Thousands of jobs in the technology sector are sitting vacant as New Brunswick’s employment rate continues to climb.
Information technology companies say there is a drastic shortage of software developers and IT specialists in the province, so much so that companies are now being forced to look outside of the province to fill positions.
“Looking for talent has always been a challenge to help our company grow,” said Mitch Manuel, president of Vimsoft, a broadcast-focused software solutions company in Moncton.
Manuel says the company is struggling to find qualified workers locally for an upcoming expansion.
“We do need senior developers and it’s a challenge to find them in Moncton,” he said.
Vimsoft is starting construction on a new building in May and over the next two years they plans to hire 15 new software developers.
Manual says he wants to hire locally, but may have to start searching outside of the province for employees.
According to 3+ Corporation, the economic development agency for the Greater Moncton area, there are currently 900 IT-related vacant job postings in the city.
“We have a shortage of people in those skills, now maybe we can bring them back and bring Canadians in who are unemployed from the west,” said Mike McBride, interim CEO of 3+ Corp.
The unemployment rate in the province last month climbed to 10.2 per cent.
Opportunities New Brunswick hosted an economic development summit Monday in Moncton. CEO Stephen Lund said of the 2800 vacant jobs province-wide, many are IT related positions.
“‘Lifelong learning,’ we hear that phrase used all the time it’s so critical. We need to train and retrain and make sure that our educational system from P to 12 is on board and we have to make sure that our universities and community colleges are on board this is a really critical aspect of our economy,” said Lund.
Lund says the shortage of IT workers is so critical that the 100 new full-time cyber-security jobs announced by IBM last month may have to be filled by bringing in people from outside the province.
Manuel says he’s not giving up on hiring his 15 new Vimsoft employees locally and is encouraging those New Brunswickers who are out of work to retrain for the future.
“That’s the good thing about computer programming is that it is a new world, so if you are committed to want to be in software development and database management after a one-year course you can get a really good foundation and quickly become a valuable part of our team,” Manual said.