Talent Development Centre

All posts by Brendhan Malone

Regional Job Market Update for Toronto, Ontario

Brendhan Malone By Brendhan Malone,
Vice-President, Central Canada at Eagle

Toronto, Ontario CanadaCOVID-19 has spared almost no business and the IT job market in Toronto is no exception. While it has certainly been spared some of the devastating consequences of other industries like the airline, hotel, and hospitalities, it has not been without pain and hardship of its own.

We’ve seen a mix of reactions and strategies from organizations to get through this turmoil, and it all depends on the company’s individual circumstances. While some are able and willing to use this time to accelerate their digital transformation and IT systems others are simply not financially able to, depending on where IT fits within their business and the impact of COVID.

Overall, though, there are technology employment trends that are standing out, many of which are the result of COVID-19 adjustment strategies. For example:

  • There is an increased demand for security resources as companies deal with the challenges associated with a remote workforce and the security challenges associated with keeping data secure from so many remote locations.
  • The demand for resources skilled in data analysis and analytics is expected to continue, if not rise.  Companies are competing to better understand how their customers operate in this reality.  Data positions are in high demand and this looks to continue.
  • Web-based projects continue to be on the rise, with UI and UX developers being sought after throughout all industries.

As stated, the outlook for IT jobs in Toronto is rosier than many other industries and locations.  Jobs grew in Ontario in June and July and IT far outpaced the median here. Specifically in Toronto, employers are continuing to recognize the strength of talent that’s out there. Once again, CBRE ranked Toronto the 4th best city in North America for tech talent in 2020, citing an overall 5-year employment growth of 36.5% and 5-year wage growth of 11.2%.

Part of the city’s success is due to the thousands of immigrant tech workers choosing to come here rather than the US, and Toronto is benefitting from that trend. Policy south of the border is encouraging more immigrants from Silicon Valley to make the Great White North their home, and leading companies are following the talent, choosing Toronto for their headquarters.

As we all band together to get through these tough times, the future remains bright in the Toronto IT market.  The expectation that organizations will continue to invest in IT in Toronto means the demand for top talent will remain high. That said, competition for contracts is also strong, so if you’re an IT contractor navigating your way through tough times, my advice is to continue expanding your networks and talking to recruiters. Companies who are hiring are doing so quickly, meaning the contractors who are top of mind and keeping their skills fresh are the ones most likely to get the gig.

Regional Job Market Update for Toronto, Ontario

Brendhan Malone By Brendhan Malone,
Vice-President, Central Canada at Eagle

 

Toronto, Ontario Canada

 

The cat is out of the bag — Toronto is now an established world leader in IT and an innovation hub that rivals any city in the world.

Now what does this mean to the real job market?

Firstly, it means that a vast majority of Canadian fortune 100 companies have their IT headquarters in the GTA, plus IT start ups are finding Toronto to be the place to get started in record numbers. This brings an incredible opportunity to IT professionals, but what skill sets and profiles are the majority of these organizations looking for?

The answer to that lies in the customer. Companies today are all clamoring to create the best Customer Experience and the GTA job market reflects that, which can be seen in their position requirements. In addition to technical skills, they want to know their contractors can enhance the customer experience by knowing as much as possible about customers and, in return, provide that experience.

Specifically, companies are searching for:

Integration:

Resources with major project experience are in hot demand. There are many projects right now that are attempting to consolidate internal systems to ensure that when customers are contacting companies — regardless of the issue — they won’t be passed around from touch-point to touch-point, having to re-issue their info and explain their concerns over and over.

A meaningful customer profile is imperative in providing a positive experience.

Agile:

As more firms transition to the Agile methodology, the need for IT resources who truly understand the impact of their work on the overall customer experience is growing exponentially. In years past we have seen a large number of tester/QA positions go overseas. With the increased adoption of Agile, many of those requirements now sit locally as QA is part of every Agile team.

These business skills and knowledge are of course only part of it and in-demand IT skills remain. The hottest skills we see right now are:

  • Integration Experience
  • Full Stack Development
  • Core Java Development
  • Agile
  • Data Science
  • Security

It is important to note also that with this increased level of customer information and profiles comes an increased need for uncompromising security of that information. With that, the need for security resources remains high and demand far outweighs supply.

