Alberta’s digital economy thrived during the COVID-19 pandemic, growing nearly 18% from February 2020 to May 2022, adding 30,000 jobs in software development, data, design, and business operations.

A new study by ICTC, A Resilient Recovery: Alberta’s Digital-Led Post-COVID Future, explores Alberta’s post-COVID digital economic prospects and the key roles and associated skills that will be needed to maintain positive momentum.

Most of Alberta’s digital tech employers anticipate increases in revenue after the pandemic, however, the success of the sector depends on a steady stream of talent. In fact, the employers consulted for this study stated that the biggest threat to sustained growth of Alberta tech is a lack of digitally skilled workers.

This challenge is especially acute in the four key tech subsectors that are expected to drive significant employment growth for Albertans: health tech, clean technology, fintech, and agtech.

  • Healthcare employed 313,400 people in March 2022, an 11.7% increase since the start of the pandemic. Growth in this sector will place a high demand on core ICT roles: software developers, full-stack developers, web developers, system administrators, and sales and business development roles.
  • Clean technology and environmental sectors accounted for 1.7% of Alberta’s GDP in 2020 ($2.92 billion) and accounted for 1% of Alberta employment in 2020. Clean tech will require more electricians, electrical apprentices, and engineers than other tech subsectors.
  • The finance and insurance sector accounts for approximately 4% of Alberta’s GDP and 3.1% of Alberta employment. The most in-demand roles and skill sets focus on software and data products. Specialized skills include programming languages, computer science, software development, and automation.
  • Agriculture accounts for about 2% of Alberta’s GDP and about 1.3% of Alberta employment, accounting for 30,700 jobs in March 2022. While employment in this subsector decreased during the pandemic, over the last 10 years, employment in the agtech industry has grown at a faster rate than other areas of the economy. The most in-demand skill sets in Alberta’s agtech industry are sales, business development, and entrepreneurial and business experience.

“It is remarkable to see the rapid growth of the digital landscape in Alberta since the height of the pandemic. Digitization has become the next growth engine for Alberta, accelerating business scale up and job creation, while paving the way for investment attraction.” —Namir Anani, ICTC President and CEO.

The Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) is a not-for-profit, national centre of expertise for strengthening Canada’s digital advantage in a global economy. Through trusted research, practical policy advice, and creative capacity-building programs, ICTC fosters globally competitive Canadian industries enabled by innovative and diverse digital talent. In partnership with an expansive network of industry leaders, academic partners, and policy makers from across Canada, ICTC has empowered a robust and inclusive digital economy for over 30 years.

To arrange an interview on this study or other media inquiries, please contact Paul Stastny at [email protected] or 403.351.0138 Ext. 823.

The Province of Alberta is working in partnership with the Government of Canada to provide employment support programs and services

A copy of the study can be accessed here.

Researched and written by Alexandra Cutean (Chief Research Officer), Mairead Matthews (Senior Research & Policy Analyst), and Mansharn Toor (Research & Policy Analyst), with generous support from the ICTC Digital Think Tank Team.