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Canada needs 182,000 new workers in the Information Technology (IT) sector by 2019, according to the report published last year by the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC). Canada’s Express Entry immigration system has helped to address this labour shortage.
The report identifies skills mismatch, demand and supply imbalances, an aging workforce, and other factors as the reasons behind the talent gap. “The latest innovations in ICTs – in particular the Internet of things (IOT) as well as social, mobile, analytics, apps and cloud (SMACC) – have become drivers of innovation, productivity and growth.”
Among the high demand occupations identified by the report were:
- Information systems analysts and consultants
- Computer and network operators and web technicians
- Computer programmers and interactive media developers
- Software engineers
- Graphic designers and illustrators
- Computer and information systems managers
- Database analysts and data administrators
There are about 810,000 ICT professionals currently employed in Canada, but an additional 182,000 ICT talent will be required by the provinces across the country by 2019. According to ICT Labour Market Outlook, Ontario has the highest demand for these positions (76,300), Quebec (49,600), British Columbia (20,900), Alberta (17,300), Manitoba (4,000), Saskatchewan (3,900), Newfoundland (3,800), Nova Scotia (3,200), New Brunswick (2,200), Prince Edward Island (1,500).
Provinces across Canada that need skilled IT personnel have used their ‘enhanced’ Express Entry-aligned Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) streams to select IT workers specifically. In addition, the federal government’s objective of inviting more Express Entry candidates based on their strong human capital factors has resulted in an increase over time in the number of candidates with IT work experience being invited to apply.
In addition, a new program called Global Talent Stream which allows certain skilled workers to obtain a work permit within two weeks of applying was recently launched by the federal government. This initiative aims to help innovative companies grow by ensuring they can access the highly skilled talent they need quickly. Workers who arrive in Canada under the Global Talent Stream may build up Canadian work experience, a highly-valued factor under Express Entry, and subsequently immigrate to Canada permanently.
Top Occupations By ITAS (Invitations To Apply) issued in 2016:
- Information Systems Analysts and Consultants
- Software Engineers
- Computer Programmers and Interactive Media Developers
- Food Service Supervisors
- University Professors and Lecturers,
- Graphic Designers and Illustrators
- Professional Occupations in Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations
- Financial Auditors and Accountants
- Retail Sales Supervisors
In 2016, candidates working as IT professionals were the largest group of invited candidates.
According to the IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) report, ‘In September 2016, when invitation round sizes began to grow, candidates with higher human capital but without a valid job offer, such as those in occupation groups NOC (National Occupational Classification) 11, 21 and 40, were invited in greater numbers. Since November 19, 2016, this trend has become even more pronounced.’ Many IT professions come under NOC group 21.
Because the improvements that came into effect last November brought a change in the value of a job offer under the CRS – from 600 points to either 50 or 200 points, depending on the position offered – many candidates without a job offer improved their ranking. This placed more of these candidates in line to receive an ITA, with or without a provincial nomination or a job offer.
So far, 2017 has seen more candidates invited than ever before. At the time of writing, a total of 54,487 ITAs had been issued this year. This number more than triples the 15,286 ITAs issued over the first half of 2016, and far surpasses the total number issued in the whole of last year.