President & CEO, TECHNATION
The Canadian tech skills marketplace is changing. There’s a lot of opportunity, but with innovation proceeding at a dizzying rate across all industries, workers and employers alike need help hitting a moving target.
In a rapidly-evolving tech marketplace, understanding business needs and matching them with up-to-date skills is a Herculean challenge, especially in specialized fields like cybersecurity. This is a global phenomenon, but Canadian needs are uniquely complicated, with small- and medium-sized businesses heavily outnumbering large enterprises. In such a decentralized marketplace, it can be a full-time job just keeping track of the skills in demand and the opportunities available. Thankfully, Canadians can rely on TECHNATION.
TECHNATION is Canada’s leading national technology industry association. It collaborates with businesses, educational institutions, workers, and government agencies to ensure that Canada’s tech workforce is connected, agile, resilient, optimally trained, and properly utilized. And, as TECHNATION President and CEO Angela Mondou explains, that means talking about a lot more than just traditional hard tech jobs, even in the sophisticated and fast-paced world of cybersecurity.
“The cybersecurity need isn’t limited to pure tech skills,” says Mondou. “Companies also need hybrid roles, which include cybersecurity project managers and analysts, to name a few. TECHNATION’s Career Ready Program, funded by the Government of Canada’s Student Work Placement Program, play a huge role in helping youth to realize pathways into careers in tech, particularly in cybersecurity, where there’s a lack of understanding as to what positions in that field might include. Reskilling is also particularly important to keep economically-impacted sectors viable and secure.”
The Career Ready Program saw a 15 percent national increase in demand for cybersecurity-based work terms during the pandemic, and employers can receive a $7,500 wage subsidy for each student they hire. The number of successful student work placements through the program continues to rise.
Steady and increasing demand from Canadian employers
As part of the Career Ready Program, TECHNATION has developed an AI-driven labour market tool in CareerFinder, which collates and analyzes real-time data to provide predictive guidance on changing workforce needs. Since its debut last year, CareerFinder has reported a daily cybersecurity job shortage of 8,000 to 10,000 jobs in Canada. Filling these positions is both an economic opportunity and a security necessity.
“It’s clear that the rapid pace of cyberattacks and the shortage of trained cybersecurity professionals are growing challenges in Canada,” says Mondou. “Canadian governments and municipalities are increasingly the target of hackers and, with the pandemic, there has been an increase in ransomware attacks due to people working from home. There are not nearly enough skilled graduates from post-secondary institutions or cybersecurity training programs to keep up with the steady and increasing demand from Canadian employers.”
The educational and training element must be at the heart of any roadmap to a stronger and more secure tech sector in Canada. Fortunately, strengthening connections between different worlds like industry and academia is exactly what TECHNATION does best.
“TECHNATION is a leading collaborator in the Canadian cybersecurity ecosystem,” says Charles Finlay, Founding Executive Director of the Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst at Ryerson University. “They work closely and very effectively with a wide variety of stakeholders like the Catalyst to advance training programming, and they are well-known for their work in identifying cybersecurity employment needs across Canada. They’re tackling that very effectively through their CareerFinder, skills frameworks, advisory groups, and many other programs. The Catalyst is proud to collaborate closely with TECHNATION and they’re an important part of our mission. Angela in particular deserves a shout out as a very effective leader in cybersecurity.”
Securing an innovative future for Canada in the worldwide tech ecosystem is big work, and there are a lot of moving pieces. With partners like TECHNATION guiding our efforts, however, Canada has all the makings of a clear global leader in cybersecurity and the future of tech.