Report: Lack of awareness among job seekers contributes to tech’s talent challenge

Workplace

According to a report from Toronto’s MaRS Discovery District, there are several factors contributing to the challenge of hiring for the tech industry.

The Talent Fuels Tech report was compiled with qualitative data from six focus groups of companies within MaRS, which asked employers for insights into their talent needs and important challenges they are currently facing in recruitment. The groups included a total of 589 respondents.

The report found that many ventures rely on internships and postsecondary recruiting to find talent, while many job seekers use portals like Linkedin and Indeed to find jobs. Job seekers also generally have little awareness around the startup ecosystem; the report said that over half of job seekers want to work for SMEs, with the remainder opting for startups or larger corporations. A third of respondents were unaware of what opportunities existed within the startup ecosystem.

“Talent fuels the innovation economy and it is one of the major choke points to success and scale in our industry,” says Yung Wu, CEO of MaRS. “At the same time, participation and leadership in the tech and innovation ecosystem are not representative of our diverse population. If we’re to win globally, it’s imperative that we work to engage all segments of our talent pool. This report identifies the challenges and suggests how together we can address the sector’s growing talent gap and help our ecosystem succeed.”

The report also found that job seekers in Toronto are more likely to be visible minorities, and suggests they may be seeking more inclusive workplace cultures.

“Structural supports are required for workplaces to acknowledge the inherent biases that exist in traditional sourcing systems,” the report reads. “Specifically, hiring for cultural fit has created a barrier to entry for job seekers who are visible minorities and who may not already be represented in workplaces.”

To combat these challenges, the report recommends seeking tech talent outside of the tech industry; hiring a diverse pool of candidates; and understanding that skilled talent are attracted by competitive wages.

Access the full report here.