Enterprises shun new IT grads

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A recent report on hiring trends among Canadian companies may provide an insight as to why enrolment in computer science courses is declining, an IT industry executive said.

IT staffing levels in Canada are expected to grow 12 per cent this year, but most of these new hires will come from other companies, statistics from IT World Canada’s 2007 Salary Survey showed. Sixty-one per cent of firms surveyed said they expect to hire new staff this year. Of those, 67 per cent said they are looking to hire from other companies, while only 19 per cent are expected to hire fresh graduates from colleges and universities and 14 per cent will source new staff from graduates of other technical programs.

IT World Canada’s 2007 IT Job Market and Salary Survey was designed to provide the Canadian IT professionals’ perspective on salary trends and job satisfaction, as well as serve as a resource for hiring managers for improving hiring and retention processes.

The survey report noted that companies looking to hire new IT staff “want to hit the ground running and the focus is clearly on experience” rather than in training new hires. There may be a downside to this trend. “That [survey data] means companies are fighting each other for the same skills,” said John Pickett, vice-president and editorial director at IT World Canada..

The general hiring trend towards experienced IT professionals consequently poses challenges for new computer science graduates in trying to secure employment, Pickett said.

The IT World Canada executive noted this hiring outlook may be an indication of organizations’ desire to constantly gain competitive advantage and are looking to move more quickly in everything that they do. “(Most of the time) they are not looking for people they can train; they are looking for people who can hit the ground running,” Pickett said.

This attitude, however, may not be helping the IT skills shortage situation and the dropping enrolment numbers in computer science courses.

“Companies are going to have to put more effort into training new people not only for their own self-preservation but for the preservation of skills across industry,” said Pickett.

Companies primarily hiring from each other, on the other hand, may be good news for experienced IT professionals as increased hiring competition typically means more competitive salaries, according to the survey. “In-demand skills will become yet harder to find and competition will drive up salaries once again,” the report said.

Based on the report, which surveyed 2,883 respondents, there was a 4.1 per cent average increase in total compensation across the industry between 2006 and 2007.

With increased staffing competition and rising salaries, the confidence level of IT professionals has risen and they are now more willing to risk a job change, the report said.

Overall, 58 per cent of respondents are satisfied with their current job. That doesn’t mean they’re not looking for greener pasture, however. According to the survey, 60 per cent of respondents that are currently employed are either actively searching for another job or would consider one.

The highest paid IT professionals are in the booming energy sector, which has also seen an increase of 7.4 per cent in average compensation, the biggest hike between 2006 and 2007. The highest paid IT professionals are the CIOs, with average total compensation of $192,496.

The highest paid non-management IT positions are network architects with average total compensation of $101,959, followed by the system architects with average compensation pegged at $97,389.

Application development remains the most in-demand skills, cited by 61 per cent of respondent. About 36 per cent of the companies surveyed said they plan to hire more application developers.

Other more in-demand skills are business analysis, networking, Windows administration and project management.

IT World Canada’s full report on the 2007 IT Job Market and Salary Survey is available for purchase. Visit for details.

Also read and respond to our blog: The one skill employers will always say ‘Yes’ to

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