Minto Roy

Personal blog of Minto Roy

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Catch the wave in a new era of shipbuilding in British Columbia

Premier Christy Clark made the following statement on Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s visit to British Columbia:

"I am delighted that Prime Minister Harper will visit British Columbia today for an official signing of the Seaspan contract. The awarding of this contract to a British Columbia firm represents a major step forward in implementing Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan. This contract is a great example of a fair and transparent federal procurement process, and an even better example of British Columbia’s business rising to the challenge of a major competition.

Seaspan Marine Corporation is an association of Canadian companies primarily involved in coastal and deepsea transportation, bunkering, ship repair and shipbuilding services in Western North America. In addition to the marine transportation services offered directly through Seaspan Marine Corporation, commercial ferry, shipyard and bunkering services are provided via affiliate companies: Marine Petrobulk Ltd., Seaspan Ferries Corporation, Vancouver Drydock Company, Vancouver Shipyards Co. Ltd. and Victoria Shipyards Co. Ltd.

Jonathan Whitworth, Seaspan CEO, said the company is “passionate about building quality
vessels on time and on budget.” Seaspan will do the majority of the federal ship construction in Vancouver, leaving about 20 per cent of the work to be done at Victoria Shipyards in Esquimalt. Finishing work and trials are planned for the Island.

Seaspan, part of the Washington Group of Companies, is investing $350 million in infrastructure and modernization, Whitworth said. Vessel construction will likely start in the first quarter of 2013.
"We have hundreds of employees to hire and train," he said. The total package of work is anticipated to create 75 million person hours of work, including 4,000 jobs in B.C.

For more information on employment opportunities with Seaspan find more information at this link.


Minto Roy brings more than a decade of experience and perspective in business. He is a key contributor in building successful enterprises through people, process and technology. To learn more connect with him on Twitter, or LinkedIn. Leave your thoughts or creative responses in the comments section below.

Filed under Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan Christy Clark Employment Hiring Jonathan Whitworth Minto Roy News Recruitment Seaspan Stephen Harper

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The employment world doesn’t need another boring resume


The employment market pendulum has swung drastically.  Professionals across Canada are feeling job volatility and have polished up their resumes.  Despite the cautious business climate, there are still great career opportunities with companies committed to elevating their talent in hopes of taking full advantage of an economy that will see the “cream” of every industry rise to the top.

If, however, you are considering a career change be warned!  The traditional resume format that jobseekers have always used will not work effectively in this economy.  Jobseekers typically submit resumes focused on past accomplishments, experiences and education, however, in speaking with thousands of hiring managers, I have found their priority is set on figuring out what a candidate can do for them in the future.  This  presents a tremendous disjoint between how jobseekers communicate and what hiring managers are looking for.

To read more follow over to the South Asian Post for the top five resume tips.

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Setting new year resolutions for your career

It is that time of year, the time when people vow to lose weight, eat healthy, quit a bad habit, or improve their career. For some, this might mean finding a new job, whereas for others, they may be looking for a salary increase, greater responsibility or promotion to that coveted corner office. The problem with resolutions, however, is that they are often created and not followed through upon. The secret is making easy to accomplish, measurable goals and sticking to them throughout January and hopefully the rest of the year.

1. Write down your goals. This is one of the most important skill sets you can develop for your personal development. It has been researched that those who set goals are simply more successful than people who do not set goals. Learn more about personal goal setting here.

2. What does LinkedIn say about you. I am a strong proponent of LinkedIn, especially for those passive job seekers who are not actively searching for a new career path each day. By highlighting your accomplishments and experience, you’ll be profiling your expertise to current contacts as well as potential future employers. By updating your status or adding information, your contacts will receive notification, keeping you top of mind. This is the highest quality social network for professionalism without question. 

