Job Market Update Across Canada for October 2019

Kevin Dee By Kevin Dee, Co-Founder at Eagle

Here at Eagle we provide job market information on a regular basis, sometimes at a high level across the country and other times looking in more depth at specific markets. This update is a high-level look at the Canadian job market, and the factors influencing it. In previous months we have provided market updates, specific to different markets, which you can find through the links here:

There are a number of indicators that I have used over the years to give an idea of how things are going, one such indicator is the markets. For this purpose, I have focused on the TSX. When I wrote this update in March of this year the TSX was at its low of 16,000 points, and it has been as high as almost 16,900, but as I write this sits at 16,400. This is probably a decent indicator of Canada’s economy… meh! Not booming, not in the doldrums but not setting the world on fire either.

The unemployment rate is an obvious indicator for the job market and the September numbers were quite positive, adding 54,000 jobs with 41,000 of them in Ontario. This saw the unemployment rate drop to 5.5%, which is pretty close to the year’s best rate which was 5.4%.

In the new world of work, one of the factors that will favor the job seeker is a willingness to go where the jobs are. In Canada, the four largest provinces represent close to 90% of the jobs, with Ontario the largest (close to 40%); Quebec (approx. 23%); BC (13.5%) and Alberta (12.5%). BC and Quebec have the lowest unemployment rate in Canada (4.8%), with Newfoundland & Labrador the highest (11.5%); Manitoba (5%); Ontario and Saskatchewan (5.3%). So, when considering where to look for jobs, a province that employs a lot of people and has a relatively low unemployment rate is a good place to look. BC, Quebec and Ontario all fit that bill. Alberta is still struggling because of the hit on the oil and gas sector so their unemployment rate is 6.6%.

One of the big factors affecting the Alberta market is the price of oil. The price of a barrel in Canada is more than $10 a barrel less than on the WTI price (and more than $15 less than Brent). This is due to a number of factors, including that fact that Canada’s only client is the United States. Until there is a clear change that will likely remain a factor in Alberta’s economy. Having said that, there are still opportunities in Alberta, just not the booming demand we saw in the past.

The hot US market has created significant skills shortages and cost increases for companies with large workforces. This has created an opportunity in Canada, where large US companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google etc. are adding to their Canadian presence to tap into the talent up here. We have seen big announcements in Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal and Toronto in recent months and I expect this trend to continue. There has been particular interest in the skilled technology talent here in Canada. Canada is also able to attract skilled immigrant talent easier than the US, whose immigration laws are more prohibitive.

Tech job activity is relatively strong in most markets across Canada, even Calgary, which has not returned to pre-oil crisis levels of activity but is still seeing some demand. This makes sense if you recognize that even at a 6.6% unemployment rate, that probably represents an unemployment rate among professionals and in-demand skills of more like 3.5%.

For a more detailed look at the specific markets across Canada, I suggest you read the linked writeups from Eagle’s Executive team across the country, referenced earlier.

Eagle’s focus is technology professionals and the most in demand areas/skills recently have included: Cloud, Healthcare, Government, Telecom, Banking, CRM, BI and AI; Project Managers, Business Analysts, Change Management, Quality Assurance, Architects, Sys Admins, Full Stack developers, Database Admins and Dev Ops engineers.

In summary, people with tech skills and experience should have little difficulty in finding employment, either contract or perm, for the foreseeable future. A willingness to relocate to the bigger centers will only increase their marketability.

The big unknown in the world today is whether there will be a recession, and if so, how deep will it hit. The trading tensions and regional politics around the world are not helping, but generally I am seeing many indicators that 2020 will be a slower year than 2019. A recession is not in the forecast but forecasters have been wrong before! I don’t believe the election will have a negative impact on jobs, whichever party gets in.

For employers, our advice has not changed, it is a “job seekers market” so it is important to hire quickly! Establish clean hiring practices that move candidates quickly through the hiring process. We are seeing more and more multiple job offers and clients losing talent because they are too slow to make a decision.

Contractor Quick Poll: Will You Subscribe to Disney+?

For a couple years now, Disney has been teasing a streaming service that would rival all other services and give the leading Netflix a serious run for its money. Now, Disney+ is less than a month away and the hype around it is real. Disney is going all in, where for a lower monthly subscription than Netflix, viewers can get access to everything that is Star Wars franchise, the Marvel franchise, Disney classics and everything in between.

