ICTC’s labour market information provides insights on key considerations like employment by province and sector, unemployment rates, and critical changes and shifts over time. Other data displays employment in top in-demand jobs across the Canadian digital economy, by province, and complements this information with data on average wages per role, GDP, and the overall representation of the digital workforce. More granular and unique data is further available, via a timely and interactive dashboard with essential information about Canadian municipalities. Municipal data includes total digital workforce employment, employment in the top 20 in-demand digital roles, hiring trends over time, average wages, and critical skills per role, the latter incorporating a unique blend of skill frequency and importance.
This exclusive, detailed, and timely data is a critical resource for policymakers to build robust knowledge and expertise on the ever-expanding Canadian digital economy and labour market.
Youth Dividend: Youth Dividend, a part of the Digital Skills for Youth initiative led by Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Canada, is a national program that provides on-the-job skills development and experience in key in-demand digital roles to unemployed or underemployed youth. This program is rooted in research from ICTC’s report, Canada’s Growth Currency: Digital Talent Outlook 2023. Specifically, Youth Dividend leverages this study to identify the most suitable entry-level jobs that are in-demand in the Canadian digital economy. Additional research is completed by ICTC’s research and policy arm, the Digital Think Tank, to further define and articulate the up-to-date critical skills for these occupations. These are then compared to the self-identified skillsets of youth applicants to the program. The “best fit” applicants are selected from hundreds of applications across Canada to participate in the program. This process ensures that the youth work placements are sound, effective, and will offer extensive value to both the youth and their employers.
“Consultations with employers across the digital economy identified a demand for both digital roles and supporting business roles that will guide and shape the country’s economy. The top 15 occupations are: software developers, data scientists, data analysts, UX/UI designers, full stack developers, cybersecurity analysts, DevOps engineers, machine learning engineers, data base administrators, IT support specialists, business development managers [sales], project managers, business analysts, digital marketers, researchers” – Canada’s Growth Currency: Digital Talent Outlook 2023, p. 21
Arrival to Fintech Ready: Arrival to Fintech Ready (AFR) is an Ontario-based program that helps newcomers develop and refine the skills needed for employment in the province’s blockchain and fintech industries. The need for such a program was clearly identified in ICTC’s recent research on the Canadian blockchain ecosystem. The ICTC 2019 report Building Canadian Consensus: Our Maturing Blockchain Ecosystem found that the Canadian blockchain ecosystem comprises over 280 companies and 1,600 workers in key occupations. The study also identified a significant talent gap, suggesting an insufficient volume of skilled workers available to fill in-demand roles, specifically in Ontario.
Seeking to fill this gap and spearhead employment and economic growth in the province, ICTC’s AFR program matches newcomers with opportunities to build top in-demand skills the blockchain and fintech ecosystem. ICTC’s research and policy arm, the Digital Think Tank conducted additional demand-side investigation for this program via interviews with key employers in Ontario. This analysis was then paired with a detailed supply-side analysis of each applicant to the program, assessing existing foundational skills and competencies needed to participate and succeed in the program. Once selected to participate, newcomers are provided with sector-specific training from both ICTC and George Brown College.
“Being the home of Ethereum, Toronto (and Ontario more generally) was characterized by many industry consultants as a centre for fintech experimentation, and government involvement with blockchain…” – Building Canadian Consensus: Our Maturing Blockchain Ecosystem, p.32
“Ontario and British Columbia currently absorb the majority of blockchain workers (nearly 70%)” – Building Canadian Consensus: Our Maturing Blockchain Ecosystem, p.34
EdgeUp: Energy to Digital Growth Education and Upskilling Project (Edge Up) is a first-of-its kind initiative that prepares displaced energy sector workers in Calgary to transition to in-demand jobs in the city’s growing tech sector. To date, the program has successfully transitioned hundreds of energy workers and will continue to serve hundreds more in the coming years.
