Demand remains high for tech skills in GTA

New research from CivicAction finds there is no longer a singular path to a successful career for IT professionals in the Greater Toronto Area, which has the world’s fifth-highest proportion of tech talent.

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With a high demand for technology workers and the world’s fifth-highest proportion of tech talent, the Greater Toronto Area is the perfect place for those with technology skills to launch a career, according to new research by LinkedIn and CivicAction.

The report, which leveraged data from LinkedIn, found that of the 1.9 million members of the social network in the GTA, 11 per cent (or 214,000 members) listed technology skills in their profile. That proportion ranks well above mega-cities like New York and Chicago, coming in fifth behind the Bay Area, Greater Seattle, Sydney and Stockholm.

While there’s a glut of supply for tech skills, demand remains high, though the main employers are not traditional technology or IT companies. The report found that one in 10 GTA companies, or approximately 11,000 organizations, employ early-career technology skills, and only 31 per cent of employees with technology skills work in the technology sector.

Tech skills are also prominent among the most recently hired employees in the region, with a quarter of those who began their career last year listing tech skills and 73 per cent finding work outside the technology industry.

This research exemplifies how there is no longer a singular path to a successful career for tech talent in the GTA, explains Sevaun Palvetzian, CEO of CivicAction.

“So many tech skills are important for way more than the technology sector,” she said. “We have the relationships between sectors happening, where people go in and out of different sectors for different chapters of their careers and work alongside different sectors for specific challenges. The transferability of those tech skills and the need for those tech skills across the board is something this research pointed out for us.”

Using LinkedIn’s data on Toronto area residents’ career patterns and skill sets, as well as job postings and employer information, the study revealed the most likely skills to be found among recently hired, early-career tech employees:

  1. mobile development
  2. game development
  3. Perl/Python/Ruby
  4. user interface design
  5. computer graphics and animation
  6. algorithm design
  7. C/C++
  8. Web programming
  9. Java development
  10. Microsoft application development
  11. database management and software

The research project included input from a wide array of stakeholders dedicated to the success of the GTA’s technology sector, including Seneca College, the Royal Bank of Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, as well as Mayor John Tory.

“What we’re going to need to ramp up, to skill up, to stay where we are or grow where we’re going faster is going to require the city to be deliberate and hungry to make sure we’re on the cusp of what is needed and what is useful,” said Palvetzian. “This research project alongside LinkedIn gave us a new tool in the arsenal to look at this opportunity and shine a light on what we can do even better.”

For those with tech skills just starting their careers, Palvetzian has one piece of advice: “Stay in the Toronto region. This is where it’s at, and now we’ve got the data that internationally proves that.”

Image courtesy of Free Digital Photos

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