As we prepare for colder Winter months that typically include binge watching, we’re asking IT contractors what you think of Disney+ and, more specifically, if you’ll be subscribing. If you are, will you give up any of your current streaming or television services?

IT Industry News for September 2019

Kevin Dee By Kevin Dee, Chairman of the Board at Eagle

This post first appeared on the Eagle Blog on October 10th, 2019

This is my 30,000-foot look at events in the ICT industry for September 2019. What you see here is a précis of the monthly report I produce, which will be available in more detail at the News section of the Eagle website, where you will also find back issues.

A Little History of September in previous years …

Five years ago, September 2014 saw some big deals announced, including Microsoft’s Microsoft logo$2.5 billion purchase of gaming company Minecraft, Lenovo’s $2.1 billion purchase of IBM’s x86 server business and Cognizant’s $2.7 billion purchase of healthcare company, Trizetto Corp.  Hootsuite had an injection of cash and bought two companies, social telephony company Zeetl and social media marketing platform Brightkit.  Google also made two acquisitions: biotech company Lift Labs and desktop polling company Polar. There were plenty more deals announced, including Yahoo’s $8 million purchase of cloud-based document hosting company Bookpad; Cisco’s purchase of private cloud company Metacloud; SAP’s purchase of expense software company Concur; Blackberry’s purchase of virtual identity software startup Movirtu and Red Hat’s purchase of mobile app company FeedHenry.

In September 2015, there was a fair bit of M&A activity but no blockbuster deals.  Microsoft was very active, closing three deals, Adxstudio which provides web-based solutions for ACCENTURE LOGODynamics CRM; app developer Double Labs; and cloud security firm Adallom.  Accenture picked up the cloud services company Cloud Sherpas; IBM added cloud software startup StrongLoop; Netsuite paid $200 million for cloud-based marketing company Bronto Software; and Blackberry paid $425 million for competitor Good Technology.  Hardware company Konica Minolta bought IT Weapons; Qualcomm bought medical device and data management company Capsule Technologies; Networking and storage company Barracuda Networks bought online backup and disaster recovery company Intronis; and Compugen bought some of the assets of another Canadian company Metafore.

September 2016 saw Tech Data pay $2.6 billion for the technology solutions group of HP logoAvnet, and HP made the biggest printer acquisition to date, paying $1.05 Billion for Samsung’s printer business.  Other deals saw Google pay $625 million for Apogee, and restaurant company Subway bought online order taking software company Avanti Commerce.  One investment that caught my eye, in the staffing world saw Accenture invest in crowdtesting company Applause.

Two years ago September 2017 saw Google splash out $1.1 Billion to acquire HTC’s pixel team, strengthening its own smartphone capabilities.  In an interesting move IKEA bought gig economy company TaskRabbit. HPE bought Cloud Technology Partners, presumably to strengthen its capabilities in that area and possibly access new clients.  Finally Edmonton company F12.net bought Vancouver’s ONDeck Systems as it pursues its goal to be a National IT Service Provider.

Last year, there were some big deals in September 2018.  Adobe’s $4.5 million purchase of Marketo was the big deal of the month.  Not a true tech play but Sirius XM paid $3.6 billion for Pandora, and with digital/media/tech convergence it seemed like a fit.  Digital Realty is expanding its data centre footprint with the $1.8 billion purchase of Brazil’s Ascenty.  SS&C paid $1.5 billion for Intralinks.  Vonage paid $300 million for contact centre as a service company NewVoiceMedia; Microsoft added to its AI portfolio, buying Lobe; Intel bought a startup, NetSpeed to help with its IoT chips; Cognizant added to its Salesforce capabilities, buying Advanced Technology Group; Infosys also added Salesforce capability in Europe, buying Fluido; and Slack added an AI driven email client to its portfolio with the purchase of Astro.

Which brings us back to the present …

September 2019 was relatively busy in M&A with Qualcomm’s $3.1 billion acquisition of TDK’s share in a RF joint venture, the largest deal of the month.  There were some big Facebook logonames out shopping in September, with Microsoft buying cloud migration company Movere; Facebook bought Wearables company Ctrl-labs (reputedly for big dollars); HP bought endpoint security company Bromium; Western Digital bought Kazan Networks; and Github bought developer tool Semmie.  Commvault paid $225 million for cloud software company Hevig and there were a few more smaller deals.

