The study shows that Canada has been an attractive destination for tech talent due largely in part to a more immigration-friendly national policy and labour cost advantage.
Most are arriving from India, Nigeria and Brazil, and moving to Mississauga, ON, Montreal, QC and Waterloo, ON.
Ontario, as a matter of fact, boasts the largest number of tech workers within the country, but smaller provinces like Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador are also experiencing rapid growth, the report found. Both reported the largest year-over-year growth in their respective tech workforces, at 16.3 per cent.
Windsor, ON has seen the highest growth in tech workers over the past year (28 per cent), followed by Cape Breton, NS and Timmins, ON.
This, the report suggests, “is reflective of broader workforce trends, with largely remote tech workers moving away from major metropolitan areas toward more rural locations.”
The report adds, “Employers of 1,000 or more individuals require a large technology workforce and prior to the pandemic, tech workers migrated geographically to those employers. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, that dynamic has changed. Workers are moving away from large tech hubs as employers are now recruiting workers in a reverse fashion because of the way the tech workforce’s way of working has changed from an office setting to more remote. Many have speculated about where these workers have gone, but to date, no real data exists collectively.”
TECNA highlights the importance of being able to locate tech talent, as this bolsters their mission to serve as the collective voice of the regional tech hubs and trade associations they represent in an effort to help grow the North American tech economy.
Canada has lost 1,672 workers to the U.S., but the report suggests it’s not significant, considering the population of the U.S. compared to Canada and the total tech workforce in each.
In fact, Canada is even attracting talent from major U.S. cities like Washington D.C., Boston, Chicago, and Philadelphia, and benefiting from investments by U.S.-based tech companies as they are choosing to expand and/or relocate to Canada.
Interestingly, a significant disparity of compensation across the same occupations is further contributing to expansion decisions in Canada. The average compensation for U.S. tech occupations, the report shows, is C$175,600 ( US$133,500), while the average compensation for the same tech occupations in Canada is C$100,400 CAD (US$73,897).
The creation of an open work permit stream for H-1B specialty occupation visa holders in the U.S. to apply for a Canadian work permit through the newly announced Tech Talent Strategy is also helping Canada pull ahead of the U.S in attracting and retaining tech talent.
CEO of Waterloo-based incubator Communitech, Chris Albinson, applauded this initiative.
“This groundbreaking program is set to bring 10,000 highly skilled professionals to our country, fortifying our position as a leading destination for tech talent,” he said. “In addition, the Toronto-Waterloo corridor, one of North America’s largest and fastest growing tech hubs, already attracts talented individuals on a daily basis, and this new initiative will propel our ecosystem to even greater heights.”
The top employers of tech talent in Canada, the report shows, are TD in ON, Desjardins in QC, Amazon in BC, the biggest universities in NS, NB, SK, and the government in other provinces and territories.
Other members of the top 25 tech employers in Canada include Bell, Google, IBM, Rogers, Telus, AWS, Amazon, RBC, and Microsoft.
The findings in this report were sourced from labour market data from numerous sources.