Tech labour shortage leads to funding for workforce training and digitalization
A shortage in the information and communications technology (ICT) workforce directly impacts the growth of innovative companies throughout the world. Due to current and historic shortages of skilled ICT labour in Canada, the country has been slower than average at adopting new technologies.
However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada’s business community as well as its governments have developed a greater need for digitalization, quickly integrating digital tools and solutions into their operations as rapid adaptivity became necessary.
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With a significant portion of the workforce transitioning to remote work and many consumers switching to online purchasing, businesses and organizations had no choice but to embrace digital adoption. Digitalization has become critical to keeping employees connected and businesses operational throughout the pandemic.
In addition to a rapid need for digitalization emerging from the pandemic, more companies are realizing that digital adoption leads to higher growth and profitability overall. Companies embracing digital transformation over the last decade grew by 22.1%, while those slower to adopt technology only grew by 6.3%.
64,200 new tech jobs to be available by 2028
Canada’s relatively small population, combined with a huge uptick in the need for ICT workers, has resulted in scarcity in the tech employment sector, specifically software engineers and developers. It is predicted that from now to 2028, 64,200 new job opening will be available in Canada for software developers. Immigration Canada currently ranks technology and engineering at the top of its most in-demand job categories, with software developer listed as the number one sub-category.
To help fill the ICT labour gap, the Canadian Express Entry system allows qualified immigrants to apply for permanent residence in Canada, with many being granted entry in as little as 6 months.
In addition to this immigration program, several funding programs have been launched to help companies hire and train employees that will help them adopt and implement technology more rapidly. These include:
The Capacity Building program
This program Is geared toward helping employers, educators, learning and development technology companies, and community organizations upskill into digital technology jobs and support growth in digital products and services. The program co-invests in projects that help Canadians develop the skills, leadership, and opportunities needed to grow innovative digital enterprises.
This funding is applicable to agriculture, agri-food and farming, healthcare and life sciences, and technology (IT) and digital media organizations. The maximum amount per applicant is $4 million, and companies of all sizes can apply.
TechBlazer Business Loan
This program helps Alberta businesses get financed for integrating new hardware and software, developing new products and markets, and/or training staff in new techniques or equipment. The maximum amount per applicant is $150 thousand.
Digital Equity and Employability Pathways (DEEP)
This national program aims to matched trained and upskilled ICT employees with employers looking to fill skilled technology roles. The maximum amount per applicant is $12 thousand and the program applies to companies of all sizes.