1. Series Introduction and Building Your IT Career in Canada
2. The IT Job Market in Canada
3. Professional Credential Evaluation First Step
4. How’s Your Spoken English?
Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and many other giant American IT firms continue to expand their operations in Canada. Google alone confirmed it will be hiring 5,000 employees by
2022 across its new offices in Toronto, Waterloo and Montreal. Canadian IT firms such as Shopify, Open Text and Hootsuite are also struggling to recruit enough skilled IT workers needed for them to expand and grow their operations. In the major cities in Canada, a tech boom is happening and there are a reported 200,000 skilled IT jobs needing to be filled over the next few years. Therefore, efforts are being made by the Canadian government to make it much easier for IT firms to recruit highly skilled IT workers from all over the world.
In June 2017, Canada launched the Global Talent Stream, which reduces visa application times from 10 months to two weeks in a variety of IT and STEM-related fields, such as computer engineering and digital media design. The Canadian government said that between the program’s launch and January 2019, more than 1,000 technology companies have used this program to hire more than 4,000 foreign workers. Angela Mondou, President and CEO of the Information Technology Association of Canada has seen both Canadian and American owned IT companies benefit from this program, “We definitely have talent coming into Canada,” she says. “It’s becoming a really exciting ecosystem, though we’re still working hard as a nation to maintain and attract people.”
This initiative was necessary as Canada’s digital economy is growing much faster than the rest of the economy and is already bigger than the staple industries such as mining, forestry and oil and gas. Statistics Canada recently announced that the digital job market in Canada is growing faster than all the others. Its job market grew by 37 percent between 2010 and 2017. That compares to 8.6 percent growth in the rest of the economy over that period. In addition, wages are also growing at an accelerated pace. Hourly pay was up 4.3 percent in September from a year earlier, accelerating from a 3.7 percent pace in August. The last few months have seen the strongest year-over-year increases in pay in a decade.
The shortage of IT workers in Canada is projected to worsen as the expansion of the IT industry continues to grow. In a recent CNBC article, Clay Kellogg, CEO of Terminal, a San Francisco-based company that develops tech hubs across the world explains why more and more American IT firms are expanding operations into Canada. “Canada is convenient,” says Kellogg. “There’s a limited language barrier, there’s time zone alignment, and it is progressive as it relates to the immigration, and that’s attractive to companies.” He sees different advantages for each of the major Canadian cities. Kellogg explains “Toronto’s tech scene is broad-based, while Montreal has more expertise in artificial intelligence and machine learning, and Vancouver’s proximity to Seattle and San Francisco — a three-and-a-half-hour drive and two-and-a-half-hour flight, respectively — makes it an easy destination for many West Coast tech operations.”
Kari Karlsbjerg and Elaine Chu are authors of the best-selling bilingual guidebook, Everyday Vancouver, which contains all the practical cultural information and resources Korean newcomers need for life in Vancouver, Canada.