CIOs face critical talent shortage

The latest evidence comes from CNC Global which released its “2006 in Review: IT Staffing Requirements in the Canadian Market,” a compilation of national statistics including year-end numbers that confirm the demand for IT professionals is up 14 per cent across the country over 2005.

Beyond the numbers, there are growing fears that IT departments in Corporate Canada (banks, insurance companies, retailers) are going to be especially hard hit.

Terry Power, president of CNC Global, says there’s a perfect storm of events brewing that will be causing some major hiring headaches for CIOs in Canada. “This isn’t like the single-event, Y2K-driven shortage experienced in 1999, the current skills shortage is systemic and could have far-reaching implications years down the road,” he says.

Schools are turning out far too few IT graduates at the same time many of the IT baby boom generation are making retirement plans, he adds.

A shortage of mainframe programmers will be particularly acute at large Canadian companies that maintain legacy infrastructures, he says. Further, most IT young people are shying away from traditional IT positions while moving to the more exciting, creative Web side of the business.

Powers advises CIOs to start developing their “five year talent-oriented strategy” now. “You don’t want to be taking four-and-a-half years to figure this out.”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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