Other companies in the news included YouTube who reached a $170 million settlement related to protection and privacy for children; Kik interactive shut down its messaging service; and DoorDash became the latest cyber breach casualty.

The jobs numbers were optimistic in Canada, and the US also had good jobs news although the ongoing trade war and potential impeachment have put a negative spin on some of the reports coming out.

That’s what caught my eye over the last month.  The full edition will be available soon on the Eagle website.  Hope this was useful and I’ll be back with the October 2019 industry news in just about a month’s time.

Walk Fast and Smile

What’s on the Minds of Canada’s CIOs?

Morley Surcon By Morley Surcon,
Vice-President Strategic Accounts & Client Solutions, Western Canada at Eagle

What's on the Minds of Canada's CIOs?

 

While many CIOs are great communicators and share clear and motivating visions for the future, some can be tougher to pin down and it is sometimes hard to see what makes them tick. Even if the CIO at the company where you work is one of the former, it is hard to tell if he or she is part of the majority. Well, all this is to say that ITWorld Canada released the 2019 Canadian CIO Census and I thought I’d share some of the findings as they apply to IT Labour with you. This is particularly good information as it is Canadian-only data, and most of what you find online is US-content-heavy. So, without further ado, here is what the IT leaders in Canada have on their minds!

Hiring Plans for the Coming Year

Almost half (48%) of those surveyed are expecting to keep IT headcount at current levels, either by choice or due to a hiring freeze; while over a third (37%) are looking to increase the size of their teams. This makes for robust demand for talent in Canada. Only 4% suggest that they will decrease the size of their departments.

Day-To-Day Concerns

While 16 different “concerns” were cited, the top 5 things that keep most CIOs up at night are: Data Security/Privacy Issues, Uptime/Reliabilty Concerns, Compliance Requirements, Business Innovation Demands, and tied for 5th place was Making Data Actionable and Staffing.

CIO’s concerns for finding the right resources for their teams and projects has grown by over 55% over the past 3 years. This is a result of unemployment rates of IT workers in Canada hovering around the 2% mark, on average. Most economists consider “full employment” to be around 4% unemployment… as a consequence, most regions in Canada are in a supply-constrained state. With things even tighter in the US, they are exporting their labour shortages to Canada, enticing Canadian workers to travel down to work on their projects or they are employing “remote work”. The results are the same, save a global downturn of some kind, IT labour supply is going to become tighter and tighter… and our CIOs know this.

ITCT, StatsCanada Chart - ICT Employment

In-Demand and Out-Of-Demand Areas in IT

CIOs report having the hardest time hiring for the following areas: AI, Data Analytics, IoT, Mobile Development, and Cloud Services. Specific roles that are of particular interest include Enterprise Application Developers, Big Data/Analytics Specialists, Business Analysts, and Project Managers. All this was consistent with the CIO Census finding from last year, with interest in Application Developers growing slightly.

Given the focus that much of Canada’s IT sector has been giving to Cloud and As-A-Service technologies, it isn’t too surprising that the IT roles where they report “negative demand” is a tie between Data Centre Management and Application Maintenance and Support.

Although there aren’t many IT roles that CIOs claim might be reduced, there are some roles that may see some “turbulence” with some CIOs claiming to need to hire, while others are looking to shed workers. These include Help Desk, IT Support, Network Security, and IT Generalists… some of the people working in these roles may experience opportunities ending at certain companies, but demand from other companies will more than offsets the reductions that are expected, with the number of CIOs “hiring” outstripping those “downsizing” 3:1.

If you are interested in reading the entire CIO Census report, you may do so here.

 

How Emotional Intelligence Makes You a Better IT Contractor

How Emotional Intelligence Makes You a Better IT Contractor

Emotional Intelligence (often referred to as EI or EQ) can be a fluffy term and not always simple to grasp. It refers to a person’s capacity to both identify and regulate emotions in themselves or others. Those with high EI are able to recognize, understand, manage and reason with emotions, which they can then leverage to manage their own behaviour and relationships. As Dr. Travis Bradberry has put it “Emotional intelligence is the ‘something’ in each of us that is a bit intangible. It affects how we manage behavior, navigate social complexities, and make personal decisions to achieve positive results.”

