Profile - Information Technology
The JobStart/Future Skills Sector Partnerships Program of Saskatchewan
Learning enabled a sector study of the information technology
industry in Saskatchewan. This industry profile is based on
that study, published in June, 2001.
The information technology industry established a partnership
of industry members and key stakeholders through funding and
support from the Sector Partnerships Program. These partners
worked together to carry out a study that identified current
and future hiring needs and training requirements.
Strategic planning enables industry and training providers
to work together to provide training opportunities that match
the skills the industry requires.
For more information about the Sector Partnership Report and
this industry visit the Executive
Summary. You'll need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view this PDF
The global scene
The Canadian scene
- Information technology (IT) is also referred to as information
and communications technology (ICT) and high tech (HT).
- Information technology continues to grow in economic importance.
- The strong growth is mainly driven by growth in telecommunications
equipment and services.
- The industry (excluding telecommunications) is continuing
to undergo rapid restructuring.
- Although hardware is still the largest part of the industry,
data communications (transmitting information) plays an increasing
- There is a significant shortage of qualified workers with
the skills that are in demand. This is a global phenomenon,
experienced most acutely in North America.
- Industry Canada divides the information technology area
(which it calls "information and communications technologies")
into two broad groups:
- Manufacturing Services
- Consumer electronics
- Electronic components
- Computer equipment
- Communications wires & cables
- Communications & telecommunications equipment
- Cable television
- Telecommunications services
- IT wholesaling
- Software and computer services
- Office machinery rental & leasing
- The Canadian IT industry had revenues (industry-wide income)
of $100.2 billion in 1997.
- Services accounted for 72% of all IT revenues, significantly
more than the goods or products part of the industry.
- From 1990 to 1997 revenues grew at a compound annual rate
of 8.5%. During this period the number of jobs in the IT industry
increased by 23.1%.
- Total employment in the Canadian IT sector in 1997 was
- Most of the gains in employment have occurred in software
and computer services.
- Canada shares an IT industry skill shortage with the rest
of the globe. Canada’s skill shortage has been affected
by a ‘brain drain’ of technology workers who are
enticed to the U.S. by higher wages and benefits.
Who works in the industry?
- Most full-time (46%) and part-time (35%) workers in the
IT industry are in the 25 to 34 age group.
- Men dominate in this field. It’s estimated that 20%
of IT workers are women, 1.75% are Aboriginal people, 1.2%
are people with disabilities, and 4.4% are visible minorities.
- In Saskatchewan, it is estimated that there are 247 information
technology companies who collectively employ over 10,000 people.
- An unknown number of companies have IT (information technology)
departments or employees providing IT support to the main core
of their business.
- The IT industry has been one of the fastest growing industries
in the provincial economy over a number of years, with an average
annual growth rate of more than 8%.
- The industry earns $1.6 billion annually.
- As elsewhere, there have been shortages of qualified workers.
Most companies recruit the majority of their employees from
within the province, but some have recruited from such places
as Ukraine, China and Pakistan.
Saskatchewan loses some IT employees, motivated by higher wages
and lower taxes, to Alberta, Ontario and the U.S. Saskatchewan
offers a lower cost of living which in some cases balances out
higher wages elsewhere.
- Due to the economic downturn in the high tech sector there
has been a softening in employment growth projections. But
even with the softening of demand, recent reports suggest
continued, though slower, growth and demand.
- There appears to be a growth in opportunities for multi-task
resource persons and sales personnel in the industry.
- Vacant positions also occur in the areas of programming, software
development, network engineers, Web-based application development,
computer support and business analysis and design. Employers
indicate that it is often difficult to find candidates with
the required skills and relevant experience for these jobs.
- The constant, rapid change and lack of standardization in
the industry make it difficult to accurately identify skill
shortages and needs.
- The ever-increasing use of the Internet and the growth of
e-commerce are transforming the way people and firms do business.
Small and large companies alike are involved in e-commerce
and need workers with skills in this area.
- Smaller companies require IT workers with general knowledge
rather than those who have specialized in one area.
The following list of related jobs provides an idea
of some of the jobs in the IT area.
Where there is a relevant occupational description in Saskatchewan
Job Futures, you can click on the job to go directly to that
description. You’ll learn more about the occupation, including
education and training requirements, work duties, wage information
and employment trends.
National Occupational Classification (NOC) numbers follow the
job title. You can use the NOC numbers to look up the occupations
in the NOC.
Other related jobs include: Web-based application developer,
multi-task resource person, technical writer, training manager,
sales and marketing manager, administrative support and auditor.
Where the Jobs Are
A lot of IT industry work is concentrated in Saskatoon and
Regina. There are also companies operating in smaller communities
throughout Saskatchewan. For example, in 2001 there were IT
companies in Prince Albert, Moose Jaw, North Battleford, Yorkton,
Canora, Esterhazy, Melville, Estevan, Weyburn, Big River, Humboldt
and Canoe Narrows.
Skills and Training
The IT skills required by employers change quickly. As a result,
changes in skill requirements are, and will continue to be,
a way of life for IT professionals. Frequent training will be
necessary to meet shifting needs for skills. People who work
in this field need to have a positive approach to lifelong learning.
The Software Human Resource Council, along with the Canadian
Information Processing Society (CIPS) and representatives of
the Canadian software and IT industry, has developed the Occupational
Skills Profile Model (OSPM). This model presents seven areas
in the software industry: technical, evaluation, business, operations,
integrity, data and education. It also describes the skills
and responsibilities associated with each of twenty-four occupational
streams in the industry.
Want to find out what kind of IT education and training programs
are offered in Saskatchewan? Check into What to Study? to find
out what’s available and where.
- The University of Saskatchewan, University of Regina and the
Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology (SIAST's
Palliser and Kelsey campuses) have received Canadian Information
Processing Society (CIPS) accreditation for their programs.
- SIAST (Kelsey, Wascana and Palliser campuses) also offers programs
in a number of technology disciplines that are nationally accredited
by the Canadian Technology Accreditation Board (CTAB).
As well as education and training programs offered by universities,
technical institutes, colleges and private institutions, there
are several professional designations that IT workers can earn.
- The U.S.-based Institute for Certification of Computing Professionals
(ICCP) offers two levels of certification.
- Associate Computing Professional (ACP), for entry-level professionals
- Certified Computing Professional (CCP), for experienced professionals
- To apply for the Information Systems Professional (I.S.P.) designation,
offered by the Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS),
the professional should have CCP certification and 5 years of
professional level experience.
Saskatchewan IT companies who were recently surveyed expect
the IT industry to continue to hold its own. They are not predicting
any major growth or change to 2003.
In the five-year picture, Saskatchewan companies indicate that
they see an increase in the number of full-time positions in
six out of the seven Occupational
Skills Profile Model areas:
Some of the positions listed in these areas include Web developers, GIS developers, statisticians, data processors, support staff, graphic design and IT marketing and sales.
The report "Global and National Economic Trends: Implications for Saskatchewan" (March, 2001) states that "in three years more than 65% of business will be done on-line, increasing the need for expertise in Information Technology (IT)." It goes on to project that in the Saskatoon area alone 65 new software engineers will be needed from 2001 to 2003.