KPMG: Canadian firms struggling to source IT talent

02 September 2021 2 min. read
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Nearly 80% of Canadian businesses say they need more workers with digital skills, according to a report from KPMG Canada. The consulting firm polled more than 500 Canadian small- and medium-sized enterprises in August 2021.

Unsurprisingly, about 77% of Canadian businesses said the pandemic has accelerated their plans to digitize their operations. This has consequently boosted demand for scarce digital talent, with 68% of respondents saying they are having difficulty hiring people with the necessary skills. The inability to find and retain talent was identified as the top threat to growth prospects by surveyed businesses.

Most firms (69%) plan to hire more staff in the next three years, with cybersecurity (24%) and data analytics (20%) identified as the top two skills needed.

However, domestic digital talent scarcity might force businesses to seek out alternate avenues. More than half (52%) said they would consider recruiting outside Canada, while 89% said they were investing into employee skills development.

Canadian firms struggling to source IT talent

“Companies are looking inward for solutions and upskilling their existing workforce to become more digitally focused,” said Armughan Ahmad, president & managing partner, digital at KPMG Canada. “They're also starting to recognize micro-credentials to help expedite the upskilling of their employees. But for many businesses, these won't be enough as they need to innovate and re-think their business models, which will also require access to global talent to fill highly specialized roles.”

With most (82%) respondents citing a need to become more digitally integrated, 85% said they were increasing capital investment in buying new technology. Digitalization efforts often lead to the hiring of third parties, including IT managed services firm and consultancies. Seventy-three percent of Canadian businesses said they plan to use products or services from online platform providers, with 63% expecting to bring in third-party expertise and/or off-the-shelf software.

"Canadian businesses understand the power of technology and most have been making the necessary investments to digitize their operations," said Mary Jo Fedy, national enterprise leader for KPMG Canada. "The next challenge is ensuring they have the talent to use these new digital tools. While having the right technology is important, it's only effective if your team possesses the skills to leverage it."