Published: October 1st, 2018
By: Nathalie Guthrie, Director, Human Resources, CENGN
Talent is a crucial source of fuel for Canadian businesses to thrive in the global economy, and this is particularly important when it comes to ICT expertise. According to the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC), firms across all industries are becoming increasingly dependent on ICT workers. In fact, firms in other industries employ more ICT workers than the ICT sector itself. As of 2017, only 40% of ICT professionals were employed directly in the Canadian ICT sector.
This cross-sector reliance on ICT workers will continue to grow as many industries further their digital transformation by embracing new technologies and becoming more connected. We can see this happening in the emergence of smart technologies in traditional industries like agriculture, mining, and healthcare, just to name a few.
One of the key challenges we face in facilitating the mass workplace transformation is ensuring ICT professionals stay in Canada. Over a decade ago when the telecom bubble burst, there was an abundance of very skilled professionals in the tech industry looking for their next opportunity, many moving to the US. We are starting to see our talent pool build back up again with a recent report by CBRE Group Inc. on the top 50 tech markets in North America showing Toronto as the fastest growing tech-jobs market and Ottawa displaying the highest tech-labour concentration. This is great news for the Canadian ecosystem as small to medium enterprises (SMEs) and multinational enterprises alike look to build offices in areas where they have access to a skilled workforce. It will be critical to extend that pool of high quality talent all across Canada.
One key element of CENGN’s mission is to develop talent for the Canadian ICT market. Each year we hire approximately 40 students that are enrolled in colleges and universities across Canada, from the University of Victoria to Dalhousie University. Our student alumni come from our 25 Canadian academic partners, which are some of the most highly recognized post-secondary institutions in Canada. Our engineering students begin their work term by undergoing a four-week networking boot camp that provides them with a foundation of skills as well as exposure to new technologies that they will be applying to different projects throughout their term with us.
The students then have the opportunity to work with leading-edge open source technology, equipment and software from our multinational members and partners as well as our SME customers. The students are challenged to come up with solutions to problems when working with some of the industry’s most innovative technologies. This kind of experience, along with the mentorship they receive, makes CENGN student alumni very marketable to tech companies: our student alumni have a 97% employment rate!
CENGN is also engaged directly with the industry to ensure they have the skills and knowledge on the latest technologies and trends. We work with our members on a wide range of training opportunities, leveraging our deep knowledge on open source, cloud native, and other leading-edge networking technologies. Also, each year we hold several events such as our open source networking meetup, OpenStack meetup, and training workshops to ensure the Canadian ICT ecosystem is remaining relevant in skill level and is proficient in the latest technologies. Stay tuned for further developments in our training program.
It’s fantastic to see an uptick in the Canadian tech labour market and CENGN plans on continuing to play an integral role in continuing to develop ICT talent and skills in Canada. If you’re interested in working with CENGN in this area, we would be thrilled to discuss collaborations – feel free to reach out! See below for upcoming events that CENGN is organizing along with our career opportunities: