Good news first! According to a new IT survey more than half of the people working in high tech will get a raise in 2014.
Hays Canada, an international recruitment consultancy with five offices in the country, conducted a salary survey from more than 140 Canadian IT employers. Hays researchers found that for the most part Canadian IT companies are overall optimistic about growth with 61 per cent of them predicting increases in business activity. When compared to last year, Hays found that there was a 13 point difference between forecasted and real decreases in business activity. In 2013, these same companies projected a six per cent dip in business activity. This translated into fewer people being hired for permanent positions.
This will not be the case for 2014. Hays found that:
- 39.5 per cent of employers expect permanent staff to increase in the upcoming year;
- 21 per cent expect it to decrease; and
- 39.5 per cent expect it to remain the same.
The survey also found that:
- 35 per cent of employers believe the economy will strengthen in the next six to 12 months, while 58 per cent believe it will remain the same;
- 53 per cent of employers expect to increase salaries by three per cent over the next 12 months;
- 25 per cent expect to increase salaries by three to six per cent, and
- 7.5 per cent expect to increase salaries by six to 10 per cent.
Rowan O’Grady, president of Hays Canada, said IT employers remain optimistic even when data suggests that a temperate outlook would be more prudent.
“Companies would be better served by producing more accurate assessments of their growth prospects and adjusting their hiring plans accordingly.”
Against this backdrop the skills shortages challenge persists. According to the survey two-thirds (64 per cent) of Canadian IT companies suffer from moderate to significant skills shortages. When asked about potential causes for skills shortages almost half (44 per cent) cite lack of training and professional development, while another quarter (26 per cent) think too few people are entering the labour market.
Hays Canada did provides some suggestions. Hays said there are options for Canadian companies that are frustrated by an inability to find skilled professionals, particularly at the mid management level where there is additional pressure to fill vacancies. It is possible to hire a slightly less experienced candidate with transferable skills who can be trained and mentored to develop into the ideal employee. However, employers will have to invest more in their human capital to achieve the desired results. Training courses on the latest platforms and systems are essential for employees to keep pace with adoption.
Knowledge transfer will become a key issue for many companies, according to Hays. Many will lose the baby boomer generation to retirement in the coming years. While 46 per cent of companies have or are implementing a succession plan, that number is too low. Unsuccessfully transferring knowledge from one demographic to the next will only serve to exacerbate shortages in all industries.