Foreign Talent Gap Putting Pressure on Canada, Report Reveals

Canadian companies are facing less of a talent shortage than their counterparts in other countries, according to a new survey by financial services firm Deloitte. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a big problem.

The “increased pressure for talent in our market” remains the biggest IT challenge for Canadian business, Cielito Ward, a partner at Deloitte focused on technology strategy in the financial industry, said in the report.

The survey, which looks at the attitudes of IT leaders, like chief information officers, in the public and private sector, was released last

While Canadian respondents were less likely to “have talent gaps in technology, strategy and architecture” and have fewer problems when it comes to recruiting, the shortages in other countries are having a ripple effect here.

“Canada has typically produced high quality, talented individuals and demand for those individuals is now coming from all over the world, globalization is increasing the need for talent,” he said.

Globally, 58 per cent of private sector respondents said they had trouble recruiting talent, while 49 per cent of public sector respondents said the same thing.

43 per cent of private sector firms said their biggest skills gap was in business analysis, with 42 per cent of public sector respondents saying the same thing. In the public sector, the skills gap in technology, strategy and architecture was almost as big a problem, with 41 per cent of respondents saying they skills gaps in that area, compared to 28 per cent of private sector respondents.

One thing Ward recommends companies do, when they’re trying to attract top employees is “sourcing” rather than strictly recruiting.

“There’s a lot of opportunity to seek out individuals earlier in their careers,” he said. “Pre-identifying individuals brings the best talent into individual organizations.”

The report also found that Canadian companies are more likely to adopt public cloud than companies in other countries. And that could give Canadian firms an advantage, the survey found that the average IT department, worldwide, plans to spend 60 per cent of its budget on maintaining “business as usual,” instead of exploring new capabilities that could help drive business.

When it comes to innovation, the report recommends that CIOs, even in organizations that aren’t necessarily the most innovative, should be pushing their companies to adopt innovative technologies.

 “Canada’s got a great history of creating innovative technologies,” said Terry Stuart, Deloitte Canada’s chief innovation officer, in the report. “However our actual corporate adoption is a bit slower than some of our colleagues like the U.S.”

He said CIOs should take a more active roles in their companies promoting new technologies and strategies—especially when those new technologies are coming out of Canadian startups.

“We’re talking about exponential technologies and exponential business models that are going to change and disrupt a number of business,” he said. “Companies that aren’t thinking about those kinds of capabilities and how they apply to their organization put themselves at risk of actually being disrupted by others.”