How might we retain and grow talent in Calgary?

GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth | By: Chase & Steven


The topic of retaining and growing talent stems from a much larger conversation around Calgary’s future economic prosperity. Upon further research into the topic, it was evident that a vital part of any city is its people. This sparked the conversation about where Calgary is today regarding the growth and migration of talent.

Talent, in this regard, is any educated, experienced, and skilled person. Talent attraction and retention is not a linear isolated activity, but a complex system that engages various city aspects. When examined through Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as a path to self-actualization or fulfilment of one’s talents and potential, a better understanding of the complexity appears. Although this is only one side of the story, the city must meet the talent’s desired needs or they will relocate.

This system map explores how these needs are met by key factors categorized by career, location, and education, which were determined by researching the reasons for brain drain. Each connection between a need and the factors fulfilling it is affected by regulatory and political, psychological, and physical influences. Fulfilment of these needs affects a talent’s decision to stay or leave a city.

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I have lived in Calgary almost my whole life and I have seen the city shift dramatically, both from a social and economic viewpoint. This HMW question about talent came from a much bigger conversation around Calgary's future economic prosperity about a year ago. Upon diving deeper into the topic, we found that a key part of any city is the people in it. This sparked the conversation to where we are today regarding the growth and migration of talent in our city. I think this topic is particularly interesting because of its relevance to the current and future economic landscape. Through our research, one thing that stood out to me was how complex a topic like talent is, let alone economic prosperity. There isn't one single part of the system that is isolated from the rest; they all play an integral part.


I chose this topic because I was curious about examining the different factors attributed to post-secondary graduates leaving Calgary for work even when jobs are available, especially in the tech sector. The concerning fact I learned through our research is the difficulty of keeping up with the demand for talent and the importance of doing so because knowledge and creativity are the primary drivers of competitive economic success.