IT shortage provides opportunity for women

Partnership aims to support women in male-dominated industry
By Shannon Klie
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 12/19/2006

Over the next three to four years, the information technology field will need 89,000 new people, according to Canada’s Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC). This increased demand comes at a time when post-secondary enrolment in information technology and computer science has dropped 50 per cent in the past five years. With only about 8,000 students expected to graduate each year from post-secondary institutions in these fields, an extreme labour shortage is in the sector’s near future.

“The demand is far outstripping the supply,” said Paul Swinwood, president of ICTC, the sector council formerly known as the Software Human Resource Council.

Women represent an underutilized population in the IT field, making up only 25.3 per cent of workers. However, since the dot-com boom of the late 1990s, there’s been a major shift in the type of IT jobs and women represent the best source of talent for these jobs, said Swinwood.