help wanted sign. IT talent
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*Editor’s note: Story originally published March 19, and is updated as one of our most popular posts of 2015.

Due to skills mismatch, demand-supply imbalances, an aging workforce and other factors, Canada is headed for a major technology talent shortage in the next five years.

Canada needs 182,000 people to fill positions for information systems analysts and consultants, computer and network operators, Web technicians, software engineers and others in by 2019, according to an IT labour market report released this week.

Also read: Why Canada has an 182,000 IT talent shortage while lots of tech professionals are out of work

There are about 811,200 information communication and technology professionals currently employed in Canada, but provinces across the country will require an additional 182,000 ICT talent by 2019.ICT labiour market outlook

The study was funded by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program. The report was prepared and released by a team from the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC), a labour market intelligence and industry skills standard body funded by the government.

“The latest innovations in ICTs – in particular the Internet of things (IOT) as well as social, mobile, analytics, apps and cloud (SMAAC) – have become drivers of innovation, productivity and growth,” the report said. “…It is projected that the availability of homegrown ICT talent will not be sufficient to meet these hiring requirements.”

Most employers will still have difficulty recruiting individuals with the right blend of technical and business skills. “Unless adequately addressed, this will cause particular strife to Canada’s prosperity, as growth in Canadian workers’ productivity levels has fallen notably since 2001,” according to the report.

The researchers said “employment growth – combined with replacement demands due to skills mismatch, retirements, and other exits, demand-supply imbalances will affect some occupations more than others.”

Among the high demand occupations identified by the report were:

  • Information systems analysts and consultants
  • Computer and network operators and web technicians
  • Computer programmers and interactive media developers
  • Software engineers
  • Graphic designers and illustrators
  • Computer and information systems managers
  • Database analysts and data administrators

Medium demand occupations include:

  • Electrical and electronics engineering technologists and technicians
  • Web designers and developers
  • Computer engineers
  • Electrical and electronics engineers
  • User support technicians
  • Systems testing technicians

Low demand occupations are:

  • Telecommunications carriers managers
  • Broadcast technicians
Photo from Thinkstock/Thinkstock.com
Photo from Thinkstock/Thinkstock.com

The demand-supply imbalances will hit:

British Columbia would have to fill 20,900 ICT positions over the next five years. By 2019, cumulative hiring requirements for ICT talent are expected to be over 15,500 in Vancouver, over 1,700 in Victoria, and over 3,600 in rest of British Columbia.

Alberta would have to fill 17,300 ICT positions over the next five years. By 2019, cumulative hiring requirements for ICT talent are expected to be over 10,600 in Calgary, over 4,000 in Edmonton, and over 2,500 in rest of Alberta.

Saskatchewan would need to fill 3,900 ICT positions over the next five years. By 2019, cumulative hiring requirements for ICT talent are expected to be over 1,400 in Regina, over 1,100 in Saskatoon, and over 1,300 in rest of Saskatchewan.

Manitoba would need to fill 4,000 ICT positions over the next five years. By 2019, cumulative hiring requirements for ICT talent are expected to be over 3,300 in Winnipeg and over 600 in rest of Manitoba.

Ontario would need to fill 76,300 ICT positions over the next five years. By 2019, cumulative hiring requirements for ICT talent are expected to be over 52,700 in the greater Toronto area, over 9,700 in Ottawa-Gatineau, over 3,800 in the Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo region, and over 9,900 in rest of Ontario.

Quebec would need to fill 49,600 ICT positions over the next five years. By 2019, cumulative hiring requirements for ICT talent are expected to be over 35,600 in Montreal, over 9,900 in Quebec City, and over 3,900 in rest of Quebec.

New Brunswick would need to fill 2,200 ICT positions over the next five years. By 2019, cumulative hiring requirements for ICT talent are expected to be over 900 in Moncton, 800 in Fredericton, 300 in Saint John, and 100 in rest of New Brunswick.

Nova Scotia would need to fill 3,200 ICT positions over the next five years. By 2019, cumulative hiring requirements for ICT talent are expected to be over 2,900 in Halifax and over 300 in rest of Nova Scotia.

Prince Edward Island would need to fill 1,500 ICT positions over the next five years. By 2019, cumulative hiring requirements for ICT talent are expected to be over 900 in Charlottetown and over 500 in rest of Prince Edward Island.

Newfoundland and Labrador would need to fill 3,800 ICT positions over the next five years. By 2019, cumulative hiring requirements for ICT talent are expected to be over 2,400 in St. John’s and over 1,200 in rest of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Authors of the report said it is important for business to “attract and retain” more women in ICT professions. They noted that in Canada, three out of four ICT professionals are men.

Another way to close the talent gap is to attract youth to ICT professions. Only one out of every 20 ICT jobs are held by youth currently.

Business will also have to look beyond Canada’s borders for talent. The labour market outlook for immigrants, however, is “not optimistic.”

“Immigrants lacking Canadian labour market experience will have considerable difficulty in securing an ICT job that is commensurate with their qualifications,” the report said. “Bridging programs that combine training in Canadian workplace, business practices and communications, and a work placement component will create excellent opportunities for newcomer jobseekers to obtain employment that is commensurate with their skills and qualifications.”



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