“Canada’s Emerging Tech CEOs Say There Is A Growing Skills Gap between Needs and IT Grads” PwC

Aug 25, 2011 | Corporate Member News

Canadian emerging technology CEOs are finding it more difficult to add new qualified employees to their payroll, according to a PwC report exploring talent management issues for the Canadian emerging technology sector.

The report found 44% of CEOs listed recruiting new talent and management team members as their biggest hiring issue. What’s more, an overwhelming majority (72%) either don’t have a talent management strategy in place or aren’t sure if their existing strategy is effective.

“It is interesting to hear that IT entrepreneurs are challenged with finding qualified people,” says Peter Matutat, National Emerging Company Practice Leader, PwC. “At the heart of the issue may be that IT grads are coming out of school with a skill set that isn’t quite what employers are looking for.”

“The nature of emerging technology companies means they aren’t just seeking people with the technical know-how, but employees who are more well-rounded,” adds Matutat. “Start-up companies also highly value softer skills like creativity, an entrepreneurial spirit and business acumen.”

Tobi Day-Hamilton, director of advancement at the University of Waterloo Stratford Campus, says change needs to happen at the university level to ensure grads are equipped with the skills technology companies are looking for.

According to Day-Hamilton, “We’re seeing a skills gap in what grads learn in post-secondary and what companies are now requesting in employees. In recent years, we found students were specializing in one area of technology, which meant grads were lacking general business and creativity skills. Increasingly, these are attributes that are becoming must-haves for many employers.”

Day-Hamilton also stresses the importance of co-op education throughout the university experience.

“Employers want new hires to come in and hit the ground running, which is difficult to do if you don’t have the practical experience,” she says. “The more experience you can get before graduating, the better.”

The University of Waterloo has developed new program offerings to address this skills gap issue. The university is launching its Masters of Digital Experience Innovation this September and its Bachelor of Global Business and Digital Arts next year.

For job seekers, the industry looks positive. Turnover continues to be low with 81% of CEOs reporting less than 10% turnover and close to 70% with less than 5% turnover. The primary reasons for staff voluntarily leaving their companies last year were for higher compensation and new challenging opportunities (both 21%). Involuntary staff turnover was mostly attributed to poor performance (32%) rather than cost containment (11%), and 35% of respondents indicated they had no involuntary turnover at all.

For a full copy of the PwC 2011 Report on Emerging Canadian Software Companies, visit: www.pwc.com/ca/cv2r.

Follow PwC’s Technology group on Twitter at @PwC_Tech and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pwccanada.

About PwC
The firms of the PwC network provide industry-focused assurance, tax and advisory services to enhance value for clients. More than 161,000 people in 154 countries in PwC firms across the PwC network share their thinking, experience and solutions to develop fresh perspectives and practical advice. In Canada, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, an Ontario limited liability partnership, and its related entities have more than 5,700 partners and staff in offices across the country. Click here for more information.

“PwC” is the brand under which member firms of PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited (PwCIL) operate and provide services. Together, these firms form the PwC network. Each firm in the network is a separate legal entity and does not act as agent of PwCIL or any other member firm. PwCIL does not provide any services to clients. PwCIL is not responsible or liable for the acts or omissions of any of its member firms nor can it control the exercise of their professional judgment or bind them in any way.

Note to Editors: PwC changed its name from PricewaterhouseCoopers to PwC in the fall of 2010. “PwC” is written in text with a capital “P” and capital “C.” Only when you use the PwC logo is the name represented in lower case.

“PwC” refers to PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, an Ontario limited liability partnership, which is a member firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited, each member firm of which is a separate legal entity.

For further information:

Kiiran Chauhan
Tel.: 416 947 8983
Email: [email protected]

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