Canada will need 216,000 tech positions filled in these 5 key sectors by 2021


As the Canadian business landscape rapidly digitizes, a shortage of skilled labourers is hindering its growth potential.

A new report published on Apr. 12 by the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) indicates that Canada will need to fill approximately 216,000 technology-related positions by 2021, up from 2015 predictions of 182,000 by 2019.

ICTC’s Labour Market Outlook 2017-2021 points out that this demand stems from a steadily growing Canadian digital economy, which experienced a 2.38 per cent growth between 2011 and 2016, compared to the 1.17 per cent growth for the rest of the economy.

“The overall digital labour force now amounts to around 1,389,000 professionals, and is reflective of the health of this economy and the expanding range of occupations in this space,” ICTC writes.
The report finds that 53 per cent of tech professionals in the digital economy work in non-tech industries, “which indicates an increased prevalence of technology across all sectors of the Canadian economy.” It predicts that by 2021, the proportion of tech workers in non-tech industries will rise to 84 per cent.

Where talent is needed

Much of the rising demand for tech professionals is attributed to transformative and rapid advancements of technology, the report adds, particularly in five emerging sectors: virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR), 3D printing, blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), and 5G mobile technology.
VR and AR, for example, are currently worth approximately $30 billion and $120 billion respectively and will need to fill positions such as computer and information systems managers, graphic designers, computer and software engineers, technical sales specialists and even industrial instrument technicians and mechanics.
3D printing has already proved to be disruptive within the manufacturing sector, and will need more technological talent to help realize its economic opportunities, including computer programmers, manufacturing managers, electrical and electronics engineers, graphic arts technicians, as well as interactive media developers.
Blockchain technologies will transform the financial services industry, ICTC says, and professionals with the skills to further the development of such infrastructure will be in high demand. Database analysts, data administrators, software engineers and designers, as well as user support technicians will be especially sought-after, and will also be needed for AI advancement as well.
The report forecasts that “besides the significant potential for retail, manufacturing and health sectors, AI will continue to create economic advancement in banking services, transportation and more.”
And the last key transformative technology, the global 5G value chain “will generate $3.5 trillion in output, outweighing the current value of today’s entire mobile value chain, and supporting 22 million jobs in 2035,” the report explains. Its wide range of applications could see it disrupt everything from the public administration industry and manufacturing, to financial services as well as the culture and recreation sectors.

Canada-wide problem

The need for tech professionals is a cross-Canada issue, with ICTC highlighting Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec as the three provinces with the most demand.
Ontario will continue to move from a manufacturing-focused province to one fueled by technologies like Ai, 5G mobile and 3D printing. ICTC predicts approximately 88,000 tech jobs will be created by 2021 and total employment in the tech sector will reach about 669,500.
British Columbia will experience “a significant increase” in tech employment by 2021, with total employment expecting to be over 161,000.
Quebec notes aerospace and gaming as its two largest industries that hire tech talent, which stand to benefit from the emergence of the five key emerging technologies. The report indicates that 44,400 tech workers will be in demand, bringing total employment up to more than 336,000.

Solving the skills gap issue

To bridge the gap, the country needs to better train workers and place a special focus on preparing youth with the right skills to enter the tech industry, ICTC stresses.
“The hallmark of success in this environment is equipping Canadians with the relevant technology skills to innovate, adopt technologies, and produce higher-value goods and services,” the report says. “This will empower a more dynamic economy based on our ability as a nation to intensify investments in infrastructure and [research and development], diversify our industries, and expand trade.”
Competition – mainly from Canada’s southern neighbour, the US, and other industries looking to digitally transform – and lead-time to staff critical positions also remain a challenge for many businesses.

The Information Technology Sector in Canada

The demand for talent in the IT sector in Canada has seen incredible growth over the past 15 years. The current unemployment rate for professionals in this field is the lowest in history at 1.9% (by contrast, the overall unemployment rate in Canada is over 6.5%). Some trends in the workforce include a relatively aging workforce, 11% is over the age of 55 compared with 4% in 2001. The workforce is highly educated with the majority of the workforce having at least a Bachelor’s degree or higher. Finally, the workforce is also increasingly multi-cultural with 37% born outside of Canada.

About IT Connections

Information Technology (IT) Connections helps internationally-trained IT professionals pursue their careers in Canada. Participants learn Canadian IT-sector standards, terminology, and tips on how to enhance their job search. IT Connections was designed in close collaboration with key stakeholders – employers, professional associations and an academic institution.