You may have seen the report Randstad recently published of the top IT jobs in the Toronto Market

  1. Developer/Programmer
  2. System Administrator
  3. IT Project Manager
  4. Quality Assurance Analyst
  5. Data Analyst
  6. It Business Analyst
  7. Help Desk Analyst
  8. IT Manager

While these positions may not look considerably different than they have in years past (except Agile), the difference we are seeing is in the requirement for business understanding and understanding of customer impact as well as the in demand traditional IT skills.

Understanding the customer is the goal of the companies hiring and they are looking for people who understand this goal and its impact on the bottom line.

Regional Job Market Update for Toronto, Ontario

Brendhan Malone By Brendhan Malone,
Vice-President, Central Canada at Eagle

Toronto, Ontario CanadaThe IT job market in and around the Great Toronto Area continues to have a positive outlook for technology professionals. Hot off the heels of being named the fastest growing tech centre in North America in a recent study by BMO Capital Markets, and #4 overall in terms of size, Toronto continues to be filled with a wide range of opportunities.

The major banks continue to “drive the bus”, so to speak, as they compete to stay ahead of the curve and continue with innovative projects. Specifically, they’re nearly constantly investing in Security, Anti-Money Laundering, Big Data, Customer Experience and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Their desire to work with the best people is ensuring that demand for these talents remains high and is not slowing down.

The other major industry driving the GTA IT job market is telecommunications. There is fierce competition among the Telco Giants and their battle for the most superior customer experience is driving their talent needs. On top of regularly investing to improve in their services, security remains a constant and major investment in this industry, thus driving a high demand for security experts with telecommunications experience.

Perhaps the even more exciting IT job opportunities coming out of Toronto stem from the continued and increasing investment from tech giants. Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Uber (just to name a few) have all opened or expanded offices in the area, creating full-time and contract opportunities alike for IT professionals across the spectrum.

Toronto is a home for tech talent and these companies’ investment in Toronto verifies this.  Instead of  the famous movie line “if you build it they will come” from Field of Dreams,  a more appropriate slogan for Toronto is  “they are there, so lets go build it.”  With 241,000 (CMBA) tech workers, and a talent pool that is growing faster than any other market in North America, Toronto is proving to be a place to be for growing tech companies.

In conclusion, Toronto is an exciting place filled with job opportunities for IT experts, but also filled with strong competition for the leading jobs. Companies are looking for the best people to do the job and hiring quickly once they find them. My advice to a job seeker is to ensure your skills are up-to-date, your resume is always current, and be prepared to submit your information quickly to recruiters as new jobs open up.

Regional Job Market Update for Toronto

Brendhan Malone By Brendhan Malone,
Vice-President, Central Canada at Eagle

Toronto… The Place to Be for Technology

Toronto, Ontario CanadaToronto has long been recognized as a centre of technology in Canada.  That reputation only grows with each passing month and year.  Toronto is among the best cities in the world to work in technology and there are over half a million working in the technology space in Toronto.  This number is growing fast as is the roughly 25% of those that are self-employed. Plus, a recent study by the Compass Group showed that Toronto’s tech growth is outpacing the rest of the country almost 5-1.

What is responsible for this growth?  It is a number of things and anytime in economics or business that there are numerous factors to growth, that is a very good thing.

Let’s look first at the straw that stirs the drink for Toronto’s Tech sector — our major financial institutions.  The Big 5 are all headquartered in Toronto and in 2018 continue to invest massively in technology.  Cloud computing, security, application development, risk management through technology, customer experience, are all areas that the banks continue to invest in.

The Major Telco’s equally influence the Toronto Technology sector.  The intense competition for customers has led to significant investment in a better customer experience through technology.  This competition also drives investment in the latest network and cellular technologies to bring faster speeds and better experiences for their customers.  2018 has been a huge year for this type of infrastructure investment in Toronto and elsewhere.

The new world business Goliaths such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter have all recently invested money and resourcing in Toronto and continue to grow their presence in 2018.  In today’s world of technology, you can never really be a true world technology hub without their presence.

And let us not forget the importance of a vibrant environment for start-ups.  Uber, Airbnb, Facebook, were all start-ups at one time, making it critical that Toronto maintains a not only viable but an exciting environment for start-ups to take root.  Companies like Top Hat, Bridget, and others are following in the footsteps of more established start-ups like Shop.ca and Fresh Books.  2018 has seen an incredible number of start-ups show us exciting things in Toronto.