3. Use new tools. Join the conversation. Twitter can be a wonderful tool that is free and great for research, but remember that resolutions need to be measurable. While microblogging is a trend of future business communication style, I’m not convinced that one can be effective without an incredible amount of time and effort. In order to gain a relevant following, time needs to be invested to find people to connect with in a meaningful way, share valuable information and engage in dialogue with fellow industry professionals. Consider this option a nice to have in your personal branding toolbox.
4. Be sincere with your approach. This point suggests that people should send a note of appreciation to individuals in their network. While not a bad suggestion, it can easily be construed as insincere or even patronizing if not done correctly. There is more value in dialogue exchange, content sharing and post commentary. Instead of just sending a compliment, actively engage the individual and share your thoughts and opinions at the same time.

5. Get noticed. As above, posting well thought out comments on others’ LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or blog accounts demonstrates that you are actively listening to what they are saying and are providing your own insight and perspectives. In addition to strengthening the relationship with your connections, in the right light you’ll present yourself as credible on a topic. Provide thoughtful feedback or questions as a learning experience.

6. Keep your finger on the pulse. While it can often be fruitless to set up a Google Alert on yourself — especially if you have a common name — it is a valuable suggestion if you are researching a company or industry. In addition to available company and stock information, Google Alerts generally picks up any relevant real time commentary about companies on blogs and websites. Another suggestion is performing a key word or company search on Twitter and see what is being said in the microblogging community. Use these tools to save time finding information you need.

7. Build your online reach. Important industry circles can become stale if it isn’t regularly tended to and expanded. By finding new people to connect with, you’ll further enhance your community exposure and possibly connect with someone who can help advance your career.

Advancing one’s career should not be a one off activity between periods of employment. It is an activity that should be conducted 365 days a year. While each new connection or status update may seem insignificant, when amassed over a period of time, each drop will eventually overflow the bucket. Making small, easy-to-accomplish resolutions will help ensure that you stay on track for your future goals.

About Minto Roy

Brings more than a decade of experience and perspective in career management. To learn more about Minto Roy connect with him on Twitter, or LinkedIn. Leave your thoughts or creative responses in the comments section below.

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Trend: Would you want work email blocked after work hours?

Volkswagen in Germany has agreed to stop sending email through its BlackBerry servers to some of its unionized employees after working hours, BBC News reports.

Would you want work email to your Blackberry blocked after work hours? (iStock)

Employees under union negotiated contracts will not be able to receive work email on their smartphones beginning a half-hour after the end of the shift. Email service won’t begin again until a half-hour before the start of their next shift. The email block does not apply to management at Volkswagen.

The automaker said it agreed to the change after employees complained that their work hours were creeping into their home lives.

The workers will still be able to make and receive calls on their BlackBerrys. The announcement follows a similar move by French tech giant Atos, which said earlier this month it would phase out email altogether and replace it with instant messaging, video conferencing and shared documents.

What are your thoughts on email and your work life balance?

About Minto Roy

Brings more than a decade of experience in career management. He provides expert commentary on employment issues and trends and has been a regular columnist for the South Asian Post. To learn more about Minto Roy connect with him on Twitter, or LinkedIn.

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Interview: Chris Hodgson brings entrepreneurial attitude to Google Canada


Chris Hodgson is head of industry retail for Google Canada. Abridged: Interview: Special Globe and Mail Update - Published Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2011 12:00AM EST

What’s your background and education?

I trained as a mechanical engineer at Queen’s University in Kingston and graduated in 1993. I worked at Imperial Oil in Toronto for five years. Then I decided to do a business degree at INSEAD in France in 1998. I moved to London to work for Accenture for four years. I did some consulting on my own and joined a company called Computacenter in 2004. I spent two years turning around a French business they owned and then returned to the U.K. to run their software partnerships with Microsoft and various other companies. I then left that to do my own startup called KidStart in 2007.

How did you get to your position?

After being in London for 12 years, my wife and I wanted a better quality of life for ourselves and our kids. I looked at setting up or moving my business to Canada but decided it was too much of a risk. The market here wasn’t really ready for the business I ran.

