At nearly 14%, youth unemployment in Canada is a serious issue. Meanwhile, employers are struggling to hire tech skills for the digital economy where unemployment is less than 3%. Why the disconnect between youth needing careers and the hottest employment sector in the country?
Tech-related programs such as information and communications technology (ICT), computer science or engineering are not the most popular post-secondary choices of high school students today. That’s part of the reason there is a disconnect between the in-demand, well paying tech jobs and our youth who don’t have the right skills to fill them.
Canadian youth under the age of 24 are struggling to find jobs, with almost half working part-time and 14 percent unemployed. On the other hand, 90% of Canadian firms surveyed said they have some form of a gap in the information technology (IT) skills they need to run their organizations, according to a report by Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA).
The lack of skilled tech talent in Canada is increasing; with an estimated 106,000 ICT jobs expected to go unfilled by 2016, according to the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC). Jobs in apps development, networking and software development are the most challenging to fill, according to a recent employer survey by Robert Half Technology.
How do we bridge the gap between youth who need meaningful careers and employers increasing need for tech-related skills? By expanding the career conversation in high schools to help students understand that technology careers of today and tomorrow are for people whose interests include many fields – not just tech.
There are tons of college and university programs to consider – from engineering and computer science degrees, to diplomas and certificates in specific hot skills of today like mobile apps or video game development.
In three to five years, when today’s high school students become post-secondary graduates, the hot tech skills will likely be different and arguably more advanced. But their penetration and importance in every organization and across all sectors will only keep increasing.
With that in mind, it’s up to teachers, parents and students to change the career conversation - including a tech education as part of the answer to breaking the youth unemployment and underemployment cycle in Canada.
Find out more by clicking on our infographic below: