Inside the iT Sector
Information technology ("iT") is a major player in the Canadian economy - in fact, it's been described as the number one contributor to Canada's productivity.
The sector itself comprises 32,000 companies whose core business is iT. These are firms that make, sell or service iT products - telecommunications, computer equipment manufacturing, Internet offerings, software publishers, environmental technologies and so on.
But that's only part of the iT story. Technology departments also exist within non-iT companies, from banks to retailers to energy firms. Most companies today have iT departments responsible for (i) developing technologies for use by customers, and/or (ii) managing the computers, networks and technical aspects of their businesses. Discover more in iT is Everywhere!
iT is a great place to be if you're looking for a job
iT careers are among the fastest growing and the market continues to expand. Consider these facts :
- Workforce at historic high: More than 640,000 people worked in Canada's iT sector in 2008, which is an historic high.
- Low unemployment rate: At slightly over 2%, the unemployment rate for iT jobs has been well below the national average for all occupations in the Canadian economy.
- High job growth: Jobs in iT have increased by 2.5% per year since 2000, which is much better than overall employment growth in the economy.
- Workers needed well into the future: The future for job seekers looks good too. In a study released in October 2008, the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) projected that:
Canadian employers will need to recruit between 126,400 and 178,800 iT workers between 2008 and 2015, an average of roughly 15,000-22,000 jobs per year.1
The reality today is that companies are suffering from a shortage of skilled iT workers and expected retirements and growth in the sector will only add to the problem. Learn more about The iT Skills Gap.
Constant innovation and change = OPPORTUNITY
It's an understatement to say that the iT sector is all about change. Change happens at a head-spinning rate. The must-have device today is old news tomorrow. Innovation is the basis of this dynamic industry, partnered with the drive to help businesses, governments and individuals use technology to do more, faster and more easily.
And change comes in many forms. iT professionals who are excited by the latest technologies and enjoy being part of this ongoing transformation can find opportunities with each new development. For many iT professionals, the opportunity to learn new technical skills, move into new areas and challenge themselves is a key part of the attraction of working in iT.
Even when companies operate in challenging economic conditions, industry observers predict that they will continue to invest in new technologies to improve business applications, reduce risk or better compete for customers. As well, business leaders will count on technology to cut costs by streamlining processes and creating new efficiencies.
With computing technology ingrained in almost every aspect of modern life, and businesses heavily invested in computer systems that require constant maintenance or replacement - there's little doubt that the iT sector offers strong career opportunities for years to come.
|Snapshot of iT workers
- 95% work full-time - most iT positions are full-time jobs
- 75% are well-educated - more than three-quarters of iT workers have post-secondary education (college and/or university)
- Wages are 45% higher - average wages are 45% above the Canadian average
- 38.5 is average age - this is younger than the average for the labour force as a whole (41.2), however the average age has been rising in recent years
- 31-40 hour work weeks - the regular workweek (excluding overtime) is 31 to 40 hours for most iT workers (84%), with just 9% indicating they work more than 40 hours
- 86% are city dwellers - while work opportunities are spread across the country, 86% of iT workers live in Canada's five largest cities.
Sources: Information and Communications Technology Council of Canada, Information Technology Association of Canada
1Information and Communications Technology Council of Canada, Analysis of labour force survey data for the information technology occupations 2000-2007 (March 2008)