I realized I’d have to start working for someone else, which is an entrepreneur’s nightmare. I looked for a company that was open to an entrepreneurial attitude, and Google was top of that list. I networked, and through a friend of a friend I met Chris O’Neill, who runs Google Canada. He was in the process of building his management team and I interviewed for a role.

What’s the best part of your job?

Google is a fantastic company. The people and the support network are great. And being focused on the leading edge of retail in Canada, as an entrepreneur, excites me and keeps me interested.

What’s the worst part of your job?

It’s been a bit of a shock coming back to Canada. Google is a company that moves quickly. A lot of Canadian retailers don’t move as fast and that can be frustrating sometimes.

What are your strengths in this role?

It certainly helps coming from a culture that is leading edge. I can start presentations saying, “I come from the future.” The U.K. is so much more advanced when it comes to e-commerce. I can help retailers navigate where they’re going to be five years down the road.

Also, the entrepreneurial background that I have gives me experience and comfort in driving things through and making things happen.

What are your weaknesses?

It’s been 12 years since I lived in Canada so I don’t yet have as strong a network in Canada. It has helped to have a good team around me to fill in that gap.

What has been your best career move?

Making the decision to do my MBA in France opened my eyes to a whole different set of opportunities, and fundamentally changed the direction I was going with my career and even with my life.

What has been your worst career move?

It can be very easy to get trapped in an environment where you’re not happy and you settle. If you’re not happy, make decisions quickly, like ripping off a bandage. Don’t get caught up in trying to make things work for too long. If I look back, there are one or two stages of my career where I could have moved on more quickly.

What’s your next big job goal?

Helping retailers in Canada understand how consumers have changed their shopping behaviours. They’re now doing a lot of research online before they make purchases. My goal is to educate retailers about the shift that is going on in the marketplace and the opportunities available to them.

What’s your best career advice?

Never be afraid to dream big and follow your dreams. That is important when you’re thinking of making career transitions, when you’re looking at new opportunities that are available to you. It can be easy to say, “That sounds a bit risky.” But … if it’s something you’ve always wanted to do, quite often it’s worth that risk.

This interview has been edited and condensed. Dianne Nice is The Globe and Mail’s Careers & Workplace Web Editor.

Filed under Career Chris Hodgson Globe and Mail Google Canada Interview Retail

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Fairwell to a golf pro

Kim Jong Il may have only played golf once, but he was still apparently able to record the best round in the history of the game. That is of course if you believe the claims by media outlets in Pyongyang in 1994. He was said to have shot 38 under par (an unbelievable 25 shots better than the world record) on a regulation course, including an astonishing 11 holes in one. Talk about beginners luck! Sadly, the Guinness Book of Records has yet to recognise the ‘Dear Leader’s’ achievements on the fairway.

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Five Tips for Confidently Speaking Up at Meetings


Abridged: Kaitlin Madden, CareerBuilder

The way you present yourself in company meetings can have a big impact on your career. Whether you’re the shy type who usually opts not to speak up — or you’re just the opposite — here are a five points of view on making your point effectively in front of a crowd.

1. Practice: Like anything, practice makes perfect when it comes to speaking up — especially if you’re shy.

"One way shy people can gain confidence to speak in meetings is to practice outside of meetings," says Susan Newman, co-founder of School2Life, an organization that helps students transition to the workforce. "Share your point of view and participate in conversations in and out of the workplace. Doing this helps you recognize where the discomfort sets in. In time, it will get easier or more manageable because you’ll know what to expect from your nerves. So speak up and speak often."

One of the best ways to get practice outside of the workplace is to join your local chapter of ToastMasters, a group specifically designed for helping people to improve their public speaking skills. The organization currently has more than 12,500 chapters globally, so chances are there’s one in your area.

2. Get to the point: When you speak at meetings, concentrate on making your point as succinctly as possible. This will help your message come across clearly and will help you avoid the title of “company blowhard.”

