The widespread use of digital technologies in all spheres – from manufacturing, construction, education, health, financial services, to cultural and creative industries – combined with the emergence of hyper-connected technologies means that hiring in information and communications technologies (ICT) professions won’t be slowing down this year. As all industrial sectors in Canada use ICT products and services to innovate through the adoption of digital technologies, the need for ICT talent continues to grow economy-wide as a result. In the past 12 months – between February 2015 and January 2016, compared to the preceding 12 months – 143,000 new jobs were created in Canada, of which 27,000 were in ICT professions. That is, one in every five new jobs created in Canada in the past year was in an ICT profession.
Figure 1 – The number of jobs created (and employment growth) in Canada and in ICT professions in the past 12 months
Overall job growth rate across all occupations in Canada was of 0.8% between February 2015 and January 2016, compared to the preceding 12 months. In that same period, the employment growth rate in ICT jobs was 3.4%. Some of the economic sectors that enjoyed strong employment growth in that period include real estate & leasing (4.6%), healthcare & social assistance (3.4%), and business, building, & other support services (3.2%).
So, which ICT professions are seeing the strongest growth? Knowing occupation-specific growth trends assists students, jobseekers, educational institutions, employers, and policymakers to make informed decisions on the changing needs of the labour market. Between February 2015 and January 2016, the highest number of (18,200) ICT jobs created was for informatics/business systems analysts. Additionally, many new jobs were also created in roles such as technical support analysts (7,200), information systems managers (4,900), electronics/electrical engineers (4,100), electronics technicians (3,800), telecommunications services/operations/facilities managers (3,700), and web developers (1,800).
Figure 2 – Most ICT jobs created between February 2015 and January 2016
With many of the new ICT jobs created in these positions, naturally the highest employment growth in ICT professions is also centered on these roles. More specifically, telecommunications services/operations/facilities manager profession grew by 40% in the past year, while electronics technician profession grew by 12%, electronics/electrical engineering profession grew by 11%, informatics/business systems analyst profession grew by 10%, technical support analyst as well as information systems manager professions grew by 9%, and web developer profession grew by 6%.
Figure 3 – ICT professions with the highest employment growth in the past 12 months
As technology adoption is spread throughout all sectors of the economy, the majority of ICT jobs are located outside of the ICT sector. Specifically, health care & social assistance and construction has seen the highest ICT employment growth over the past year. Even though ICT sector growth is strong, it is being outpaced by other areas of the economy. This is nearly universal in all the provinces across Canada, with the sole exception of New Brunswick. Analyzing the sectors in which ICT employment has grown the most in recent times helps us identify the sectors that are experiencing the most digital transformations , as well as anticipating labour market demands, skills, and training needs of key economic sectors to inform policy and priorities.
Figure 4 – Economic sectors with the highest ICT employment growth in the past 12 months
Some key facts and figures with respect to employment in ICT professions in Canada include:
889,130 – Total employment in ICT jobs
3% – The unemployment rate for ICT professionals
37% – The number of ICT professionals that are aged 45 years and above
29,000 – The number of ICT graduates in 2015 from Canada’s post-secondary education system
We have an aging ICT workforce that is virtually at full employment, and we do not have enough youth coming in to support the talent and skills needs of the digital economy. With an inadequate supply of job-ready ICT graduates and an aging workforce, exploring strategies to boost the supply pipeline to support high growth jobs and sectors is critical.
Which profession or sector hasn’t grown as much as you would have thought? Leave your comments below.
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