A little ED primer for you

A little primer on economic development for you. A case study if you will.

Bell Aliant is trimming its workforce by laying off more than 100 non-unionized managers across Atlantic Canada, CBC News has been told.

Bell Aliant has been downsizing its skilled workforce and management for awhile now – ever since the merger – with some ups and downs. The reality is that Aliant is in a highly competitive market now with Telus, Rogers, Eastlink and the IP guys like Vonage, etc. so some attrition, cost consolidation, etc. will be necessary. I was kind of hoping way back when that NBTel/Aliant would have went the Telus route and tried to go national. Remember Telus used to be the teleco in Alberta, then it merged with BC and then went national.

Bell Aliant has transformed into primarily a local service old style teleco. It’s wireless is gone. One assumes that XWave will go once a buyer is found.

But I digress. That is not the primer.

The primer is this. Bell Aliant lays of 100 managers. Telus and Rogers hire 100 sales reps and customer service guys. In other words, we lose the high paying jobs for relatively low paying retail jobs.

Economic developers need to find a way to get the higher end Telus, Rogers, Vonage etc. jobs here as well. If Telus is a ‘national’ player, then why not work them to get an IT development centre in this province? Why not some higher end back office work? Same with Rogers. The call centre work is fine but we can’t – at an aggregate level – lose high paying jobs at Aliant and replace them with lower paying jobs at Rogers.

That would be the opposite of economic development. Economic regression – but with all those cool phones.