There is no shortage of documentation and articles advocating the importance of emotional intelligence in all areas of life, so we thought we’d investigate the benefits an IT contractor can reap with enhanced EI, specifically in the job search and while working.

How Emotional Intelligence Will Improve Your Job Search

Emotional intelligence becomes truly important for the IT contractor during the interview stage of your job search. Your skills and experience will help you sail through the technical evaluation, but EI is the piece that will help you build a connection with recruiters and non-technical hiring managers. These are the folks who, as much as they understand the value of your ability to do the job, are also ensuring you will fit into the team and work well with others.

Here are a few ways you can answer questions and describe past experiences in a job interview to highlight your emotional intelligence:

  • Show your ability to manage negative emotions by moving past bad experiences on past contracts. That means refraining from talking badly about previous clients or situations and focusing on the positive aspects.
  • Truly understand your strengths and weaknesses. Know how to communicate the areas you where excel and humbly accept the skills where you fall short.
  • Provide examples of times you accepted feedback and criticism and used it as a challenge to improve yourself.
  • Accept responsibility for areas that went wrong on a previous project without placing blame on other team members. Explain how you learned from your mistakes.
  • Take time to learn more about your interviewer and the position. Share their enthusiasm in what they do so you can build a connection with them.

How Emotional Intelligence Will Make You a Better IT Contractor

In 2012, a CareerBuilder survey showed that 71% of employers value emotional intelligence over IQ. Employers would rather hire people who have high EI than who are smart. Specifically, emotional intelligence is increasingly important for technology professionals for a myriad of reasons, some of them being:

  • It helps you get along with others. Tech workers regularly interact with non-technical people. The need to connect on a level where you can explain various concepts is crucial and emotional intelligence makes it happen.
  • It gives you job security. More and more we hear about how artificial intelligence and automation will steal our jobs. For the time being, these technologies still lack the human connection, including emotional intelligence.
  • It improves your decision making. By understanding others, and more importantly, yourself, you can push past biases and understand the emotions driving a situation to make decisions that are subjective and will be accepted by others.
  • It gets you through conflict. Your job as an IT contractor is to be the expert in an area. Naturally, with that turn comes conflict within your team and with your client’s employees. Emotional intelligence forms a sought-after leadership trait to work through conflict calmly and find solutions that work for everyone.
  • It means you can work well under pressure. The ability to control your emotions, listen and cooperate with others, all while understanding their emotions means you will be a prime candidate to lead a team through crisis and short timelines.

The great thing about EQ versus IQ is that emotional intelligence can be developed purposefully. There are a number of books and resources available that are worth researching if you’re seriously interested in improving yours. To get started, experts recommend reducing your stress levels as stress is known to mask your ability to tap into your emotions. From there, take some time to recognize your own emotions and learn more about your strengths and weaknesses, as well as read social cues to read into others’ nonverbal communications.

The Digital Workplace – How It’s Changing the IT Job Market

Guest Post by Gil Artmoore

The Digital Workplace - How It's Changing the IT Job Market

It’s no secret to anyone who has lived through the last several decades that technology has radically changed just about every aspect of our lives.   Try to imagine living without smartphones, Facebook, and Google in today’s world. It’s revolutionized our professional lives as well.

Digitization has also had a significant effect on the IT (Information Technology) job market. IT workers have had to continually adjust to an ever-shifting set of demands that also offer tremendous new opportunities to those who want them.  Far from the classic figure of the coal miner put on the street when the world evolved past a need for their services, IT is an industry that almost always replaces older functions with opportunities for growth.

Let’s look at some of the ways the digitization of the workplace has changed the way we work, how it has affected the job market for IT professionals, and what kinds of opportunities it will bring to IT professionals in the future.

How Automation Changed The IT Job Market

The early part of this century saw a dramatic shift from jobs that required no expertise with digital systems to ones where people couldn’t get by without those skills.  Everything moved toward jobs that require knowledge with digital systems, and as you might expect, this became a huge boon for IT professionals who manage the systems everyone needed to start using.

The next revolution came years later, when a drive for increased efficiency demanded systems that required less manual touchpoints.  This wasn’t always an easy transition for IT professionals, and while it did create a skills gap for some years, the workforce has largely adapted and is ready to move with the digital workplace into the 21st century.

