade is Quebec 's leading private economic development organization.


Julie Desjardins
Coordinator, Communications
Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
Tel.: (514) 871-4000, ext. 4008

Hyperlink to the Montreal Health Report:

Montreal Health Report 2005

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