From driving jobs of the future to ensuring that Canada thrives in the next normal, Canada’s economic recovery has been dominating the conversation, especially as it relates to the upcoming federal election.
What’s not discussed nearly as often is how a key element to our recovery as a country is sitting in plain sight. What’s the opportunity? Investing in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) skills training.
All trends point to ICT
Throughout the pandemic, employment in Canada’s growing technology landscape has surged, despite challenges in other sectors such as mass layoffs, stay-at-home orders, and other economic impacts. In fact, the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) recently reported that jobs in Canada’s technology sector, and technology roles in all other sectors, jumped to more than 11 per cent of the country’s total employment from 9.5 per cent pre-pandemic.
And that trend is expected to continue. The ICTC has projected that jobs within the technology space in Canada will grow to reach 2.26 million jobs by 2025, which is an increase of 250,000 additional positions. Additionally, these jobs are expected to grow at an annual rate of 2.22 per cent, compared to 1.97 per cent in the broader economy.
Take Alberta, for example. With a history of producing world-class companies in high-growth industries, the province has seen an enormous technology boom over the last few years. Today, the province is now home to over 3,083 technology companies, according to a recent study done by the Alberta Enterprise Corporation (AEC). That’s compared to just 1,238 companies in 2018.
The demand for technology talent has exploded over the last few months, but the war on talent is far from over. The increasing complexity of IT systems and the emergence of new technologies, from machine learning, to artificial intelligence and the cloud, has meant that businesses and talent alike need to stay on the cutting edge or risk falling behind.
That said, these technologies are only as innovative as the leaders who recognize the opportunities that lie ahead, and the talent who deliver it. That’s where ICT skills training comes in.
According to the World Economic Forum’s latest Future of Jobs Report, half of all employees around the world will need reskilling by 2025, many to keep in line with ongoing technological innovation and the growth of the digital economy. Not only is it more important than ever for IT professionals to be attentive, engaged and curious, but it’s also time to invest in future talent.
Over the last two decades, Long View Systems has championed developing technology talent in North America, but now more needs to be done. We are calling on governments, education providers, and technology businesses to invest in talent development to shore-up the technology talent gap.
Investment in Action
Canada’s technology industry plays a major role in establishing mentorship and apprenticeship programs to address the talent gap by fast-tracking students. From a business standpoint, it’s clear: if employees aren’t on the cutting edge of innovation, companies risk falling behind in today’s highly technical landscape. At Long View, here are some of the ways we’ve seen this work in action.
We have been a proud supporter of NPower Canada and Momentum’s Tech Plus-Technology Training programs that are designed for younger, unemployed and underemployed individuals to get the skills they need to get into the growing technology industry.
NPower’s four-month digital skills training and employment program provides youth between the ages of 17 and 30 training they need to kickstart a career in tech at no cost. The organization also works closely with technology companies, including Long View, to ensure that the talent coming out of the program is always well-equipped for the ever-changing workforce.
Through our partnership with Momentum, we have been able to participate in the practicum component to provide real-life experiences and hire a number of their new grads; five from this June’s graduating class of 11.
We have also recently announced our new Microsoft Cloud Generalist Apprenticeship Program. The program, built for upskilling our team in cloud skills, will be accepting Long View applicants who want to grow into a Microsoft Cloud Generalist. Once selected, Long View aims to backfill the applicant’s current role so that they can be fully immersed in upskilling. Upon completion of the program, they will have the skills to help our clients as a Microsoft Cloud Generalist.
Now more than ever, it’s time for governments, education providers, and technology companies to not only embrace this digital transformation but to double down on investing in ICT skills training programs, opening the door for Canadian job opportunities while driving innovation and growth in Canada’s technology sector.
Brent Allison is the CEO of Long View.