The landscape is bright for technology in in Toronto in 2018.  The battle for talent is fierce but it also shows that this is where a huge pool of talent resides.  The healthy mix of factors described above has Toronto in a good place for years to come.  If you are technology professional in Toronto it appears you are in the right place.

The Future is Yours!!

Brendhan Malone By Brendhan Malone,
Vice-President, Central Canada at Eagle

Why independent contractors in IT should always be on top of the latest tech trends

The Future is Yours!!When I first started in recruitment immediately following Y2K, the market was very slow. Seasoned professional contractors were having tremendous difficulty landing contracts. Unless of course you were a technical or functional consultant in the ERP world and your experience was in the right module, it was tough.

What is the point of my statement?

There are trends in the industry that are worth following. After the most recent economic crash in 2008, financial institutions were looking for any way possible to reduce risk. Consultants and contractors with risk system experience were in tremendous demand in a down market.

Which quickly brings us to today. Is it luck if your area of expertise becomes in high-demand? Sometimes I’m sure good fortune plays a role. I would argue, however, that being on the cutting edge of market trends can take some of the luck out of it. Asking yourself a few key questions in regards to where you see demand for your skills and area of expertise going forward should be a weekly exercise.

The key point to mention is that the current in-demand skills are often times no more difficult to obtain or develop an expertise in than those that are diminishing in demand.

Artificial Intelligence is a perfect example of the importance of identifying current and future demand for your skills. AI is not going anywhere and companies will be relying on it more and more every day. Can your skills be augmented to provide value to this emerging area?

Automation is coming and coming fast, particularity in administrative processes. How do your skills apply here and if they don’t, how can you obtain relevant skills to automation?

People are browsing, shopping, and purchasing on their mobile devices at staggering levels. Only a few years ago it was primarily a device for browsing. Those who had the foresight so obtain mobile development skills have reaped the rewards of this demand.

This may seem like obvious considerations but the difference between having in-demand skills and not can drastically affect your standard of living.

A contractor should be on the hunt to educate and further their own skills and knowledge. Make sure you are always evolving in your professional life and you won’t be left behind but will stay at the forefront of technology changes.

You Can’t Win a Fight (or succeed at anything) without a Winning Team

Brendhan Malone By Brendhan Malone,
Vice-President, Central Canada at Eagle

You Can't Win a Fight (or succeed at anything) without a Winning TeamThe video below introduces you to this year’s Fight Team in the annual Fight to End Cancer, taking place this year on May 27th in Toronto.  These are brave men and women who have stepped out of their homes and offices and into the boxing ring.  They are doing so to raise money for the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and the Fight to End Cancer.

I was fortunate enough to step in the ring myself a couple of years ago and I know the commitment required.  Eagle has been a proud sponsor and supporter of this event since its inception.  This event aligns perfectly with our core values of integrity, excellence and TEAM.

When a fighter prepares to step in the ring, they join a large team of coaches and sparring partners.  Everyone is working together, with different responsibilities but towards the same goal.    A fighter cannot do this on their own, no single person is a match for a good team.

Business and sports offer natural parallels, none more so than the concept of team.  As an independent contractor, one of the main parts of your job is to get up to speed with a new team.  Understanding what the team’s goals and overall objectives are can help you align yours the same way.  Just as a fight team prepares the fighter for the ring, an IT team prepares a product or service for launch day.  Independent contractors are often the newest members of a team that may have been together for a long time.  Ensuring you are quickly aligned with the team’s goals and overall objectives will result in quicker cohesion and earlier positive results.

I wrote in an earlier post that it is no longer possible for an independent contractor to live in a bubble.  You must be aligned and aware of the business objectives of any IT project.  Teams need to work together towards the same goal.  It may seem obvious… but every team member has to know what those goals are.

I wish all the fighters and their teams the best of luck as the big day approaches.  To all the independent contractors joining new teams, I hope you can align your efforts and objectives as quickly and effectively as possible with a common goal.