EdgeUp and its components were born out of ICTC’s evidence-based research. In 2018, ICTC’s Digital Think Tank in partnership with Calgary Economic Development, conducted groundbreaking research on Calgary’s tech sector and energy workers. The report Mapping Calgary’s Digital Future: Tech Employment Opportunities for Displaced Workers showcases skill mapping pathways for a core set of displaced energy sector workers to in-demand tech jobs. Representing the first instance of “skills mapping” pathways for displaced workers in Canada, this research identified not just the “best fit” tech occupations for transitioning energy workers but articulated additional essential points, including the “degree” of the fit, specific skill matches, skill gaps, and short duration training available in Calgary to fill skill gaps.
This research was also leveraged to develop an interactive web tool for Calgary’s energy workers seeking to make the transition to tech.
Go Talent: Go Talent is a program that seeks to support the growth and success of the digital economy by helping businesses find digital talent. Numerous ICTC research has identified that the demand for talent in the digital economy far exceeds available supply. ICTC’s most recent Outlook report, Onwards and Upwards: Digital Talent Outlook 2025, identifies a demand for 250,000 new jobs across the Canadian digital economy by 2025. All supply streams, including youth, underrepresented groups, career transitioners, and newcomers will be needed to fill this demand. Furthermore, according to ICTC’s report Canada’s Growth Currency: Digital Talent Outlook 2023, newcomers are seen by employers as an important source of talent for all sectors in Canada—but especially the digital economy. In fact, in 2018, roughly two in five workers in tech roles were born outside of Canada. Go Talent fills a critical labour market need by matching digitally skilled newcomers with Canadian digital economy employers seeking talent.
“In 2018…nearly 50% of information systems analysts [were born outside of Canada]. [For software developers] this was more than 70%” – Canada’s Growth Currency: Digital Talent Outlook 2023, p. 46
CyberTitan: CyberTitan is a national educational initiative that brings together youth from all provinces and territories, and helps them develop cybersecurity skills. It includes an annual cybersecurity skills competition that has Canadian middle and secondary school youth test their critical thinking, problem solving, and teamwork skills while building critical knowledge on cybersecurity and risk assessment.
Cybersecurity is a core area of the Canadian digital economy that is experiencing ballooning demand for talent. ICTC’s most recent Outlook report, Onwards and Upwards: Digital Talent Outlook 2025, identifies cybersecurity professionals, including cybersecurity analysts, to be in high demand and increasingly necessary across all industries. Moreover, ICTC research on the demand for cybersecurity talent in New Brunswick found that two-thirds of employers reported a cybersecurity talent shortage in 2020. Moreover, roughly one-third of employers cited significant challenges in hiring cybersecurity of all experience levels. Many employers said new graduates lacked a clear career path in cybersecurity. This makes hands-on experience, like that provided via CyberTitan, critical to building skills and informing about employment pathways.
“A third of [survey] respondents [highlighted] early education programs such as CyberTitan can help inspire and attract youth to the field.” – Searching for Hidden Talent: Experience and Expertise in Bew Brunswick’s Cybersecurity Community, p. 12
WIL Digital: ICTC’s WIL Digital is a work-integrated learning program that benefits employers and post-secondary students. Under this program, Canadian digital economy employers receive wage subsidies to hire students for in-demand roles. This helps businesses grow, generate new and innovative ideas, and build their talent pipeline. Likewise, post-secondary students gain access to on-the-job experience in key occupations of interest, which allows them to apply concepts, further refine their technical skills, and build core and in-demand human skills needed to navigate the modern workplace.
Work-integrated learning has been identified by ICTC research as critical for new workplace entrants. In fact, the importance of work-integrated learning was highlighted by employers on a national basis across the digital economy, regionally, and in specific high-growth industries like creative technology, additive manufacturing, and AI.
In 2021, ICTC expanded its work-integrated-learning research beyond highlighting its intrinsic value to quantifying it. Research conducted by ICTC in partnership with Magnet and Orbis found that the economic value of work-integrated learning programs (and namely Employment and Social Development Canada’s Student Work Placement Program) far exceeds the investment.
Work-integrated learning is essential to equipping industry with the talent and skills they need to grow their business while providing high-value work experience to youth, which helps them hit the ground running in their careers upon graduation.
