Welcome to the WEdata Sector Blog Series where we review the supply and demand of labour for each of the region’s top sectors of employment. To read more blogs like this, visit www.workforcewindsoressex.com/sectors.



The two sectors of ICT – Information, Communication, and Technology (NAICS #51) and Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services (NAICS #54) have a combined total of 2,938 businesses that account for 8.8% of businesses in the Windsor-Essex region. ICT has 231 businesses employing 1,950 workers and Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services has 2,707 businesses employing 8,850 workers.  These two sectors employ approximately 10,800 workers or 6% of the total workforce in Windsor-Essex.

Organization Size: Nearly two-thirds of the businesses (1,979) in these sectors are owner-operated with no employees: 57% in ICT and 68% in Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services. Of the 959 businesses with employees, most are small with less than 10 workers: 83% of the Professional, Scientific, and Technical sector and 63% of the ICT sector businesses.  

Demographics: The female : male gender ratio of workers is approximately 9 : 11 in ICT and Professional, Scientific, and Technical.  There are greater gender disparities in sub-sectors with females making up more than 60% of the workforce in legal services; accounting and tax preparation; and other professional, scientific, and technical services. In contrast, male workers represent more than 75% of the workforce in architectural, engineering, and related services; and computer systems design and related services.  Males outnumber females 6:4 as self-employed workers in both sectors. While ICT had no unpaid family workers, there were 20 in Professional, Scientific, and Technical and all were were female.

ICT workers tend to be younger with the largest proportion of its workforce (40%) under 34 years old, compared to the Professional, Scientific, and Technical sector which has more than less than 30% under 34 years old.  In the Professional, Scientific, and Technical sector more than 50% of workers are between 35 – 54 years old, and about 25% over 55 years old.

Work Activity and Income: The median income for full-year, full-time workers in ICT is $58.7K and in Professional, Scientific, and Technical it is $57.5K, which are both well above the national median income of $36.5K. In these sectors full year, part-time workers had median incomes of about $14K and part-year, full-time and part-time workers had median incomes of about $17K.

Education and Income: Over 60% of ICT workers and over 80% Professional, Scientific, and Technical workers have post-secondary education, including apprenticeship, college, and university qualifications.  Workers with apprenticeships, university certificates, and university degrees have the highest median incomes, followed by workers with college qualifications, then those with high school diplomas, and finally those with less than high school qualifications have the lowest median incomes.

Retirement: National projected Sector Retirement rates until the year 2026, range from a low of 2% in ICT to a high of 5.5% in Legal, accounting, consulting, and other professional services. These rates are projected to equal several hundred retirements for each of the next seven years. Generally, Occupational Retirement rates in these sectors are around the national rates projected of 2%, with Accounting technicians and bookkeepers slightly over 3% and Computer and Information systems managers and Natural and applied scientists slightly under 2%.  According to the Canadian Occupational Projection System (COPS) data the national median retirement age for Engineers, Architects, Scientists, and ICT workers is about 63-64 years old.

Education and Training: The Enrollment by Institution page shows how many students are enrolled in post-secondary programs at colleges and universities across Ontario. Organisations and businesses can search for the programs and institutions that they recruit and hire graduates from to see recent enrollment numbers for specific programs and institutions. Many local employers are concerned about the supply of skilled workers for their industry. Those businesses that want to attract the best and brightest talent are wise to be proactive and build relationships with education and training institutions and their instructors. Going even further to develop onsite opportunities for cooperative education and internship placements for students also gives employers an opportunity to test-drive potential employees. Everyone benefits. Local employers in this sector have stressed the need for education in both secondary and post-secondary schools to update their curriculum to reflect the different types of technologies and softwares that are being used in this industry. Employers see great value in this industry through practical learning experiences, such as co-op placements and internships.

Automation: These projections indicate how much of a given occupation’s work activities could be automated. They reflect automation predictions that routine activities, such as predictable physical work and processing and collecting data, are more susceptible to automation, while those at low risk involve managing people and complex tasks employing expertise. The probability of automation for the Technicians and Technologists in these sectors is higher than for Computer Programmers, Architects, and Industrial Designers.

While automation may lead to some job losses and task restructuring, it is important to keep in mind that the Talented Mr. Robot report and others have concluded that in actuality less than 5% of occupations could be completely automated. The authors suggest that mitigating the potential negative effects will take collaboration between all sectors to increase understanding of the implications, identify local technological strengths and opportunities, and provide education and training to those whose jobs will be impacted. They also acknowledge that automation in sectors is likely to be slower than initial predictions for multiple reasons, including as prohibitive costs, some technological advances are not occurring as quickly as predicted, and people’s preference that humans rather than machines to perform certain tasks. Consultations with local employers show that automation will mostly happen in tasks such as data analysis, data collection, bookkeeping, and analytics.

Locally, employers in this sector have identified several needs:  for workers with software development skills, including knowledge of multiple programming languages and frameworks; to develop a talent base through greater enrollment in and graduation from local ICT programs; and to retain highly skilled graduates and workers. According to local employer consultations also conducted by the Local Employment Planning Council, there is a desire for more experienced employees in the computer technology area of this industry. There has been an indication from some employers that they are having difficulties finding qualified and experienced employees to fill roles such as Senior Software Developers and Full Stack Developers.

For more information about the ICT sector visit https://www.workforcewindsoressex.com/tech-sector/

Sources: Census 2016; The Talented Mr. Robot (2016).  

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