Program Components:

  • Effective job search strategies: market research techniques; resume development; interview skills; and, targeting your job search to companies that require your specific skills and experience
  • Orientation to Canadian Workplace Culture and the expectations of employers in the sector
  • Project Management for IT Professionals (PMP exam preparation)
  • Agile Introduction and Methodology
  • Guest speaking panels including volunteers from Accenture (program sponsor)
  • Connections with IT employers
  • Referrals to Speed Mentoring® and The Mentoring Partnership™
  • Post-employment communication coaching, language coaching and document editing
For more information, visit

Source: ACCES Employment 

Silicon Valley North: the Toronto-Waterloo Corridor

by Sahra Togone

The Toronto-Waterloo region, often referred to simply as the corridor, is home to thousands of tech startups and multinational companies. The Toronto-Waterloo strip spans 112 kilometers, making it the second largest global innovation technology cluster in North America.
The corridor is now competing for top talent around the world with billions of dollars of support from both the private and the public sector. The federal government of Canada recently announced funding of more than $752 million for infrastructure upgrades to the GO transit line.
Even though the corridor has access to a talented pool of professionals and new graduates from some of the best universities in the world like University of Waterloo and University of Toronto, it is still not large enough to meet the demands of a growing economy. For the region to be a world leader in tech, it must attract and retain top talent to address the skills shortage in this sector. As the tech industry rapidly expands, Canada is predicted to have 216,000 tech positions filled by 2021 according to IT World Canada.
The Express Entry immigration program intends to address this shortage.

Skilled Immigrant Agencies and Programs in the Tech World

The Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) is a not-for-profit Canadian center providing knowledge for the digital economy:
ACCES Employment is a nonprofit agency dedicated to connecting employers to job seekers who face employment barriers.
  • IT connections assist internationally trained information technology professionals in obtaining a career in Canada by providing job search strategies and connections to IT employers.
MaRS Discovery District is a nonprofit innovation hub located in the heart of Toronto. Their areas of knowledge and opportunities include:

Bridging Programs:

  • Humber College’s .NET Bridging program offers a 24-week bridging program for internationally trained IT professionals who possess experience in computer programming. The program intends to equip participants with the knowledge and skill to work as software developers in the Canadian job market.
  • York University’s Bridging Program for Internationally Educated Professionals (IEPs) works with small and large local businesses, not-for-profits, professional associations, and accreditation bodies to help IEPs transition into a position that matches their education, credentials, and experience.
With this kind of growth and investment, it is no wonder that the corridor is being promoted as the Silicon Valley of the north.

Becoming an IT Professional in Canada

| by Karolin Givergis
One of the functions of information technology (IT) professionals is to manage the network servers of a company. Because nearly all businesses have network servers, the IT field touches on virtually every part of today’s economy. With their specialized education, skills, and training, IT professionals are in high demand. They would also do well to join a professional IT society, like Canada’s Association of Information Technology Professionals (CIPS) or the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC). Such memberships distinguish technologists from those who are committed to being a voice of the profession.
CIPS has been representing thousands of members since 1958. According to its website, the organization has established standards and shared “best practices for the benefit of individual IT professionals and the sector as a whole.” Its mentorship program aims at supporting both new professionals after they graduate from a CIPS-accredited program and immigrants who have an IT background. It also shares the practical experiences of successful IT professionals across Canada, highlighting the practices, pathways, and decisions that enabled their success. In addition, the CIPS community supports its members’ acquisition of soft skills—which are needed to succeed in this field.
Besides certification, CIPS offers networking opportunities and accreditation of an IT post-secondary program. Be sure to check out its job board.
CIPS offers three professional IT designations:
  • Associate Information Technology Professional (AITP): The Pre-Professional AITP designation is for those who have recently graduated from an IT program at a university or college but don’t yet have the required experience for the I.S.P. designation.
  • Information Systems Professional (I.S.P.): Canada’s only IT designation that is recognized by law, I.S.P. status conveys to clients and employers trusted assurance of an IT professional’s knowledge and technical background. I.S.P. standing has been granted in Canada since 1989, and is legislated as a self-regulating designation in six provinces (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia). Other provinces are working toward introducing similar legislation.
  • Information Technology Certified Professional (ITCP): In 2008, CIPS introduced the ITCP certification, designed specifically for senior IT practitioners and academics who want to demonstrate to their employer, clients, students, and partners that, in addition to possessing IT knowledge, they understand how to effectively apply their experience to achieving organizational excellence.
Besides familiarizing yourself with CIPS, as an IT professional, you may want to learn about the ICTC, a not-for-profit national centre that consists of a network of industry associations, educational institutions, and policy makers who represent the digital economy in Canada. It is an independent, neutral policy advisor to Canada’s business and government sectors. A leader in technology and labour market research, ICTC specializes in building programs and solutions for the digital economy.
To increase your chances of employment, at the interview stage, make sure you inform the employer about ICTC’s Ontario CareerConnect program. An employer may be eligible to receive a 50 percent wage subsidy for a candidate for up to 26 weeks.
ICTC’s GO Talent program helps internationally educated professionals who are “immigrating to Canada as permanent residents find employment in the IT sector before they arrive,” according to the ICTC website. Funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), GO Talent provides professionals who have registered in the program with access to important labour market information, “as well as [the GO Talent] job portal platform that provides access to résumé and cover letter review; … job opportunities listed by [GO Talent] employer partners; … [and] information technology processional (ITP) certification, which validates skills, work experience, and education.” Find out more at the ICTC website under GO Talent

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