For those that tend to be on the verbose side, try thinking about your message in Twitter terms, says Joey Price, founder of career consulting firm Push Consultant Group, LLC. “[Ask yourself]: is your message potent and concise enough to fit into 140 characters or less? If not, you may be rambling on. Trim and enhance.”

That said; If you must make a longer point, set yourself up to keep the floor until you finish, advises Dianna Booher, author of “Communicate with Confidence” and “Speak with Confidence.” This will let your peers know that you’re making a multi-faceted point, and not just going on and on.

"If you fear that someone will interrupt you before you finish, preface your ideas with something like, ‘I have four observations to make about the situation. First …, ‘and then keep enumerating as you go along so that people understand you’re not finished when you take a breath," Booher says.

3. Belly breathe: Public speaking can be nerve-wracking, but you don’t have to let it show. Abdominal breathing will make you sound confident by giving strength to your voice.

To use this technique: “Inhale deeply and then project your voice by speaking from the diaphragm,” says Jean Palmer Heck, president of Real Impact, Inc. “This is essential for those who are shy, because it gives more power to your words and persona and can eliminate any shakiness in your voice.”

4. Pay attention to your body language: "I know it sounds obvious, but if you’re hunched over, or speaking softly, it’s unlikely people are going to take what you say seriously," says Frances Cole Jones, author of "The Wow Factor: the 33 Things You Must (and Must Not) Do to Guarantee Your Edge in Today’s Business World."

Her top tips for in-meeting body language:

  • Sit up and forward
  • Keep your hands on the table (We trust people when we can see their hands)
  • Lean in
  • Smile
  • Make eye contact with everyone around the table

5. Learn from others: A great way to figure out how to become an effective speaker is by watching those who do it well. Pay attention to colleagues who seem to captivate their audience, and what it is that makes them so poignant.

"There are always colleagues that I’ve worked with from my current or past business interactions whom I have admired for their ability to confidently share their opinions, and listen and accept the viewpoints of others, without monopolizing the conversation or sounding like wind bags," says Dianne Shaddock, principal of

"I study their presentation, the tone and volume levels of their voice, as well as the reactions of others in the room to what the individual has to say. I then incorporate their best qualities and make them my own. I’ve found that this works quite well and has helped with my confidence level at meetings," she says.

Kaitlin Madden is a writer and blogger for and its job blog, The Work Buzz. She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues. Follow @CBForJobSeekers on Twitter.

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Canadians’ net worth down, increasing debt load

Abridged: CBC News

The sharp drop in the stock market cut Canadian’s net worth by $4,600 per household in the third quarter, Statistics Canada reported Tuesday, December 13th 2011. 

"Although residential real estate assets increased, this was more than offset by the decline in the value of household holdings of equities (including mutual funds) and pension assets," the agency said.

Meanwhile, Canadians continued to borrow, driving household debt per capita up by $600 from the second quarter and $2,200 over a year, to $46,100. Total household debt increased to $1 trillion in mortgages and $448 billion in consumer credit debt.

Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney warned Monday that Canadian households need to end their spending splurge, particularly on homes, because debt levels have reached 149 per cent of income, higher than in the U.S. or Britain. But the Statistics Canada numbers released Tuesday put the debt level even higher, at 150.8 per cent of income.

The 2.1 per cent drop in household net worth, to $180,100 in the third quarter from $184,700 in the second quarter, followed the 12-per-cent slide in the benchmark Toronto Stock Exchange indicator. “This marked the sharpest quarterly reduction in stock prices and per capita household net worth since the fourth quarter of 2008,” Statistics Canada said.

Government net debt (at book value) increased to $795 billion in the third quarter, compared with $772 billion in the second quarter. Total government net debt was 46.9 per cent of gross domestic product in the third quarter, up from 46.3 per cent in the second quarter.

About Minto Roy

Brings more than a decade of experience in career management. He provides expert commentary on employment issues and trends and has been a regular columnist for the South Asian Post. To learn more about Minto Roy connect with him on Twitter, or LinkedIn.

