Canada: Continued Growth Projected in Information and Communications Technologies Industry

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Canada’s information and communications technologies (ICT) industry is home to over 33,000 companies with revenues of $155 billion. The ICT industry contributed $69.3 billion to the Canadian GDP in 2013, an increase of one billion compared to 2012. The sector projects further growth.

The industry accounts for more than 3 percent of total employment, and this number is also growing. In fact, one in seven of all jobs created in 2013 were in the ICT professions. In 2013, there were 788,000 ICT professionals employed in Canada which was an increase in 32,000 employees as compared to 2012. The national average ICT salary is $72,000, which is up from $67,000 in 2010, and 33 percent higher than the average salary in all jobs combined. On average, women earn 91 percent the salary of their male peers, a ten percent increase over the 81 percent women currently earn in the overall Canadian workforce compared to male earnings.

ICT professionals are employed across all sectors of the Canadian economy to increase productivity and efficiency of other workers. 45 percent of ICT professionals in Canada are employed in Canada’s ICT sector while 55 percent are employed in all other sectors, including business services, financial services, and healthcare. The diversity of ICT professional positions is a leading indicator that ICT skills will continue to play a role in the Canadian labor market and fuel its growth.

The ICT sector in Canada has a deficit of workers for the positions open, and the number of job openings will grow to 106,000 in 2016. One reason for this deficit is that there are not enough graduates with STEM degrees or qualifications to grow the talent pool. Some ways the ICT sector is looking to boost ICT professionals in the long- and short-term are through increasing interest among students at schools as well as encouraging the immigration of ICT talent to Canada.

Overall, small businesses lead the ICT sector; more than 78 percent of ICT firms have fewer than ten employees. However, the largest 100 ICT companies account for almost half of industry employment. Canadian-owned communications service providers, including BCE, Rogers Communications, TELUS, and others account for a significant share of this employment.

Canada does have problems when it comes to the ICT industry due to its declining innovation metrics. Recent research suggests that small- and medium-sized businesses are low adopters of emerging technologies, including mobile platforms, cloud computing, and supply chain apps. Work is being done to change this so that Canada can remain globally competitive.

Though Canada’s innovations have been in decline, the number of people employed in Canada’s apps economy has grown to over 64,000 individuals and is projected to increase to over 110,000 workers by 2019. The development of apps has grown by nearly 25 percent since the first research report released in fall 2012, and businesses who work on developing apps are generating $1.7 billion in revenue per year, a number that is expected to reach $5.2 billion by 2019. Ontario and Quebec are centers for app-creation.

Like in Canada’s ICT sector overall, the key challenge in Canada’s app economy is finding qualified talent. 57 percent of employers cite that they are concerned or very concerned about finding qualified workers. An additional challenge is access to capital.