Economic diversification is a long-held pillar of resilient economies around the world. Building and strengthening a variety of sectors can help shield nations from global economic shocks and support a sustainable future. From 2017 onward, Alberta’s focus has been on economic diversification, with a strong note of technological enhancement and digitization. These investments will undoubtedly play an impactful role in the future economy of the province, and continue to propel industry demand for key digitally-skilled talent.
A number of top digital occupations stand out as in-demand across the Alberta economy. Leading this demand are roles like software developers, data scientists, full stack developers and cybersecurity analysts, among others. These are occupations that will drive business development and expansion, and ultimately, are central to the success of many sectors.
The need for these roles is substantial. The rapid pace of development in areas like ar- artificial intelligence and data science, coupled with the increased adoption of technology across sectors indicates an accelerating demand for digital roles in Alberta – one that is forecasted to reach nearly 9,000 by 2023. With a job growth rate double that of the overall economy in the coming years, total employment in key digital roles is expected to surpass 77,000 by 2023.
While the demand for these roles will be notable across the economy, certain sectors will act as leading drivers of employment in the province. These are: healthcare, ad- advanced manufacturing, cleantech, and interactive digital media. These sectors will not only generate opportunities for Albertans across a number of verticals, but they will be central employers of digital talent. With the advent of big data and emerging technologies like AR/VR creating ripples in healthcare for example, the sector’s demand for digital talent will reach nearly 1,000 over the next few years. In the digital media sector, the demand will surpass 3,000 by 2023. Filling this need must be at the forefront of supporting future growth in Alberta.
Some developments have already taken place on the path to diversifying and strengthening Alberta’s future economy; many of which have functioned to shine a light on the need for digitally-skilled workers to steer growth. Meeting industry demand however, will mean a concerted effort to build a strong and reliable supply pool of workers with critical skillsets – talent that will enable existing businesses and new entrepreneurs to continue to innovate and create solutions. Digitally-skilled youth, along with internationally-trained workers form two important components on this journey; as do other critical streams like women, career transitioners, Indigenous peoples, and persons with disabilities. Investments in economic diversification will continue to drive industry de- mand, accelerating the need for digitally-skilled talent. Our ability to meet these needs is rooted in an approach to talent and skill development that is inclusive, diverse, and future-oriented.