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IT Employment Deficit: No Big Deal

If you’re an unemployed IT pro who can’t find work in this country, there’s something wrong with your picture.


New IDC research reports that there’s a whack of IT jobs that are going wanting in Canada: specifically, about 54,000 in 2014. It’s the result of a serious skill gap that has already cost Canadian organizations close to $1 billion.

This vexing scene, said IDC Canada’s research VP for services and enterprise applications in an interview coinciding with the report’s release, is thanks to a perfect storm of “not having the right personnel of the right kind at the right price to do the work.”

More specifically, the country’s education system is not generating the number of IT experts it needs to in order to meet the industry’s requirements.

Further, the research — based on interviews and surveys of Canadian businesses, and supplemented by calculating the costs of farming out work to IT manufacturers or bringing in contract employees (what IDC calls “staff augmentation”) — suggests the numbers aren’t going in the right direction, either. The skills gap, IDC predicts, will swell to 71,000 jobs by 2017.

The numbers for well-placed pros, however, are happier ones. In its recent compensation planning survey, HR firm Mercer predicted that high-tech workers will score the highest wage growth in 2016, with an anticipated upturn of three percent.

And in the meantime, survey respondents aren’t expressing extreme anxiety about this current paucity of professional technology expertise. Indeed, a majority of them told IDC that they didn’t consider an IT skills gap “a major issue,” a reality analysts chalk up to their having devised workarounds for the shortfall, including hiring from overseas, training internally and contracting out.

Research Paints Dim Personal-Economics Picture — But What’s New?

A new survey reveals a Canadian population that’s working harder and longer — but feeling less financially secure — than before.


Some highlights of the Canadian Payroll Association’s survey, conducted with 3,605 Canadians working in a variety of industries between June 29 and August 7 of this year:

  • More than one in five employees surveyed say they’ll need to work four years or more than they originally expected before retiring. They point to a lack of sufficient savings as the main reason.
  • Canadians’ anticipated retirement age is now 63; five years ago, it was 58.
  • Just 33 percent of respondents say they expect the Canadian economy to improve next year (this is down from a three-year average of 41 percent).
  • Forty-eight percent say it would be “somewhat difficult” or “very difficult” to meet their financial obligations if a paycheque was delayed by a single week.
  • Fewer than a quarter of respondents believe they could come up with $2,000 to cover an emergency.
  • About 16 percent of respondents “agree” or “strongly agree” that they’re currently overwhelmed with debt. Nineteen percent have credit-card debt; 16 percent have line-of-credit debt.
  • Twelve percent of survey participants say they doubt they’ll ever be debt-free.
  • About 47 percent of respondents currently save about five percent of their net pay.
  • Just 40 percent of respondents are covered by an employer pension.
  • More than half estimate they will have to save more than $1 million to retire.
  • Three-quarters of respondents have saved a quarter or less of their retirement nest-egg goal; among respondents aged 50 or older, about 48 percent are less than a quarter of the way to their retirement goal.

Truth to tell, the grim timbre of this survey is not so unique in the blitz of similarly grim-timbred surveys of recent times. As such, Canadians should receive this latest salvo telling them that they overspend and are cued up for a tight and uncomfortable future in the most palatable spirit they can.