The Canadian CGI Group is setting up shop in Arras
CGI opens a third office in Hauts-de-France
“The arrival of a major international group like yours once again demonstrates that Arras is a highly attractive location in Hauts-de-France. It also offers a wonderful opportunity to further strengthen our great relationship with Canada.” With those words, the CGI management team received a warm welcome to Arras from Arras Urban Community President Pascal Lachambre, who negotiated its move into Arras, and Arras Mayor Frederic Leturque. CGI, which already has a presence in Hauts-de-France, is expanding its regional footprint by opening a third office, this time in Arras. Its permanent home, a 1,000 m² space in the city center on Boulevard Carnot, will be ready in July. In the meantime, CGI has already opened its doors at a temporary site on Boulevard Schumann.
Why did CGI choose Arras?
CGI Vice-President Cyril Bricout says there were three key factors behind its decision:
- The city has an “ideal geographic location” halfway between Lille and Amiens. A nearby TGV station also allows fast and convenient travel to Paris. “Arras is close to Paris, where many of our customers are located. It’s also halfway between our Lille and Amiens sites and we hope it will increase interaction among our sites in the region.”
- Its outstanding universities and technical schools and highly specialized emerging workforce: CGI has strong relationships with two local IT engineering schools, EPSI and CESI. “We hire 70% of our employees at entry level, including students in apprenticeship programs, and then we provide them with the training they need for careers in our industry. So we’re excited to be hiring from the local talent pool.”
- “The quality of life and the city’s outstanding infrastructure were also major influences.”
CGI will create new tech jobs
The Arras office opened in early April with a team of 20. By 2021, CGI plans to expand it to employ 100 people, bringing its regional workforce up to 1,000. The majority of the site’s employees will be developers, engineers, and IT experts. Most will be hired from local schools, an approach that will help the region retain more locally-trained engineers, many of whom would otherwise return to their home regions after graduation.
CGI, an international heavyweight
With 74,000 employees working in 400 offices in 40 countries, CGI is a major international group. Founded in Quebec in 1976, it now ranks as one of the Top 5 IT groups worldwide. It has four major businesses:
- The integration of more agile, high-performance IT systems
- Creating trade-specific software solutions for clients
CGI currently counts 23 offices in France, three of them in Hauts-de-France. The project was supported by Nord France Invest and our local partner, the Arras Urban Community.