Job seekers, students, and career changers around the world want to pursue roles related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics across different industries—but say they are not familiar with career options, according to a recent survey from IBM.
“As Canadian businesses increasingly adopt new technologies including Artificial Intelligence and Hybrid Cloud, we are seeing increased opportunities for Canadians to pursue new career paths in STEM-related roles,” says Frank Attaie, General Manager of Technology for IBM Canada.
At the same time, online training and digital credentials are emerging as a recognized pathway to opportunity as respondents plan to seek new jobs in the year ahead, the company’s latest report shows.
“To take advantage of this moment, it is vital we raise awareness of different paths available today to step into technology roles across industries,” believes Attaie. “We’re deeply committed to driving this progress in Canada, investing in programs … to enable pathways for all Canadians to pursue futures in tech.”
The study identified Canadian-specific trends. For example, many Canadians shared they believe STEM training is too expensive, don’t know where to start, and don’t know enough about digital credentials.
Career-related dynamics have altered rapidly in recent years, and the change of pace is overwhelming some students and jobseekers.
More than 90% Canadians are confident they can develop skills or learn something new from an online program, however—they just need a little guidance and awareness, suggests IBM. This is an important figure because up to two-thirds of Canadians are considering new or additional work within the next year, according to the company’s study.
“Technology training can have a transformational effect on a person’s life,” stated Justina Nixon-Saintil, IBM Chief Impact Officer, who observes “many misconceptions about what’s needed to pursue a rewarding and lucrative career in today’s rapidly advancing workplace.”
Nixon-Saintil says we should raise awareness of the breadth of science and technology roles that exist across industries.
On the opportunity front, IBM notes that there are advantages to online skilling courses, with 85% of Canadians with digital credentials stating it helped to achieve career goals. Up-skill programs are typically more flexible than their academic counterparts, which allows Canadians to work while earning credentials, a particularly important element for career changers.
Through IBM SkillsBuild, the tech giant wants to skill 30 million people globally by 2030.
The open version of IBM SkillsBuild is an online platform that offers 1,000 courses in 19 languages on cybersecurity, data analysis, cloud computing, and other technical disciplines, as well as in workplace skills such as Design Thinking—earning branded digital credentials that are recognized by the market, according to the firm.
A premium version of SkillsBuild includes workshops, coaching, access to IBM technology, and “connection to career opportunities,” among other upgrades.
And IBM is hardly alone in providing such services in 2023. Titans like Amazon, Google, and LinkedIn—as well as smaller Canadian organizations such as Uvaro, Palette Skills, and Le Wagon—all offer online programs designed to train talent in tech.
Some of the most-demanded skills from hiring tech companies include software engineering, cybersecurity expertise, and the always useful ability to sell stuff.
The report, administered by Morning Consult and commissioned by IBM, is based on 14,000 interviews of students, people seeking new jobs, and people seeking to change careers, across 13 countries including Canada.