High-tech Talent Shortage Could Impact Alberta Economy

Survey finds Albertans overwhelmingly see need for more high-tech workers

CALGARY, Dec. 3, 2012 /CNW/ - According to a recent survey commissioned by DeVry Institute of Technology, 86 per cent of Albertans believe that a shortage of technology workers would have a negative effect on Alberta's overall labour market and economy.   Such an impact could jeopardize the province's employment rate, which continues to be highest in the Country.

The sentiment of Albertans surveyed is consistent with actual workforce projections. In a report released by Ottawa-based Information and Communications Technology Association (ICTC), Canadian companies are projecting to hire 17,000 information and technology workers over the next five years. Yet, many companies in Alberta are having difficulty finding highly skilled information technology professionals.

"We're already starting to see the impact of a skilled IT worker shortage here in Alberta," said Jonathan Nituch, vice president of operations at Fortress Technology Planners. "Not enough Albertans are choosing Information Technology as a career path, which is leaving unfilled employment opportunities that are critical to economic growth."

In Alberta, direct and indirect employment in the information and communication technology sector now exceeds an estimated 100,000 Albertans.  This sector is responsible for 15 per cent of Alberta's GDP, making it larger than forestry and third only to energy and agriculture.

As the Information Technology sector continues to grow in Alberta, so does the need for programs that produce highly skilled workers for related positions. According to the survey, two out of three Albertans feel there is a need to increase access to technology programs at Alberta's post-secondary institutions and 95 per cent feel that Alberta needs to increase the number of trained and educated workers in the technology sector.

"The projected inability for Alberta to meet demand for IT professionals across industries presents a formidable challenge," said Ranil Herath, president of DeVry Institute of Technology. "The public and private sectors must work together to increase access to the kinds of educational programs that will ensure Alberta doesn't fall behind in our pursuit of an aptly-trained workforce."

Supplementing the offerings from public schools, DeVry recently made technology-focused bachelor degree programs more accessible with a new bursary. Eligible students can apply for up to $1,700 per semester in tuition relief, with a lifetime total value of $15,300. Additionally, DeVry offers two of its IT degree programs (electronics engineering technology and computer information systems) online, further increasing access to Albertans who live in communities removed from the major city centers of Calgary and Edmonton.

"Demand for IT workers was high when I chose to enter my field of study," said Jamie Craig, school technology support specialist with the Calgary Board of Education, who graduated with a computer information systems degree from DeVry in 2012. "But even I was surprised by the number of opportunities I had upon graduation.  This really is a sellers-market for those of us who pursue careers in technology."

Leger Marketing conducted the online survey of 1,000 Albertans aged 18 years and older in October 2012. DeVry Institute of Technology commissions quarterly career and higher education-related surveys to provide the Calgary community with insight into trends that impact local and provincial economies.

About DeVry Institute of Technology 
DeVry Institute of Technology in Alberta is part of the DeVry University system, one of the largest degree-granting higher education systems in North America, with more than 76,000 students enrolled in the United States and Canada. At more than 95 locations, DeVry University delivers practitioner-oriented undergraduate and graduate degree programs, onsite and online, that meet the needs of a diverse and geographically dispersed student population. DeVry Institute of Technology offers degree programs in Business Administration, Computer Information Systems, Electronics Engineering Technology and Network Communications Management. In Canada, the government of Alberta grants approval for baccalaureate degrees awarded by DeVry Institute of Technology. In the United States, DeVry University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, www.ncahlc.org. DeVry University, a part of DeVry Inc. (NYSE: DV), is based in Downers Grove, Ill.  For more information about DeVry Institute of Technology, find us on Twitter @DeVryCalgary or visit www.devry.ca.

SOURCE: DeVry Calgary

For further information:

Keri Lee
NATIONAL Public Relations
Keri.lee@national.ca
403-531-0331

Dan Dement
DeVry University
ddement@devry.edu
619-618-9785

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