Filed under Borrowing Canadian debt load Personal Finances Statistics Canada

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Canadian unemployment rate at 7.4% for November 2011

Canadian manufacturing has lost 627,000 jobs over the past nine years. ((Paul Sancya/Associated Press)

Abridged: CBC News 

Canada lost a surprising 18,600 jobs in November, pushing the country’s unemployment rate up by 0.1 percentage points to 7.4 per cent, Statistics Canada said Friday. Economists had been looking for between 16,000 and 17,000 jobs to be added, and for the unemployment rate to remain unchanged at 7.3 per cent. The loss of 53,300 part-time jobs offset an increase of 34,600 in full-time work, the federal agency said.

Unemployment rates in Canada

"The details [of] the November jobs report are mildly better than the headline," Scotiabank economist Derek Holt said in a commentary. That’s because most of the drop came in one province, and was tied to a decrease in self-employment.

Employment fell in Quebec, where 31,000 jobs were lost and the provincial unemployment rate hit eight per cent, and in Saskatchewan, which lost 4,200 jobs and saw unemployment rise one percentage point to 5.1 per cent.

Provincial unemployment

Canada’s national unemployment rate was 7.4 per cent in November. Here’s what happened provincially (previous month in rackets):

  • Newfoundland and Labrador: 13.2 (12.9)
  • Prince Edward Island: 11.1 (11.2)
  • Nova Scotia: 8.6 (8.6)
  • New Brunswick: 9.8 (9.4)
  • Quebec: 8.0 (7.7)
  • Ontario: 7.9 (8.1)
  • Manitoba: 5.5 (5.2)
  • Saskatchewan: 5.1 (4.1)
  • Alberta: 5.0 (5.1)
  • British Columbia: 7.0 (6.6) 

Unemployment Figures Source: Canadian Press

Although overall employment in goods-producing industries rose [mostly due to construction], manufacturing employment declined again,” United Steelworkers economist Erin Weir noted. “Canadian manufacturing has lost 627,000 jobs over the past nine years.”

The Canadian dollar was slightly higher in the wake of the disappointing jobs report.

About Minto Roy

Brings more than a decade of experience in career management. He provides expert commentary on employment issues and trends and has been a regular columnist for theSouth Asian Post. To learn more about Minto Roy connect with him on Twitter, or LinkedIn.

Filed under 2011 British Columbia Canada Canadian Manufacturing CBC News Economy Minto Roy November Statistics Trends Unemployment

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Transparency Pays Off In 360-Degree Reviews

Abridged: Wall Street Journal, Joann S. Lubin

Like most executives, Sanjeev Nikore had managerial faults. But unlike most executives, he publicly divulged them to fellow staffers.

The result? A promotion.

Mr. Nikore, a senior corporate vice president at HCL Technologies Ltd., was among its 25 top leaders who went through performance evaluations known as “360-degree feedback” last year and shared the results company-wide via an internal website. Nearly 6,600 other managers at the global information-technology company did the same thing with employees who had graded them. 

HCL Technologies’ Vice Chairman and CEO Vineet Nayar encourages his employees to be open about their faults. Here, he speaks with staff at the company’s Noida, India headquarters.HCL Technologies’ Vice Chairman and CEO Vineet Nayar encourages his employees to be open about their faults. Here, he speaks with staff at the company’s Noida, India headquarters.

In these widely-used online feedback surveys, individuals get assessed by superiors, peers and subordinates about issues such as their ability to take charge, coach workers and manage conflict. Executives who reveal their 360-degree feedback typically do so just for their closest lieutenants. But frankness with staff about your appraisal can help your advancement – depending on how you handle it.

In Mr. Nikore’s case, “I wasn’t too good at delegating because I thought I knew the answers,” he recalls. But the reviews opened his eyes and helped change his career trajectory.

Mr. Nikore took charge of consumer services worldwide in 2008, after previously running sales and marketing.

