The iT Skills Gap
Despite continued growth in the iT sector, enterprises that rely on technology are experiencing significant challenges, such as project delays, lost sales and postponed product launches, because of a shortage of skilled workers.
This phenomenon is known as the "skills gap" - and has been cited as one of the most critical issues facing the iT sector today. In fact, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates recently said, in a speech he delivered at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, that due to the iT labour shortage in North America, his company and other software firms are forced to look to developing countries to find high-tech professionals.
Why does this skills gap exist? The problem is caused partly by the fact that technology continuously changes. With each new innovation, the iT industry requires workers with updated knowledge to support the never-ending advancements. At the same time, North America is currently witnessing the aging of the baby boom generation. Thousands of iT professionals are starting to retire, forcing employers to fill many vacant positions.
As a result of these trends, the Information and Communications Technology Council of Canada (ICTC) continues to observe an annual shortfall of candidates for approximately 27,000 full-time iT jobs. Some industry analysts suggest that by 2016, we'll be short by one million skilled workers.
The bottom line: industry experts warn there's no end in sight to the skills gap, and employers will continue to struggle to recruit talented workers over the coming decades.