The New Opportunities Automation Has Created

Automation and the digital workplace have had a substantial effect on the IT job market, and while that initially looked like a net negative that would eliminate jobs, it instead transformed and relocated them.  One of the most visible ways this manifested itself was in the rise of cloud computing.

Cloud computing is an arrangement where, instead of owning, operating, and maintaining servers and other infrastructure equipment internally, companies now have the ability to pay outside vendors like Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure to host those services on their servers.

This did initially lead to the elimination of many IT jobs for system administrators who were there to maintain and administer in-house servers and network equipment, but the flip side is that the cloud vendors needed to hire people to maintain those systems once they were in charge of them.   Literally their entire business revolved around running servers for their customers, and they needed someone to manage the physical hardware.  As a result, system administrators went from being support staff at law firms, financial services companies, or wherever they worked, to driving revenue at a company whose entire business was being one big IT department.

Another major net positive the change in the IT job market brought to IT professionals was that remote work became not only feasible, but commonplace.  Given that cloud computing commonly operates on distributed systems (meaning the same data and functions are duplicated across and run from systems often separated by hundreds or thousands of miles), there’s no single data center to manage like most companies had in years gone by.  Without needing to be physically present to manage the systems, many administrators have gotten a greater work/life balance in this new arrangement.

Finally, IT work has become more collaborative and made employees who may not be in close proximity to each other a lot more equal than they used to be.  Many companies have traditionally had IT employees at corporate HQ, and local IT teams at other offices who often felt like they were on the outside looking in when it came to having their voices heard or being considered for opportunities.  The nature of cloud computing mitigates that dynamic to a great degree, and provides a more level playing field for IT staff no matter where they’re located.

Conclusion

The advent of the digital workplace has not only not led to the prosperity of the IT labor force, but has even eliminated many of the difficulties and frustrations associated with IT work in years gone by.  Many companies have begun enjoying the benefits of using modern technology to build internal structure, and IT professionals will continue to enjoy the benefits of a more focused IT career for many years to come.

About the Author

Gil Artmoore has spent the past decade working in various roles in IT departments for many businesses both small and large. Recently, Gil started writing out the things he has learned, experienced, and witnessed in the small business and tech world during his career. He is eager to share his insights with the rest of the world.

Digging into the Trends and In-Demand Skills of the Canadian IT Job Market

Omar Khan By Omar Khan,
Account Executive at Eagle

Digging into the Trends and In-Demand Skills of the Canadian IT Job Market

 

Having worked in Western Canada’s IT staffing industry for several years, I’ve had the opportunity to see trends come and go, and I find it especially interesting to look deeper into what’s driving them. In our industry, perhaps the two most common trends we regularly monitor are overall hiring trends and demands for specific skills. Here are a few of my observations about what’s happening in the market today.

Overall Hiring Trends

Companies across Canada continue to talk about skills shortages and this will continue to be a topic of focus in the future. Managers in the IT sector are finding that additional duties are being put on their plates and thus the need for additional staff is growing. This lack of IT personnel not only affects the IT department but has an impact in other parts of the organization.

To address staffing issues, a trend that we have seen is that more and more organizations are hiring junior staff. They invest and hope to retain them by paying them well and/or train them on additional skills.

Another trend on the rise to address the shortages is allowing more remote work from different parts of the country, therefore gaining access to a larger talent pool.

Organizations are increasingly turning to staffing firms to help with their contingency workforce. Due to hiring freezes, contract work is on the rise and organizations are bringing in a contingent workforce, as contingent workers do not count towards organizational headcount.

Overall, we expect that organizations will continue to use staffing firms in large volumes, to access greater candidate pools to find top talent and to manage their contingent workforce.

More Specific In-Demand Skills

To understand where the location of job opportunities and what skills clients are hunting for most, it’s best to start at the top and understand what’s driving demand. Knowing what organizations are prioritizing and valuing gives insight into what kind of contractors they want to hire. Here are 8 specific trends I’ve noticed, and the in-demand skills as a result:

