Careers in Tech: The Case for Optimism in Uncertain Times
We have all seen the worrying headlines about tech-sector job losses in recent months, which have contributed to insecurity and anxiety for those working in the digital sector. Despite some of these large-scale layoffs, NPower Canada continues to support job-seekers to find meaningful and sustainable digital careers yet, we know that it can seem like a daunting time to be entering the tech industry.
At NPower Canada, we partner with companies of all sectors and sizes, and based on research we have conducted with RBC, we have learned that “every company is a tech company,” with businesses across industries requiring digitally-skilled employees. By purposefully designing our program to cultivate well-rounded employees with the foundational skills to thrive in any industry, we have ensured that our strategy is resilient to economic fluctuations. We have seen positive growth for tech roles across industries and continue to place over 80% of our graduates into these tech roles.
In this article, I will shed light on the bigger picture, and demonstrate that many companies are still actively hiring tech talent. By preparing our job-seekers for tech roles in a variety of industries through a holistic workforce development strategy, we can be assured that even when one industry experiences an economic downturn, our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and tools to be successful in the short and long term.
A closer look at the data
While we have seen a number of tech businesses downsizing, conducting layoffs, and experiencing hiring freezes, tech-sector layoffs are not happening across the board. In fact, as of Fall 2022, industry observers continued to characterize the Canadian tech sector as a “jobseekers’ market,” reporting relatively high average annual salary growth of $8,000 and describing efforts undertaken by employers, such as offering flexible work arrangements, to attract and retain talent.
Often, negative headlines are intentionally anxiety-inducing to grab our attention. When we look more closely at the data, in the past month, while there were 1.3 million layoffs in the US, that represents only 0.9% of employed individuals, which is historically lower than in previous years. Additionally, in Canada, the unemployment rate in November 2022 actually declined by 0.1%, with the employment rate among core-age women reaching a new record high of 81.6%.
Digital Careers Exist in Every Sector
During the pandemic, acceleration and digitization occurred at an unprecedented rate. As a result, almost overnight, every company became a tech company. Employees are expected to have at least base-line digital skills, and most companies need talent with further expertise to help them keep up with ongoing digital transformation. Tech is no longer an isolated field, and while some recent downsizing has occurred in parts of the tech industry, we are not seeing the same signs for tech or digitally-enabled roles across the board.
Recently, Statistics Canada released their latest report on payroll employment, earnings and hours, and job vacancies for August 2022. The report shows that employment continues to increase in professional, scientific, and technical services, with more gains concentrated in computer systems design and related services.
At NPower Canada, we prepare our participants for tech roles in a range of industries. More than 80% of our graduates have secured meaningful tech employment in sectors such as Telecommunications, Financial Services, Business Process Outsourcing, Professional Services and Healthcare.
Our core programs equip participants with foundational tech skills valuable to any company, and they have the opportunity to build on these skills through our alumni programs to ladder in their careers. Our graduates earn industry-recognized microcredentials, developed by global tech leaders like Google and Microsoft, which certify their technical expertise and boost the credibility and marketability of our alumni as they pursue digital careers across sectors. Additionally, our three-pillar model, consisting of technical training, professional development, and personal development sessions, ensures our participants are developing holistic skills that make them a well-rounded employee that can enter a variety of fields.
The way forward
While there are definitely shifts and disruptions occurring in the Canadian workforce, and the tech sector in particular, what the past few years have shown us is that by continuing to adapt our strategy, we can still prepare our participants for success. In the “new normal”, digital roles are available in all industries, and by cultivating well-rounded and coachable graduates, we can ensure that job-seekers are entering the workforce with the skills that will make them valuable employees regardless of the sector they choose. NPower Canada will remain agile and work with partners to understand where job-seeker needs are, and support our communities during times of uncertainty.