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The Tech Workforce: What to Expect in 2021

May 12 2021

It has been a challenging year for tech workers – a year of restrictions, isolation, and the shift to a remote work arrangement. Though the wider labor market is still in recovery mode, the Canadian tech sector has managed to stand out. In March, employment in scientific, professional, and technical services rose to 6 per cent over the pandemic. Indeed Canada reported that job postings for tech roles were up 30 per cent from pre-pandemic levels, with higher demand for software developers, engineers etc.

We sat down (virtually ofcourse!) with Jonathan Clark, Managing Director at Provision to gain his insights on the current market trends and what the Canadian tech workforce can expect in 2021.

Q. How should candidates prepare for the new wave of hiring to come?
Jonathan Clark: Be flexible in your job search. Tech professional seeking new employment opportunities need to be flexible and proactive with their job search. With remote hiring on rise, candidates need to be comfortable with virtual hiring tools and stay up-to date with the newest technologies and concepts. Candidates must prepare themselves for online third-party technical assessments. Companies conduct these skill assessment evaluations to identify required skills and gauge candidate knowledge for the position in need. Codility is one such platform that enables employers to screen thousands of engineers. An automated test of programming skills, candidates are invited to take the test and demonstrate their programming ability on multiple coding assignments. Soft skills play a bigger role in the new remote environment – can make or break your career. Whether you’re looking to take up a new role or move up the ladder with your current role, employers assess your interpersonal and relations skills to gauge your fit and success in remote work.


Q. Why is networking important in IT?
Jonathan Clark: Networking is a great way for candidates to gather and share information on the market and help one another to identify new opportunities. If the pandemic has kept you out of touch, it is time to re-establish those connections within your network. Now, employers are more likely to hire candidates that have been referred by their colleagues or others within their network. Networking is extremely important in economic downturns when employers are flooded with resumes and strapped for time to fill multiple positions.

Q. Has the economic downturn changed IT compensations and perks?
Jonathan Clark: From the “perks” standpoint, yes. Candidates no longer require free parking services, weekly office lunches or game nights etc. Employers have become more flexible in relation to work life balance and time management – the ultimate perk that techies appreciate. Some verticals such as travel and leisure have had to scale down due to the pandemic, however Toronto’s thriving telecommunication and financial services industry have witnessed tremendous growth and driven higher compensation.

Q. How do tech workers see the future of remote work?
Jonathan Clark: According to an Indeed survey, 6 out of 10 tech workers are willing to take a pay cut to continue working from home. Two-thirds of tech workers predict that the growing acceptance of working from home will increase diversity in terms of race/ethnicity (72%), gender (77%) and disability (79%) and a whopping 94% believe it will boost geographic diversity, attracting new hires from different regions or cities. Remote work offers tech workers with newer opportunities without any geographic restrictions.

Q. How as tech talent migration affected hiring and retention?
Jonathan Clark: The war for tech talent is back and organizations that aren’t flexible will not be able to compete and sustain. The ability to work from anywhere is a gamechanger within the tech industry. Most tech companies are planning to incorporate hybrid workforce model – combining remote and on-site work, giving employees the autonomy to choose the option that works best for them. To attract and retain top talent, businesses need to review their compensation strategies, what’s fair and marketable based on the candidate’s location.

Q. Any advice for tech workers in 2021?
Jonathan Clark: The technical skills gap continues to widen. Technical roles such data analytics, software developers and engineers are in high demand this year. Companies are in the hunt for innovative developers, critical thinkers, and project managers. Tech experts need to focus on new technologies, concepts, and top grading their skills.

Talent is all around us – the real challenge is to find the “right fit” for the role. Connect with Jonathan Clark and partner with our recruitment specialists to find the right technical talent for your organization.