It is an interesting time to be at the intersection of tech and talent in Canada in 2023.
Even by the already accelerated standards of the tech industry, the rate of change in recent years has been challenging to keep up with.
The angles which change is coming from are varied, making it all the more challenging.
For example, Generative Artificial Intelligence is shaking things up dramatically for employee and employer alike, disrupting myriad industries and many traditional ways of doing things. There’s also impact from global economic uncertainty, as well as friction on Canadian soil, where high interest rates and inflation have left many feeling financially battered even while earning the higher average salaries that tech occupations often command.
Distilling a year of expert sources and crunched data, we explore three of the most notable trends impacting Canadian tech talent heading into 2024.
AI on the Rise in the Workplace
More than 90% of C-suite executives say their business is now using or planning to use generative AI within 18 months.
Leaders believe that AI will be used for everything from increasing customer satisfaction and improving operational efficiency to enhancing engagement and wellbeing of employees.
If you are a worker in tech, or aspiring to be, we recommend AI up-skilling in oder to stay afloat this wave. Whether employers are already offering in-house AI skilling, or you leverage one of many online platforms available, knowing how to utilize AI will be a critical tool for all talent moving forward.
It’s simply good business: Hiring talent with skills around artificial intelligence is a priority for a strong majority of employers in Canada, data suggests, with employers willing to pay more to hire talent with AI skills, according to a study conducted by research firm Access Partnership on behalf of Amazon Web Services.
And even if AI fails to increase your demand as talent, it may reduce your workload. Microsoft’s 2023 Work Trend Index Annual Report found that more than two-thirds of people intend to delegate as much work as possible to AI.
Hiring Resumes as Companies Rebound
It may still be premature to say that the Canadian tech sector is back to enjoying growth mode, but signs of shrinkage have slowed.
After nearly two years of layoffs and economic stagnation, data is suggesting an uptick in expansion plans from companies as they seek to hire again.
“Employers have resumed hiring activity,” says Gordon Pelosse, senior vice president, employer engagement, CompTIA.
Nearly 300,000 technology jobs have been created in Canada over the past six years, according to a report from CompTIA. And despite headwinds, tech employment is projected to grow by more than 1% this year, according to CompTIA’s “State of the Tech Workforce Canada.”
“Despite some softening in the economy, Canadian CEOs remain confident about the Canadian economy and their company’s growth outlook over the next three years,” stated Elio Luongo, Chief Executive Officer of KPMG in Canada, in October.
Canadian CEOs see attracting and retaining top talent as their top operational priority to deliver growth moving forward, found KPMG International’s 2023 CEO Outlook.
Canadian Tech Talent Lacks Confidence
While hiring is expected to rebound in 2024, a negative sentiment may linger.
In Canada, confident rates are down eight points on LinkedIn’s Workforce Confidence index—tied with Australia for the second-worst drop in confidence across 12 countries ranked.
The stark finding from LinkedIn confirms data released by HP in September showing that 77% of Canadian knowledge workers do not have a healthy relationship with work, higher than the global average.
It’s a salient concern because we have “long known that employees consider career-development opportunities to be one of the top reasons to stay at—or leave—their company,” according to Stephanie Conway, senior director of talent development for LinkedIn. “The difficult but important work comes in better understanding what career development really means to our diverse employee populations.”
With an unhealthy relationship with work, 46% of knowledge workers in Canada look to switch jobs and 40% are less productive at work, according to data from the Index.
Consequently, businesses also struggle: “Productivity, morale, connection, and engagement diminish when relationships with work are unhealthy, leading to increasing challenges with employee retention.”
Based on a global study of leaders, workers, and decision-makers across tech, the Work Relationship Index considers six primary drivers of a healthy relationship with work. Each of the drivers can help employees build a better relationship with work, according to LinkedIn. But unfortunately, Canada falls short on most.
For example, the country ranked “Below Average” on areas of career fulfilment and companies being empathic employers. And while Canada performed “Average” elsewhere, such as in categories of People-Centricity and Skills, the nation did not manage to score “Above Average” in any category.
What’s in Store for 2024
Predictions made decades or even centuries ago—back when time seemed to stand almost still by comparison of today—were about as accurate as a monkey throwing darts in the dark.
We’re still monkeys throwing darts in the dark, but now things appear to be changing more rapidly than ever.
What we can predict safely is that at TechTalent.ca we will continue to report on news and reports impacting the ever-evolving intersection of tech and talent in Canada. To do so, we will lean on expert sources and reputable resources to deliver relevant information and analysis in a timely fashion.