Working with LinkedIn Canada, CivicAction, a coalition of civic leaders in the Toronto region working to address social and economic challenges in the area, has released a report examining the gaps between tech skills and opportunities in the area.
The researchers consulted potential technology employers, coding schools, and postsecondary institutions to evaluate its results; these included the City of Toronto, the University of Waterloo, and the Information and Communications Technology Council.
It was noted that a 2015-2019 labour market outlook report by the Information and Communications Technology Council projects a cumulative hiring requirement of over 50,000 information and communications technology (ICT) workers in the Toronto region. However, currently, only 19,000 ICT workers are aged 25 or younger, while 50,000 are nearing retirement.
“The need to replace retiring workers and respond to any increase in demand for technology-skilled workers will be critical in the Toronto region, which continues to be identified as a ‘North American powerhouse’ in ICT,” the report said. Out of 20 cities identified as having a high-presence of skilled tech workers, Toronto came in fifth place.
The report also looked at industries currently hiring technology workers — financial services and insurance took the top spot, while government/education/nonprofit and professional services took the second and third spot respectively.
Another interesting aspect of the report noted that while tech jobs are in high demand, it also presents an opportunity for those without postsecondary degrees — employers that partnered with the study said that they look for enthusiasm and experience more than education. As well, it said there are 83,000 young people between the ages of 15-24 who are not in education, employment, or training. Unemployment rates were reported as particularly high for certain populations, including Black (28.0 percent unemployment) and Aboriginal youth (24.9 percent unemployment).
To create more opportunities for youth not in education, the report announced that several educational institutions are stepping in – Seneca College is launched accelerator programs for app development and cloud development; NPower Canada, which helps nonprofits leverage technology, added a web development and mobile app stream to their existing offerings of free tech skills training for youth facing barriers; and Bitmaker Labs is exploring a fellowship program to address youth unemployment.
“Given the potential career opportunities in technology, an understanding of the jobs open to these individuals and the skills they require has the potential to benefit segments of the population that are currently in limbo,” it said.
Check out the full report, which details what the most commonly-held tech skills and other insights, here.