  1. Trends related to digital transformation continue and individuals with Transition and Change Management experience are growing in demand. In terms of accreditation for these types of roles, we are seeing requirements that include PROSCI for Change Managers and PMP for various other IT roles. The PMP certification is an indication there is more of an emphasis on soft skills for IT professionals to encourage productive collaboration.
  2. Hybrid-like roles are emerging as certain IT Professionals are wearing multiple hats i.e. Business Financial Analyst, Project Managers with Change Management backgrounds. On the notion of multiple hats, Managers are being asking for certification in AGILE, PMP and Scrum.
  3. The Cloud continues to be a popular subject and, with that, roles specializing in cloud migration, cloud system engineers, cloud architecture and cloud developers are also growing in popularity. Through these respective clouds, we are seeing more demand for experience in Virtual Machines.
  4. Healthcare continues to see transformation and in the needs of IT personnel. Cyber Security around healthcare is becoming more and more important. For example, many provinces are continuing to put strong emphasis on confidentiality of Electronic Medical Records and the patient privacy that surrounds them. This increases the need for security professionals across the country, especially in healthcare industry.
  5. Making sense of the overload of information and data in today’s business landscape is on the rise. Professionals with backgrounds in analyzing big data are in high demand. Roles such as BI Analysts and Data Scientist are roles our organization has filled and we continue to see demand.
  6. There is also consistent demand regarding network administrations, help desk and desktop support. Particularly around network administration, we are seeing requirements in certification such as CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) and other Cisco Certifications in security.
  7. Speaking of certifications, these can add up to 10 % in people’s salaries and add specialized knowledge. Certification in ITIL, MCSA (Microsoft certified solutions Associate), SAS and BI all are proving to be valuable.
  8. In many cases, tech is mixing with other areas of organizations. For example, we’re seeing more and more IT roles with more of marketing background in SEO, PPC, and Email Marketing .

Of course, that is just a few things we’re seeing right now. The future will see more opportunities in different areas. Although already popular, we’re bracing for an influx in demand for Blockchain, Machine Learning and AI.

Breaking the Stigma of Independent Contracting and the Gig Economy

The “Gig Economy” is a prevalent buzzword and drastically grew in popularity as services like Uber became mainstream, but IT Contractors know it is nothing new.

While industry experts, economists and business experts frequently laud the trend, speaking of the benefits it brings to companies, economies and individuals, there continues to be a stigma to being an independent contractor or gigger. Some professionals are hesitant to accept a temporary or contract job, feeling that it’s a mere sign they’re unable to find full-time work and that this is a last resort. They believe it will lead to a dead-end job. It is also common to hear critics claim that participants in the gig economy are not there by choice and, in fact, are being exploited by greedy employers and staffing agencies.

Research proves that most contract professionals are in their positions by choice and are definitely succeeding in their careers. A 2016 McKinsey & Company study found that 70% of gig workers are participating in the gig economy because they want to. A little more than half of them are casual earners, who also have other full-time jobs, where others are free agents who are using it as their primary income.

Breaking the Stigma of Independent Contracting and the Gig Economy

The study found that those 70% are also experiencing strong job satisfaction. The MBO Partners State of Independence in America 2019 further backed the notion that contractors enjoy their career choice, stating that more than half of independent workers feel more financially secure than in their traditional jobs, and 70% plan to continue their current path.

In a world with so much criticism and stigma, why do IT professionals choose to be independent contractors and what makes those 70% never want to turn back?

  1. There are Plenty of Job Opportunities, Especially in IT. A combination of fast-paced technology projects that require specializations, a growing IT skills gap around the world, plus a desire to cut costs and headaches with fewer full-time employers are all leading organizations to raise the amount of IT contractors they use.
  2. The Flexibility is Insane. The freedom and flexibility that come with contracting is nothing that can be experienced as a full-time employee. There are some restrictions based on client needs, but overall, IT contractors get to choose where they work, when they work, and what kind of projects they take on.
  3. It’s a Break from the “9 to 5”. This goes beyond flexibility. For some people, working in that same environment all day every day is long, stale and depressing. Independent contractors can break things up, deciding to work for another client on certain days. Plus, they can eliminate awkward employer-mandated team-building workshops.
  4. Their Entrepreneur Spirit Can Shine. Some individuals are regular entrepreneurs. They want to oversee their own business, take on their own marketing and grow into something bigger. Independent contracting is the perfect steppingstone to start that journey.

Independent contracting, the gig economy and temp work (whatever you want to call it) is not for everyone. As noted earlier, 30% of people are stuck there and would prefer a full-time job. Being independent comes with stress and uncertainty. A permanent position is also the ideal place to build experience and skills that allow you to be a specialized contractor.

