Volume 7

Volume 7, Number 31

April 21, 2009

19 pages995 K bytes

Factors Impacting the Supply and Demand of IT Workers in Canada and the USA

Kenneth A. Grant
Ryerson University
Toronto, Ontario M5B 2K3 Canada

Ron Babin
Ryerson University
Toronto, ON, Canada M5B 2K3

Abstract: From its early post-Second World War beginnings, IT employment has risen steadily, with over 3% of North American workers now holding IT occupations and perhaps another 10% working in IT related or IT-enabled fields. Since the mid-1980s, there have been reports of shortages -- both of IT workers and of specific IT skills. This long growth period was dramatically affected during the "recession" that took place at the beginning of the 21st century, when the IT industry and IT jobs were more significantly affected than other areas of the economy. Today, we find contradictory reports of continued unemployment and slower growth, along with the resurgence of predictions of labour and skills shortages. To some degree it seems to have been a "jobless" recovery. Enrolment in university computer science and IT programs is down dramatically, offshoring of IT work in on the increase, and questions are being raised about the role of immigration, despite government predictions for growth in most IT work! This paper is an attempt to build a comprehensive picture of the supply/demand situation in North America, drawing from both the Canadian and the US experience. Preliminary conclusions suggest that the growth of IT work will continue but in a different pattern than in the past and that current responses are inadequate to meet the current challenges. Without action by industry, academe and industry, many current problems will continue and could have an adverse effect on both the Canadian and US economies and on the employment prospects of IT workers (especially new entrants and older workers).

Keywords: IT workers, labor analysis, shortage, skills

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Recommended Citation: Grant and Babin (2009). Factors Impacting the Supply and Demand of IT Workers in Canada and the USA. Information Systems Education Journal, 7 (31). http://isedj.org/7/31/. ISSN: 1545-679X. (A preliminary version appears in The Proceedings of ISECON 2006: §2353. ISSN: 1542-7382.)