10 Reasons to Take a Face-to-Face Interview with a Recruiter

Brendhan Malone By Brendhan Malone,
Vice-President, Central Canada at Eagle

10 Reasons to Take a Face-to-Face Interview with a RecruiterA recruiter asks you to come in for an interview but you have so much on the go. What do you do? Should you blow them off? After all, you’ve already sent over a resume and had talked to them over the phone about what kind of work you want. What more could a face-to-face interview possibly do for you?

Face-to-face interviews with recruiters are more than you may think! Here are 10 reasons to take that interview and increase your chance of getting the next job you’ve been wanting.

  1. Your Recruiter Will Remember You in the Future. Science shows that we remember faces far easier than we remember emails.  🙂
  2. Face-to-Face is Second-to-None. There is simply no technological replacement for face-to-face interaction… including Skype/video interviews!
  3. Get Across What Your Resume Can’t. Communication is over 90% non-verbal.
  4. Your Recruiter Will Better Understand You. Inevitably an unknown skill or strength of yours is going to come out in a face-to-face meeting.
  5. It Will Help Your Recruiter Sell You. Recruiters are not only interviewing you, but also working to provide the strongest presentation of your skills and attributes to the end client. You have a mutual objective.
  6. Its great practice! In today’s business market, IT skills are not enough.  We should use every opportunity available to hone communication and networking skills.
  7. It’s Efficient. Relationships are built more quickly, strongly and efficiently in face-to-face meetings. Recent surveys have shown that it takes five Skype/video meetings to equal one face-to-face meeting.  It’s a safe leap to surmise that the number of emails required to do the same would be incredibly high, and very likely still not reach anywhere near the same level of rapport.
  8. Build Trust. Face-to-face meetings foster a greater sense of trust and commitment to honesty. People are able to “dehumanize” written email communication.  Most people are committed to doing right by others, face-to-face meetings foster relationships which allow for the humanization of the communication, therefore resulting in more people doing the “right thing”.
  9. You will learn something valuable. It is almost impossible for two professionals to communicate without learning something. Recruiter and contractor meetings/interviews offer a great opportunity for each to learn about the others profession and craft.  We are working together in the end!
  10. Meeting with people is FUN! Approach these sessions positively and with enthusiasm and hopefully it will be remembered as a very positive experience.

How Canadian Developers Can Remain Competitive

Brendhan Malone By Brendhan Malone,
Vice-President, Central Canada at Eagle

How Canadian Developers Can Remain CompetitiveLooking for new development skills to remain competitive in your field?  Perhaps Rapid Application Development and Front-End Design are in your future.

An interesting question in mapping out your career and determining what skills are most important for you involves both an evaluation, through research and data analysis, of the current market as well as what is coming next.  None of us have a crystal ball, but there are certain trends and information out there that can give us a better understanding of what is coming.

As the majority of consumers shift to their mobile devices to browse and purchase, so will employers’ demands in the skills they seek. Mobile development is one of the fastest growing environments in IT.  Skills such as Android app development, HTML5, iOS, CSS, JavaScript, and Angular are in such an incredible demand that there is simply not enough people to do the work that is already funded.

Over the last decade we have seen an incredible amount of development work move overseas.  Heavy development lifts are being completed in countries where labour costs are a fraction of what it would cost to do it here. Employers in Canada are no longer looking for consultants to sit behind a desk and code, that work has predominantly left the country.

As the Agile Methodology grows in popularity and consumers move to the mobile space, having the technical skills combined with an understanding of marketing and brand objectives of the end client will make you in high demand. What employers want now are collaborative, creative developers with an acute understanding of marketing and sales objectives who can work in a team environment.

Do you have the skills required to stay competitive and relevant in Canada’s fast-paced development space? If not, it may be time to take an inventory of your skills — hard and soft — and refresh or upgrade those that are lacking.

Deciphering 3 Common Recruiter Calls and Emails

By Brendhan Malone (Vice-President, Central Canada at Eagle) and Graeme Bakker (Recruitment Team Lead at Eagle)

Deciphering 3 Common Recruiter Calls and EmailsRecruiters know that contractors get tons of calls and emails throughout the day.  Recruiters also know that time is valuable and we want to make the process of finding your next contract as stress free and smooth as possible.

