Who are Canada’s tech workers?

Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship releases new report on Canada's tech workforce and the opportunities that exist for its continued growth
January 23, 2019
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Toronto, 22 JANUARY, 2019 — Canada’s economy is currently benefiting from a vibrant, diverse and growing group of tech workers. However, new research from the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship (BII+E) indicates that inequities continue to persist, preventing Canada’s tech sector from harnessing the potential of its workforce.

Who are Canada’s Tech Workers? provides a deep dive into the country’s growing base of tech talent, highlighting who tech workers are, where they work, and what they earn, as well as which demographic groups are underrepresented in tech occupations. The report reveals that Canada has added 183,000 tech workers since 2006 and is expected to grow by another 189,000 by 2026. As the lines between tech and the rest of the economy continue to blur and tech skills become more relevant across all industries, Canada has an opportunity to draw from a wider pool of potential talent that is more reflective of the nation’s diversity.

“Canada’s tech sector is a key driver of innovation and economic growth,” said Sean Mullin, Executive Director at the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship. “However, it is our responsibility to ensure that this growth is broadly shared and that the vast potential of our growing base of talent is able to access top tech occupations and industries. Creating spaces in which people are encouraged to participate and advance in tech jobs, regardless of who they are or where they live, will not only promote greater equality but help Canada’s companies succeed.”

Report Key Findings:

  • 935,000 Canadians are employed in tech jobs, which make up 5.1% of the total labour force.
    Tech workers earn more than non-tech workers—ranging from $21,000 for digital jobs to $45,000 more for high-tech jobs.
  • Men are four times more likely than women to work in tech jobs and earn an average of $7,460 more than their female counterparts. The pay gap rises to $19,570 when comparing women and men with a Bachelor’s degree or higher.
  • Visible minority groups in tech occupations earn an average of $3,100 less than their non-visible minority counterparts. Black tech workers were the lowest paid, with an average pay that was nearly $19,000 less than non-visible minorities in tech occupations.
  • Within every visible and non-visible minority group, female tech workers receive lower compensation on average than their male counterparts.
  • 32.5% of Canada’s tech workforce are immigrants. Immigrants are twice as likely to work in tech jobs compared with non-immigrants.
  • Only 1.2% of tech jobs are occupied by people from Indigenous groups, who also earn less than their non-Aboriginal counterparts—ranging from $35,000 lower for Inuit tech workers to $5,400 lower for individuals identifying as Métis.
  • Of cities across the Country, Toronto has the largest number of tech workers (with 238,000), followed by Montréal (140,000), Vancouver (82,000), Ottawa (69,000), and Calgary (63,000).

All of the data provided in the report is publicly available, including an interactive data visualization that allows readers to explore how their city or region stacks up to others across Canada when it comes to tech talent and diversity. The report uses a unique methodology that builds upon research conducted as part of the State of the Tech Sector, 2016 report.

The Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship is an independent and nonpartisan policy institute, housed within Ryerson University, that is dedicated to building a prosperous Canada where everyone has the opportunity to thrive due to an inclusive and resilient economy. BII+E generates far-sighted insights and stimulates new thinking to advance actionable innovation policy in Canada. For more information, visit brookfieldinstitute.ca.

Ryerson University is Canada’s leader in innovative, career-oriented education. Urban, culturally diverse and inclusive, the university is home to more than 44,600 students, including 2,600 master’s and PhD students, 3,100 faculty and staff, and nearly 188,000 alumni worldwide. For more information, visit ryerson.ca.