DEEP: Digital Equity and Employability Pathways (DEEP) is a skills development program that works with underrepresented groups across Canada to upskill and train them for in-demand roles in the digital economy. Delivered in partnership with Microsoft Canada, DEEP provides training pathways that are specifically tailored to meet the needs of a core set of in-demand roles identified by ICTC’s research.
Moreover, ICTC research identifies the need for programs like DEEP, especially in the post-pandemic future. ICTC’s recent Outlook report Onwards and Upwards: Digital Talent Outlook 2025 finds that although the digital economy surged during the pandemic, underrepresented groups were particularly hard-hit. The pandemic has impacted women, younger workers, those with less formal education, racialized Canadians, and Indigenous peoples more severely than the general population, creating adverse employment outcomes. In fact, by summer 2021, employment among Canada’s highest wage workers was 3% above pre-pandemic levels, whereas employment among the lowest-wage workers was nearly 20% below pre-pandemic levels. Avoiding a “k-shaped recovery” (where different communities experience different rates of recovery after a recession) requires an equitable focus on upskilling and training.
“While a broad and sustained reopening of the economy should help reduce some of these adverse effects, ensuring that Canada’s economic recover is sustainable and inclusive will require investment in skills development, digitization, and programs aimed at driving inclusive and equitable innovation.” – Onwards and Upwards: Digital Talent Outlook 2025, p.21
FIT: Focus on Information Technology (FIT) is certificate program that provides IT skills pathways for middle school and secondary school students. Ultimately, FIT trains students from an early age to become aware of the opportunities in Canada’s digital economy and chart further educational pathways in STEM fields.
The importance of engaging youth and building awareness of the opportunities in Canada’s digital economy is supported by various ICTC research studies. Beyond building awareness and knowledge, early ICT education can also help students develop a robust roster of skill sets to effectively navigate post-secondary education and, eventually, the workforce. According ICTC’s report Class, Take Out Your Tablets, over three-quarters of parents of school-aged children believed that introducing technology in everyday teaching is critical to helping their children develop the skills needed for future success.
Further research by ICTC on educational technology finds that in addition to building the blocks for future success, technology helps students develop “future ready skills.” The ICTC report 21st Century Digital Skills: Competencies, Innovations and Curriculum in Canada identifies that introducing technology into the classroom and providing technology education from an early age helps children develop core success skills beyond the purely technical. Such skills include critical thinking, communication, adaptability, creativity, knowledge of digital citizenship, data management, and even financial literacy.
“For students, an increasingly unpredictable future… will require both broad competencies and literacies as well as a mixture of technical and digital skills to keep pace with a rapidly changing world.” – 21st Century Digital Skill: Competencies, Innovations and Curriculum in Canada, p. 45
TADE: Talent Acquisition for the Digital Economy (TADE) provides companies in Alberta with key insights and tools to improve hiring strategies, ramp up digital capabilities, and source the talent needed to grow and expand their businesses. The components of TADE include HR toolkits and workshops, candidate assessment tools, and access to best practices that engage a diverse workforce.
ICTC’s research has identified a strong demand for talent across the Alberta digital economy. In fact, ICTC’s recent Outlook report, Onwards and Upwards: Digital Talent Outlook, finds that Alberta will continue to experience increasing employment in its digital economy, reaching 203,000 workers by 2025. As the demand for talent in the province’s digital economy continues to scale, however, the core challenge will become access to talent. This challenge is two-fold: volume (number of skilled workers) and access (ability to source skilled workers). Recent research by ICTC in Alberta found that people with disabilities are a potentially key and untapped labour supply for in-demand jobs in the digital economy. Yet, employers admitted to having little to no knowledge of how to engage with and recruit people with disabilities. ICTC research identified similar issues in other provinces related to engaging other underrepresented groups like Indigenous peoples and newcomers.
Resources such as those offered by TADE can help bridge the knowledge gap needed to source talent, build stronger connections among employers and workers, and help digital economy businesses develop a skilled and diverse workforce.