B.C. tech sector expects to create 3,000 new jobs

British Columbia technology companies expect to generate at least 3,000 new jobs this year, according to a recent survey of the sector. The forecast represents a five per cent increase over last year’s figures.

The biggest demand will be for software and hardware engineers, customer support staff, sales and marketing staff, and technical managers.

“This robust job growth shows the resilience of B.C.’s technology sector,” said Bill Tam, president and CEO of BC Technology Industry Association. “Our industry has added back all of the jobs lost in the downturn and has returned to peak employment levels.”

The BCTIA is an industry-funded organization promoting the growth of British Columbia’s knowledge economy. The organization has more than 2,700 member companies which employ about 60,000 workers.

The 2012 BCTIA TechTalentBC survey, a bi-annual study of B.C. technology companies, shows that respondents grew their number of employees by more than 12 per cent between September 2010 and September 2011. Those same companies predict a need for at least 3,000 and potentially as many as 4,000 new employees between now and September 2012.

There are more than 8,000 companies in the B.C. technology sector, and more than 16,000 sole entrepreneurs. Over 80,000 people work in the sector, which has created more than 20,000 jobs during the past decade.

“The tech sector now employs more British Columbians than the forestry, mining, and oil and gas sectors combined,” said Tam.

The jobs in highest demand in the next year reflect the improved outlook for the industry since the economic downturn in late 2008.

After a strong focus on sales during the recession, companies are now reporting that they are increasing their staffing in research and development and in customer support. As the industry again nears full employment, there is growing concern about an emerging talent shortage.

While new graduates and a net migration of skilled workers from other parts of Canada and the world have increased the supply of labour to this market, the continued growth will create a new talent crunch as predicted in the prior 2010 TechTalentBC study.

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