In Canada, we live in an age of technology where we wake up with technology, we spend most of our time at work using technology, and many of us fall asleep next to some form of technology. Yet, we know little about the individuals who contribute to Canadians’ use of technology – Who creates technology? Where do they work? What do they earn?
This January, we’re excited to focus our research on the tech workers that drive Canada’s innovation economy.
Using a new approach that looks at tech skills in jobs across the economy, we deliver a substantive analysis of the importance of, and inclusion, diversity, and equity within, Canada’s tech workforce.
Here are some of the key findings:
One in 20 Canadians worked in a tech occupation
In 2016, one in 20 Canadian workers were in a tech occupation. This amounts to about 1 million people working in tech, for example as engineers, video game designers, and software developers. The key takeaway here is that tech workers can be found in a wide range of industries and regions across the country: from public services in Ottawa to oil fields in Alberta.
Our tech workforce has grown by more than 20 percent in 10 years
180,000 people, or one in five tech workers in Canada, joined the tech workforce in the last 10 years. That’s twice as fast as Canada’s population growth over the same period. This means that tech is growing fast, and is becoming a pervasive force in our economy. As tech continues to grow it is increasingly imperative that we nurture the diverse talent that makes up our tech workforce.
Tech work is everywhere, from Ottawa to Calgary
Though Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Ottawa had the highest number of tech workers, several other cities are home to significant numbers of tech workers. In particular, Fredericton and Kitchener-Waterloo’s tech workforces have grown significantly since 2006. Calgary also had a high concentration of tech workers and, given recent investments in its tech sector, has an opportunity to grow further in the coming years.
Tech workers are highly paid, and highly educated
Tech workers on average earned $27,000 more than non-tech workers, and the majority held at least a Bachelor’s degree. That’s double the share of people with a university degree in Canada. We also saw a large pay premium for tech workers with a university degree compared to tech workers without.
Tech workers are diverse, yet inequities persist
Almost one in three tech workers were immigrants, and the same number belonged to a visible minority group; however, a number of visible minority groups were notably underrepresented, and only one in five tech workers were women. Yet, these groups were consistently paid lower compared to their counterparts – men and non-visible minorities. What this discrepancy highlights is not only a challenge with respect to inclusion and equity within tech but also an opportunity for Canadian decision-makers and tech companies to draw on a broader and more diverse talent pool.