Tech Sector Facing Shortage of Qualified People in Canada

Financial Post

By Jameson Berkow

There could soon be more jobs than qualified people in Canada’s information and communications technology sector.

According to a new report released Tuesday by the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) – Outlook for Human Resources in the ICT Labour Market, 2011-2016 – while Canadian firms will look to hire about 106,000 employees between 2011 and 2016 for ICT-related positions, there’s a good chance there won’t be enough qualified applicants to fill positions.

The report, which is the third installment in a series of labour market analysis pieces produced by the Ottawa-based industry group, warns of a widening gap between labour supply and demand in ICT causing “serious and pervasive” recruitment challenges in the next few years, particularly for companies based outside major Canadian cities and technology hubs. Shortages, which the report’s national summery describes as “alarming,” will be most severe for positions requiring five or more years of experience.

“Given the important role played by the ICT sector in Canada’s economy -as a generator of economic activity in its own right and as an enabler of connectivity and competitiveness in virtually every other industry -we cannot afford to lose ground due to a lack of necessary human resources,” reads an excerpt.

The report offers five recommendations: encourage more post-secondary students to take ICT-related courses; integrating foreign-educated workers into Canada’s ICT workforce; shifting post-secondary curriculum towards more cross-disciplinary programs; getting the industry itself to accept compromises on skill levels; and embracing more diversity in the ICT workforce.