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Talent, talent, talent. In the new Economic Strategy for Calgary – Calgary in the New Economy, Calgary has set an ambitious but attainable goal to be the top destination for talent in Canada.

The right talent, in the right jobs, at the right time is the formula for healthy economic growth. But what does that mean and how do we get there?

Retraining workers mid-career is a major element of the Talent pillar of Calgary’s economic strategy. It’s one of what I’ve dubbed the three Rs – Recruit, Retain, and Retrain. We need to expand our education system and we need to put serious effort into retraining our people in this new, digital economy,” Mary Moran, President & CEO, Calgary Economic Development.

Calgary's unemployment rate might be higher than expected for a growing economy. With the rapid evolution of technology across all industries, what we are witnessing is a widening gap between the supply of talent that we have and what we need to fill jobs in this digital economy. We envision this new tool shrinking that gap.

First, we need to better understand what we are working with, where the gaps lie. In collaboration with the Information & Communications Technology Council (ICTC), Calgary Economic Development conducted research with 190 companies to better understand the most in-demand occupations and their associated skillsets in the city.

Then, profiles of highly-skilled displaced professionals - mainly from the oil & gas sector - were completed, showcasing the relevant skills that these workers already had, compared to upskilling requirements.

In the findings was a resounding theme that all things digital is where the skills gap exists. We know Calgary has a highly educated and technical workforce, but the greatest job demands now appear to require digital competencies, at a rate of 6:1.

The study led to the creation of a tool which highlights local, short-term,  upskilling pathways for displaced professionals and supports their successful transition to in-demand careers, particularly in technology-focused roles. A web platform has been created that will help displaced workers learn what jobs are in demand and how to upskill to be a good fit for those roles.

There are over 2,000 open tech jobs in Calgary today – everything from, software developers, data scientists, and other digitally focused roles that Calgary companies are struggling to fill. Yesterday, along with ICTC, we were able to launch this new platform and start effectively and efficiently re-skilling our existing talent. 

“We were delighted to work with Calgary Economic Development to launch this granular skills mapping exercise and web platform to assist Energy professionals to transition to in-demand tech jobs in Calgary. This is a unique and pivotal initiative for narrowing the skills gap and preparing the workforce for fast growth sectors in Calgary,” Namir Anani, ICTC President and CEO.

A link to the full report, Mapping Calgary’s digital future: Tech employment opportunities for displaced workers, can be found here.


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