Are great devs gone extinct in Canada? Why your hiring cannot find the right talent

Andrey A.
Andrey A.
April 11, 2022 •2 min read

The COVID-19 pandemic compelled many Canadian businesses to adopt a digital-first mindset to survive. Enterprise companies, as well as startups, want to transform and digitalize their businesses very fast. They will need creative workers to adapt to change effectively.

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But most organizations have trouble finding and hiring needed dev talents that can help them grow. IT workers are now the second hardest group of professionals to recruit, and finding engineers, developers, programmers, DevOps, Data Analysts, and Mobile developers is only going to get harder.

The inability to find or retain talent was identified as the number one threat to companies' growth prospects. It led the employers to seek help outside of Canada - many companies are not confident they will find people with the skills they need and consider recruiting devs offshore.

Here is the KPMG's Business Outlook Poll important findings:

  • 79% said the pandemic changed the way they work, and they need more employees with IT skills
  • 69% said they plan to hire more staff over the next three years
  • 24% ranked cyber/information security as the top skill they need to hire
  • 20% ranked data analytics/analysis as the top skill required
  • 68% of businesses said they are having a hard time hiring people with the skill sets they need to grow
  • 52% are not confident they will find people with the skills we need and will consider recruiting outside Canada
  • 89% are investing in developing their workforce’s skills and capabilities

''Canadian businesses understand the power of technology and most have been making the necessary investments to digitize their operations'', says Mary Jo Fedy, National Enterprise Leader for KPMG in 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''

Some Canadian businesses say they can't find employees because applicants lack crucial soft skills such as dependability, flexibility, and a willingness to learn. It can make a labor shortage even worse in the long run, as businesses say those soft skills prove more valuable than hard skills in a post-pandemic world.

Now, candidates who match all of the above-mentioned criteria realize they are top talents and request quite high salaries. Based on that companies often have to pay more to get such candidates onboard.

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According to RBC’s analysis, employers have been actively looking for more creative soft skills in job postings between the first quarter of 2020 and 2021. Now, organizations are willing to invest in new hires; some companies are ready to train, coach, and mentor people if they possess valuable soft skills such as creativity and a willingness to learn. In return, they expect that employees who possess that soft skills will retain and then return the invest.

The lack of tech talent also results in an 8-12 week (or more) hiring process for companies based on a Glassdoor study by Dr. Andrew Chamberlain. The talent shortage and the laws of Economics have also meant that tech salaries for top roles have grown substantially and that companies often have to pay more for top developer talent. Based on that Canadian companies are now more open to working with outside parties to digitize their businesses. 

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Technology in the world has grown exponentially over the past years and is expected to keep growing. The world has moved towards an economy that heavily relies on technology. Competition for digitally skilled talent is accelerating globally. It may seem that great developers are impossible to locate - that they are never actually on the market as they do not need to be. Talents do not apply for jobs and often have so many recruiters hot on their heels that they can pick and choose the perfect role.

At UUUSoftware.com, we have been placing hundreds of engineers across various companies in Canada and the US for more than 14 years. We know the market specifics and are happy to share our expertise with you.

In our next article we will share our recommendations on what employers should do in this seemingly impossible scenario. Follow us to learn more!