If you’re considering becoming an independent contractor but are hesitating, what’s stopping you? If you’re already there, would you ever go back? If you have gone back, why did you? We’d love to learn where you are in your journey and help you through your hesitations.

Landing Your First Job in the Tech Sector in Canada

Sam Rahbar By Sam Rahbar,
Director, Training & Corporate Recruitment at Eagle

 

Landing Your First Job in the Tech Sector in Canada

 

Having moved to Canada at the age of 20, I personally experienced spinning wheels in the “job search”, feeling lost and hopeless. Fast forward 20 years later, there are thousands more jobs in the market but the challenges seem to remain the same.

I am approached every day by IT professionals through LinkedIn who are planning to move to Canada. They consistently ask me for direction and advice so I thought I would capture my thoughts once and for all.

Canada has been enjoying a steady growth in the tech sector, thanks in part to immigration policies that are driving U.S companies to expand their operations in Toronto and throughout Canada, according to an article by CIC News.

The article states that between 2013 and 2018, there were 80,100 tech jobs created in Toronto, as well as 22,466 tech degrees issued. That means there were 57,634 more tech jobs than tech grads. The article references a CBRE report that says “Toronto and the San Francisco Bay Area stand out as strong tech talent job creators each adding at least 54,000 more tech talent jobs than graduates,” the CBRE report says.

This should surely mean that it would be easy to land an IT gig in Canada, right? Unfortunately, it’s not quite that easy because “Canadian Experience” is a common requirement. Just ask thousands of IT professionals who immigrate to Canada in hopes of picking up where they left off and continuing their career in Technology in Canada.

Here are a few tips to consider in landing your first IT job in Canada:

Don’t Rely Too Much on IT Staffing Agencies

There are many IT specific staffing firms/recruitment agencies in Canada (over 330!). They operate by charging their clients (companies who are hiring) to find them top talent (IT professionals) within a very short timeline. Clients invest good money to have access to candidates with recent and relevant experience, ideally from a competitor across the street (i.e. Banks wants people from similar banks and phone companies want people who worked for their direct telecommunication competitors). This applies across the board for 95% of the agencies out there. They thrive on providing access to Just-In-Time talent.

While you may be qualified and capable of doing these jobs, they are looking for more than someone who can do the job, they also want someone who has done the job.

Because of this, Agency Recruiters will rarely be helpful to you until you have your first local job or contract. At that point, you will want to start building a relationship with them and they will fast track your next step, guaranteed!

Apply to Jobs Directly, and Target Smaller Companies

In continuation of the previous point, apply directly to the companies you are targeting. Ideally, follow smaller companies.

Applying to job postings from the agencies or large organizations means you will be playing the waiting game. Big companies/brands tend to have many openings, but they also must screen through hundreds if not thousands of applicants for their openings. And, they also tend to hire individuals with local experience and from their competitors. Since their applicant pools is so vast, they can afford to be picky.

Small companies, on the other hand, typically do not have big recruitment budgets and they are looking for individuals who want to wear multiple hats. They are open to developing the right candidate, as it is win/win for both parties.

Finally, regardless of where you apply, make sure to keep track of your resume/application. This way you can follow-up, and it will also save you from looking disorganized (.i.e. you won’t be that candidate that applies to the same job multiple times).

Work with Career Coaches and Job Developers

There are many organizations who provide support in the job search world. Work with independent, government-backed entities such as Destination CEO. If you are in Toronto, connect with superstars such as Meena Dowlwani, who is doing some incredible work bridging skill and employment gaps. You might also check out agencies such as Costi, who offer various workshops that will keep your job hunt skills sharp!

Network

This is my #1 piece of advice. I cannot stress enough the power and importance of Networking. If you are looking for a fulltime role, your personality, energy, vibe and communication is 90% of the deal. None of these traits shine through on your resume!

Be Visible

Your LinkedIn profile needs to be up-to-date. Once you make meaningful connections, it is key that you follow up on LinkedIn and also connect in platforms such as this one. There are way more backdoor references that happen through LinkedIn than you can imagine! To many IT recruiters, if you don’t exist on LinkedIn, you do not exist!

Stay Positive

Desperation is visible, so don’t let it affect you! Be mindful of your attitude and approach your search with smile and energy! Keep this in mind, along with all the other tips and you’re sure to be a step ahead in your new job search.

Best of luck!

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.