A new research paper by the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) has found that by 2019 there will be as many as 182,000 high-paying technology jobs up for grabs in Canada. Unfortunately, the research paper also found that the country’s school systems aren’t producing enough high technology expertise to fill those positions.
ICTC was founded in 1992 to research issues and lobby on behalf of Canada’s technology industry. The 51-page research paper called Digital Talent: Road to 2020 was made by teaming up with Microsoft Corp. and dozens of other corporations and public institutions, including the Ottawa Catholic School Board.
The paper urges the federal government to create and implement a nationwide “Digital Talent Strategy” aimed at encouraging more Canadian youth to pursue studies in information and communications technologies.
The research found that there are 877,470 people working in information and communications technology jobs in Canada out of which over 43 per cent of all technology workers are employed in the professional and technical services industry. A significant number are also employed in health care, the public sector and manufacturing.
Despite these jobs being both stable and high paying, not enough Canadians are pursuing education in technology-related fields. In 2015, 12,800 students graduated from Canadian universities with degrees in information and communications technology-related studies.
The paper outlines that at least 182,000 information and communications technology jobs will be available by 2019, with another 32,000 available by 2020. Depending on how rapidly emerging areas such as virtual reality, robotics, cyber-security and advanced manufacturing (including 3D printing technologies) expand, those numbers could see an increase.
The report also found that only six per cent of the 2.21 million Canadians enrolled in post-secondary institutions are enrolled in programs that will help them land a job in the technology sector.
The research paper came out just two days after the Entertainment Software Association of Canada’s (ESAC) released a report urging the federal government to create a national plan to better prepare Canada’s students for careers in the growing technology sector.
According to the ICTC, more minorities, disabled people, females and the youth population in general, needs encouragement to pursue careers in information and communication technology related fields. Children should also be introduced to computer science and coding as early as five years old.
Recent studies suggest students are less likely to continue in computer and science courses as they age, so introducing them to these courses earlier and continuing them throughout elementary and secondary schools as part of a regular curriculum could help maintain interest in more students.
ICTC is urging the federal government to make computer science mandatory for children from kindergarten.
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