Jobs Galore in BC Technology Industry, but Talent Shortage Threatens Growth

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British Columbia's growing technology industry will offer thousands of new jobs in the upcoming year, but will have a hard time filling them if serious skill shortages are not addressed, a new report says. The study, TechTalentBC: Labour Trends in the British Columbia Technology Sector points out that the technology industry, which employs approximately 65,000 workers today, forecasts adding 15% more employees in the upcoming year and shows no indication of slowing down.

BC's growing technology industry will offer thousands of new jobs in the upcoming year, but will have a hard time filling them if serious skill shortages are not addressed, a new report from the British Columbia Technology Industry Association (BCTIA) says.

The study, TechTalentBC: Labour Trends in the British Columbia Technology Sector points out that the technology industry, which employs approximately 65,000 workers today, forecasts adding 15% more employees in the upcoming year and shows no indication of slowing down. At this anticipated rate of growth the industry headcount would double to more than 130,000 employees by 2010.

The study of 146 small, medium and large companies across all technology sectors in BC - 10% of the technology workforce -- and selected focus group research, extrapolated data to show that more than 9,000 new jobs are targeted to be filled in the upcoming year.

The study indicates growth is across all job categories but that certain job categories are expected to grow at an even greater rate than 15%. The most urgent need is for experienced people with strong interpersonal skills to fill customer-facing jobs in sales, marketing and technical support roles. In addition, specialized management skills are needed to fill product manager, program manager and general management roles. The results of the study found that by September of this year, BC's technology industry is forecasting a need for:

  • More than 1,400 marketing and sales professionals
  • 500 technical managers (program and product managers)
  • 800 technical support personnel
  • Over 500 entry level positions in software, hardware/software testing, and general engineering

While highlighting the industry's anticipated job and revenue growth, the study did point out that storm clouds are gathering on the horizon as the serious lack of skilled labour will hamper the industry's future growth. Access to the right kind of talent is important as it enables the tech industry to progress beyond an industry of start-ups and into an industry of mature head-office companies.

"Overall, it appears that the BC technology industry is at a critical juncture" the report said. "The technology labour pool is tightening, industry headcount is at a peak level, and the companies in BC are very bullish about prospects and demand for talent over the next year." The BCTIA is suggesting a two-pronged approach to meet this looming labour shortage. It recommends stepping up recruitment of talent from outside the province, and developing initiatives to grow the required talent in BC through specialized education and training programs.

"The anticipated revenue and job growth as evidenced in this study shows that BC's technology industry is positioned to be a significant economic growth engine for our province," said BCTIA President Rob Cruickshank. "BC technology companies are poised for continued rapid growth and if they are to continue down this path, it is imperative that we address this growth crippling talent shortage today."

In the upcoming months the BCTIA will be working with its members, key industry stakeholders and all levels of government to identify and implement practical solutions to address this critical issue.

For a copy of the TechtalentBC: Labour Trends in the British Columbia Technology Sector study visit http://www.bctia.org/Knowledge/Publications/

About BCTIA

BC Technology Industry Association (BCTIA) is a not-for-profit, member-funded organization that represents start-ups to established technology companies, across the province. Incorporated in 1993, the BCTIA has served the province's technology industry for over a decade and today is recognized locally, provincially and nationally as the voice of BC's technology industry. As the voice of BC's technology industry, BCTIA is committed to the ongoing growth, sustainability and prosperity of BC's technology industry. The Association delivers opportunities for members to connect, learn and grow their businesses in BC. For more information visit http://www.bctia.org.

For more information, contact:

Catherine Ducharme

(604) 813-6104

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