Once you’ve decided on your staffing agency with the best candidate experience, it’s important to know exactly what your recruiter is looking for when you receive these common phone calls or emails:

Scheduling a Phone Interview:

When a recruiter calls or sends an email about scheduling a phone interview they just want to make sure these three things are a go:

  • You’re available to do the phone interview at the time the client has provided.
  • You will be in a location with no distractions or phone issues.
  • Let the recruiter know if you want to touch base to discuss anything prior to the phone interview. Reply with a couple times that you are available to prep and the recruiter will appreciate being able to work around your schedule.

Interview Feedback:

When a recruiter calls or emails you for interview feedback, this is why they’re doing it:

  • They want to know if it was positive for you and if you’re still interested in continuing with the process. If you are positive about the interview and more excited about the opportunity, your recruiter wants to relay that information to the client.
  • If you have negative feedback or any questions/concerns about the interview, your recruiter wants to know about it. This way they can answer any questions you might have or smooth over any concerns you have going forward with the process.
  • Eliminate any surprises. The recruiter wants to confirm the possibility of any other offer or opportunities on the table.  Are you more in favour of this role that you interviewed for than another?  Would you accept this opportunity should they come back to us with an offer?  The recruiter wants to make sure that you don’t miss out on any opportunities.

Resume Review:

You’ve received a call and/or email from a recruiter about a role.  You’re interested in the role and are qualified for it.  You just sent the recruiter your updated resume, so why does the recruiter need to chat with me?

In this competitive MSP driven job market, what is in your head NEEDS to be on the resume.  The person first seeing your resume and determining if it should go on is very rarely the technical manager responsible for hiring.  Recruiters know we can leave nothing to chance in this environment.

  • Recruiters know that if you are a front-end developer, you have experience with HTML and CSS. We might not be that technical but we know that!  If you have 10 years of development experience and 8 years of HTML and CSS experience it needs to be in the resume!
  • We know it can be frustrating to answer basic questions about your skills and then add it to your resume, but recruiters are doing it for your benefit. They know that if they don’t correctly put where you have had this experience send your resume won’t get past the gatekeepers and over to the hiring manager.
  • If you get back to the recruiter with a couple minutes to chat and answer those questions you will have the benefit of knowing you are hitting all the marks described in the job description. As an added bonus, your staffing agency will l have an updated resume on file that is correctly updated.

Understanding what’s inside a recruiter’s head may not always seem simple, but it’s easier then you may think. In the end, we all share the same goal of getting you placed into the right contract. This insight into these three common conversations recruiters have with you will let you stop trying to read between the lines and focus on your business.

IT is No Longer Just About Technology

Brendhan Malone By Brendhan Malone,
Vice-President, Central Canada at Eagle

IT is No Longer Just About TechnologyAs explained in this recent article from Dice, the marketplace for IT contractors and technology employees is changing at a pace similar to that of technology itself. With many of the “heavy lifting” IT jobs having been outsourced either on or off shore, the IT employees or contractors that remain in high demand are those with both technical and business capabilities.

What does this mean?  In order to add the value companies are looking for, prospective employees and independent contractors need to be able to both understand and communicate the business objectives of any IT activity.

The Agile framework is being implemented in more and more large organizations and communication is a pillar of Agile delivery, as all disciplines work together and collaborate throughout the development process.  Agile delivery cannot be successful without all stakeholders clearly understanding the business objectives and able to communicate as such.

Furthermore, the concept of performing a single function on “an island” within an organization has either been outsourced, as mentioned, or become entirely a thing of the past.

How do you as a contractor address these changes?  Firstly, take the time to understand the big picture: What is the overall project objective, not just your piece?  Understand the company you are working for, their history, their results, their major projects and initiatives.

Most consultants today work with one or more staffing agencies.  Hold your recruiter accountable for as much information as possible on each particular job opportunity.  This information will allow you to demonstrate your business capabilities and understanding as well as your valuable technical skills.

Keep up-to-date on the overall technology landscape. If you are in Telecommunications, know what the big 3 Telco’s’ major initiatives are.  If you have focused on the financial sector, know what major initiatives are coming from the big banks.

It is no longer possible to maximize your earnings and potential with technical skills alone.  All aspects of IT and business have become too interdependent.  Businesses rely more and more on technology every day as we know.  With this increased reliance comes a greater need for technology resources to understand business objectives and vice versa.

Ironically, the single most effective way to increase your business knowledge and communication skills… is a good old face to face conversation.