"Sanjeev and several fellow executives landed bigger roles because they achieved stronger results after quickly heeding colleagues’ feedback on their leadership style," says Vineet Nayar, CEO of HCL and author of the book, "Employees First, Customers Second.” HCL adopted this unusual approach in 2007.

A small but growing number of executives take transparency to a similar extreme by exposing their shortcomings.

A third of U.S. executives advised by Aon Hewitt Associates Inc. now “share their 360 results with direct reports,” up from 20% a few years ago, estimates Jim Donohue, a principal in the consultancy’s leadership and organization practice.

One company that encourages this tactic is Dell Inc. Disclosing 360-degree evaluations to peers “is considered a good management practice,” a Dell spokesman says. CEO Michael Dell has shared his results, and the voluntary practice occurs “across all levels,” the spokesman continues.

"More and more people are getting comfortable with that," as companies increasingly promote executives with a demonstrated ability to accept feedback and grow, says Stephen Miles, head of leadership consulting for recruiters Heidrick & Struggles International Inc.

For British executive Reginald Bull, revealing his 360-degree evaluation eased his integration into two Korean companies. He left Unilever PLC to become chief human resources officer of LG Electronics in 2008.

Addressing about 200 colleagues on his first day there, he displayed summary scores from his most recent Unilever 360 review.

The review ranked him “average” for the operational phase of projects because “once the factories turn on, I get bored,” Mr. Bull remembers. But because his Korean associates excelled at running things and knew his weakness, “we were better able to divide the work most effectively.”

The HR executive repeated the exercise with his six-member team shortly after he joined Doosan Corp., a diversified Korean concern, last spring. His tendency “to sometimes oversell a bit through passion” enabled Mr. Bull to obtain assistance from one manager about smart ways to sell ideas within a Korean business, he adds.

Opening the kimono about your professional weaknesses most likely will benefit your career when big bosses encourages candor – as Mr. Nikore discovered. At first, the executive resisted publicizing his faults. But Mr. Nayar, the CEO, “was very persuasive,” Mr. Nikore says.

Mr. Nikore initially earned poor grades for his people skills. “I felt bad,” he recollects. The score improved after he created a monthly employee recognition system and made new teams responsible for their results.

Transparency can also strengthen your subordinates’ loyalty. Consider VSE Corp., a government contractor serving the Pentagon and other U.S. agencies. CEO Maurice “Mo” Gauthier insists that senior executives reveal their annual self assessments to their teams.

"I see only an upside in sharing my performance results," says Denise Manning, president of G&B Solutions, a VSE unit. She told her eight-person team that she failed to arrange one of four planned client visits with Mr. Gauthier last year. This year, however, she completed all four visits by September. "My team made it a priority to facilitate scheduling and making sure I made the goal," Ms. Manning says.

Team members made the extra effort because they consider Ms. Manning a collaborative leader, Mr. Gauthier points out. “They want her to succeed.”

Even though professional-services firms value 360-degree feedback, “there are industries that care less, such as traditional manufacturing,” cautions Ana Dutra, CEO of leadership and talent consulting for recruiters Korn/Ferry International.

And there are downsides to being too transparent about flaws. Employees may lose confidence — or even exploit your weak spots.

"People get scared to realize leaders are fallible," observes David Selinger, a founder and CEO of Rich Relevance, a provider of e-commerce personalization services. To encourage a culture of openness, he says he informs his roughly 105 staffers about areas "where I fell down in the prior year" cited in his annual performance evaluation and outlines corrective steps. But the troops don’t see the board’s full critique of their leader.

Meanwhile, an executive of a drug maker saw his advancement recently stall after sharing 360-degree assessments with colleagues that twice criticized his inability to set good agendas. His meetings “went on and on,” Mr. Donohue recalls. Aon Hewitt helped analyze the review results.

Several lieutenants took advantage of their knowledge about the executive’s negative reviews – by keeping meetings brief. They soon won jobs at higher levels than their boss, according to Mr. Donohue. But no promotions loom for the executive. “He has reached his potential,” the consultant says.