The technology sector is seeing rapid change across its hiring practices. In part one of our three part insight into the global technology hiring landscape, our U.S. and Canada Technology Practices share a snapshot of their local sectors to build a global view of the shifting trends in tech.
With the high demand for skilled technology professionals on the rise, companies are increasingly turning to innovative hiring strategies and technologies to attract top talent.
A focus on AI, Machine Learning and Cybersecurity in the U.S.
AI: Despite all of its ongoing exposure, AI continues to be one of the new technology trends because its notable effects on how we live, work and play are only in the early stages. AI is already known for its superiority in image and speech recognition, navigation apps, smartphone personal assistants, ride-sharing apps and so much more.
Beyond its most recognized usage in image/speech recognition, navigation and ride-sharing apps, AI will be used further to analyze interactions to determine underlying connections and insights. It will be used to help predict demand for services like hospitals, enabling authorities to make better decisions about resource utilization, and to detect the changing patterns of customer behavior, analyzing data in near real-time, driving revenues, and enhancing personalized experiences.
The AI market will grow to a $190 billion industry by 2025 with global spending on cognitive and AI systems reaching over $57 billion in 2023. With AI being utilized across so many industry sectors, new jobs will be created particularly in development, programming, testing, support, and maintenance.
Machine Learning: as a subset of AI, Machine Learning is also being deployed in all kinds of industries, creating a huge demand for skilled professionals. Forrester has made predictions on the future of these technologies:
AI, machine learning, and automation will create 9% of new U.S. jobs by 2025, jobs including robot monitoring professionals, data scientists, automation specialists, and content curators.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA): Like AI and Machine Learning, RPA, is another technology that is automating jobs. RPA is the use of software to automate business processes such as interpreting applications, processing transactions, dealing with data, and even replying to emails. RPA automates repetitive tasks that people used to do. Although Forrester Research estimates RPA automation will threaten the livelihood of 230 million knowledge workers or approximately 9 percent of the global workforce, RPA is also creating new jobs while altering existing jobs. McKinsey finds that less than 5% of occupations can be totally automated, but about 60 percent can be partially automated.
Cybersecurity Solutions and Services: still remain one of the top key areas that all companies, business sectors, and institutions see as being a crucial area of investment. With big-name brand hacking and phishing attempts announced on a daily basis, this may be one of the few recession-proof segments of the Technology ecosystem.
Research indicates that the global cybersecurity market was predicted to get to $173B in revenues by 2022 and with expectations to reach $266B in revenues by 2027.
The need for better cybersecurity measures is due in part to more organizations going through their own digital transformations, by investing and expanding into newer areas like AI, Cloud security and Internet of Things (IoT). Bigger movement onto Ecommerce platforms and a more integrated technology ecosystem of companies, their suppliers, and their partners are also areas of increased investment. This last point in particular opens up a different set of challenges where one point of failure opens up a wider chasm of potential ways for companies to get hacked.
Growth for blue-chip and venture capital in Canada.
The large CAD technology companies of yesteryear – ATI Technologies, Nortel, Cognos – are all gone. However, there’s still plenty of good news in the tech sector, despite the recent barrage of bad headlines. The heady days of 2021 and early 2022 are now firmly in the rear-view mirror, and along with the rest of the world the Canadian technology (TEC) ecosystem has been impacted by layoffs, reduced valuations, and a reduction in capital allocation.
However, everything is relative and many of Canada’s blue-chip TEC companies remain larger than they were in 2022. This trend is also true in the venture community, with a report from the Canadian Venture Capital Association stating that 2022 was the second-highest year on record for Canadian venture capital. Companies such as Slack, WhatsApp, and Airbnb were all founded during the 2008/2009 recession and became market leaders in their segment.
We are feeling a return to cautious optimism in the market and expect many great Canadian TEC companies to be founded and grown in the coming 12 – 24 months.
In terms of talent, we continue to see a demand for high-quality executives with a particular focus on anything digital, data analytics, and focused on finance and revenue functions.
This is being driven by investors doubling down on the need for companies to be profitable and have robust balance sheets. From a candidate perspective, several executives who moved to growth companies during the pandemic have been impacted by dropping company valuations and find themselves part of a business unable to raise significant growth capital. Additionally, layoffs from large-cap US tech firms in Canada have impacted candidates at Country Manager and SVP level.
We would therefore suggest that for well-capitalized TEC companies, now is a very attractive time to recruit high-quality executives.
Finally, while executive recruitment is not as buoyant as it was in 2021, we are seeing a significant uptick in clients utilizing Interim talent to support various initiatives. The flexible, low-risk/high-impact nature of Interim executives fits very well with current market conditions, and we predict this will continue to be an important part of the TEC ecosystem in Canada.
For more information on what is happening in your local tech sector, contact our authors in the U.S. or Canada Technology practices, or get in touch with us here. You can also find your local Odgers Berndtson contact here.
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