12 Sep

What the IT Shortage in Canada Means for Employers

Posted by John Brandwagt

The IT shortage in Canada is no longer a secret—it’s in full swing, and employers are starting to notice the repercussions throughout their businesses. If you’ve had to make a hire in information technology recently, you’ll know exactly how difficult the recruitment process can be and how frustrating it is when ultimately your competitor snatches up the most qualified talent first.

So, aside from a more difficult hiring process, what does the IT shortage in Canada really mean for employers—and how can you navigate the shortage successfully? Keep reading to find out.

What’s Causing the IT Shortage?

The first step to understanding the true repercussions of an IT shortage is learning about why the shortage is happening in the first place. Finding out the source of the problem is one of the best ways to understand what the solutions are.

First off, entirely new innovations are being made in technology that only existed as dreams five years ago—meaning that brand new positions are being created in businesses all the time. Businesses have begun to beef up their tech efforts, and new professionals with the skills to match are needed to fill these new positions.

Unfortunately for employers, the reality of the situation is that supply cannot keep up with demand when it comes to new IT expertise. While technology continues to grow as a popular area of study for candidates entering the workforce, it’s simply not enough to stay on par with the increased need for qualified IT professionals.

The Compromise

So—there’s more tech positions opening up in the business world and not enough talent to fill them. What does this mean for the health of your company?

Some employers have chosen to navigate the IT shortage by compromising on the skills that are needed to do the job right. They have been hiring candidates without the correct credentials or experience, expecting to make up the lacking areas in training and mentorship in the years to come. While ideally this might work a small percentage of the time, the stakes are far too high to make the risk worth it. This strategy can lead to early exits, a mismatch of skills, and an unhappy workforce.

Employers are also choosing to train internally—giving old staff new tasks and new equipment to operate. This technique is certainly a much cheaper option and can be great for eager learners, but you do run the risk of overloading your staff and escalating employee burnout. This, in addition to the aging workforce in Canada, may not be the greatest option for the overall health of your company.

How to Bypass the IT Shortage

The IT shortage in Canada may mean that you’ll need to re-think your recruitment strategies over the coming years. It’s growing harder to just post a job description in hopes that you’ll get a few bites—and you certainly won’t be hearing from the most experienced IT professionals.

One of the best strategies that you can get in the habit of doing is seeking passive candidates in IT. Since they’re so desirable, many IT professionals in Canada already have jobs—but that doesn’t mean they aren’t open to new opportunities if the right offer comes up. These passive candidates have both the experience and the knowledge to get the job done right, so it’s worth taking the extra time to seek them out.

Working with an IT-specific recruitment firm will also give you the results that you want. Not only do they have a network of these passive candidates, they also have a thorough process of skills testing and interviewing to ensure that new recruits are up to standard for your open positions.

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John Brandwagt

John is a Practice Leader at Inteqna. He’s been working in IT Search in Calgary since 1997. He works best with selective job seekers—those who excel at what they do and enjoy their current jobs. Since they don’t have time to look for themselves, he helps them find their dream jobs. From a client perspective, he helps organizations find the talent that will propel their business. John is involved in several of Calgary’s technical user groups and has held board roles in non-profit groups. He is a single dad of four boys who try to beat him at every physical activity from hiking to rugby.

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