Toronto tech jobs in high demand, stigma may deter some candidates

Despite the availability of jobs in engineering and information technology, outdated social stigmas have prevented many students from entering the tech disciplines in secondary education.

The so-called “geek” factor has led to a dearth of qualified candidates for IT jobs in Canada, as the Toronto Star reported that this issue, combined with ignorance about employment opportunities, has led to many tech jobs in Toronto, Ontario, going unfilled.

According to the news source, despite the availability of jobs in engineering and information technology, outdated social stigmas have prevented many students from entering the tech disciplines in secondary education.

This trend may be reversing, however, as there is currently only one qualified recent graduate of a post-secondary program for every seven job openings in the tech sector in the Greater Toronto area, meaning more professionals could be attracted to the field.

A study by the Toronto Regional Research Alliance found that a lack of information regarding this large number of job openings has led more students to pursue degrees in business and health sciences as opposed to engineering and information technology. The Star reported that this lack of knowledge of the job market may begin to change with the publicizing of the dearth of qualified candidates by researchers and employment agencies.

IT jobs “weren’t really discussed even in career class (in high school). Most people were talking about becoming doctors,” Poki Chau, a math and business student at Wilfrid Laurier University, told a conference of employers at the Toronto Board of Trade, according to the news source.

OpenFile Toronto reported that the high wages and job security for positions in the information technology and engineering sectors has been highlighted in recent years, but more Canadians need to be drawn to these industries.

According to the news source, coders, engineers and designers are all in high-demand in the growing Toronto tech sector, and a move to this market could occur in the coming years if the stigma is lifted and the industry is effectively marketed.

The Toronto Star reported that many high school students don’t know which jobs are in demand, as evident from anecdotes at the half-day conference at the Toronto Board of Trade.

“I went to a job fair a few weeks back and most of the employers were interested in students with software, engineering and IT training. It really opened my eyes to how few employers are looking for people like me,” Amanda Wong, a business marketing student at Laurier, told the conference attendees.

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