BlackBerry was founded in the 1980s, and since then has employed tens of thousands of people in Canada.
But between people quitting, getting fired, and getting laid off, there are now several thousand former BlackBerry employees working elsewhere in Canada. Startup Careerify decided to find out just where they headed.
According to an observation of more than 600 former BlackBerry, Careerify found that they largely stay within the technology sector, primarly the telecommunications industry such as Telus and Rogers and competitors such as Google and Samsung. Very few BlackBerry employees wind up in the startup space, the data suggests.
39% of former BlackBerry employees work for telcos, mostly Telus (37%) and Rogers (34%). 55% work for other technology companies, mainly Microsoft (37%) and Desire2Learn (33%). Only 6% work for startups - and most that Careerify mentions, like HootSuite and FreshBooks, aren't even startups anymore. This strongly goes against anecdotal data that has suggested last year's BlackBerry layoffs would empower Canada's startup ecosystem.
However, we know there are at least some success stories involving former BlackBerry employees building new companies. For example, Michael Litt was a member of the Software Product Management team at BlackBerry before cofounding Vidyard.
"Being a part of the Software Product Management team at BlackBerry gave me insight into managing, filtering and integrating massive volumes of customer data and insight into consumer products," Litt told Careerify. "I worked with a fantastic team of people that have now spread into various roles at other large companies and startups in the Waterloo Region."