Global Interest in Canadian Tech Jobs up 58% Since 2015
How large a presence do foreign job seekers have in the Canadian tech job market and how much has it changed over time?
- The share of clicks on Canadian tech job postings coming from abroad rose to nearly 15% this February from about 9% in early 2015, a 58% jump.
- Foreign job seekers account for particularly high shares of clicks on well-paying, tough-to-fill tech jobs, especially for specialized roles in software development.
- Interest from abroad accounts for smaller shares of clicks on IT support and technician roles, many which already receive ample interest from within Canada.
- These results suggest that rising interest from abroad has played an important role supporting growth of Canadian tech jobs, without much loss of opportunities for tech job seekers within Canada.
Rising job seeker interest in Canadian tech postings from abroad
Canada’s booming tech sector has received a wave of global press coverage in recent years. These reports often highlight the growing interest in Canadian tech from job seekers abroad as an important boost to the sector, occurring at the same time as US immigration policy has tightened. What’s less clear is the magnitude of these developments. How large a presence do foreign job seekers have in the Canadian tech job market and how much has it changed over time?
Indeed job seeker click data show Canadian tech jobs have seen a meaningful increase in interest from abroad. The share of clicks on Canadian tech job postings coming from abroad rose to nearly 15% this February from about 9% in early 2015, a 58% increase.
Interest from abroad in Canadian tech is especially concentrated in more specialized tech positions, accounting for over 25% of clicks on postings for several software developer and engineer roles. In general, tech job types with higher foreign click shares appear to be tough-to-fill roles. They typically receive fewer total clicks per job posting than other tech jobs, while offering higher pay. Without the recent rise in global interest in Canadian tech, these jobs would probably be even harder to fill, suggesting Canadian tech’s increased popularity abroad has been an important support for the sector’s rapid job growth in recent years.
Growth in foreign tech click share coming from outside the US
We track foreign interest in Canadian tech jobs by calculating the share of monthly clicks on tech-related job postings in Canada on Indeed coming from IP addresses outside Canada. Total tech job postings consist of more than 500 different job titles, ranging from IT support workers to machine learning engineers. Together, these titles accounted for slightly less than 6% of Canadian employer job postings on Indeed in 2018.
In early 2015, clicks from outside Canada represented slightly above 9% of total clicks on Canadian tech jobs. The share then rose steadily through 2017 and remained elevated throughout 2018. As of February 2019, foreign job seekers made up almost 15% of clicks on Canadian tech postings, a 58% increase in click share from four years earlier. Overall, these data confirm reports of growing international job seeker interest in Canadian tech.
One surprising finding is that rising foreign interest in Canadian tech isn’t being driven by US job seekers. Aside from a brief spike following the 2016 presidential election, the share of clicks on Canadian tech jobs from the US has been stable at around 4%.
Instead, job seekers from India have played an outsized role in driving the foreign click share increase. Tech clicks from India were already rising before 2017, but doubled over the year from 2% to 4% of Canadian tech clicks, in line with our earlier finding that Canada has experienced a large jump in searches by Indian job seekers. About as many clicks on Canadian tech jobs now come from India as from the US, in contrast with early 2015 when tech clicks from the US outnumbered those from India by over 2.5-to-1.
Clicks on Canadian tech jobs are also expanding elsewhere. Job seekers searching from foreign countries besides the US or India have climbed from 4% to 7% of total clicks on Canadian tech jobs since early 2015.
The UK, Brazil, and France have the largest footprints within this group, but together accounted for less than 10% of total foreign clicks on Canadian tech jobs in 2018. This underscores how the rise in job seeker interest in Canadian tech has been a broad global phenomenon.
Developer jobs receive high shares of interest from outside Canada
The extent of foreign interest in Canadian tech jobs in 2018 varied among roles. Foreign job seekers accounted for over a quarter of clicks on several developer and engineering positions, including Android and Python developer as well as network and cloud engineer. These roles generally require highly specialized skills and often pay well.
On the flip side, foreign job seekers accounted for less than 10% of clicks on several other kinds of tech jobs, especially lower-paying support roles, such as computer technician and help desk analyst. Several management positions in the tech field also have relatively low foreign click shares. While some of these roles might still attract large numbers of clicks from abroad, their numbers pale in comparison with the higher levels of clicks coming from within Canada.
Foreign job seekers more likely to click on tough-to-fill, well-paying tech roles
Tech jobs that generally receive fewer total clicks per posting than others tend to be more reliant on job seeker interest from abroad. In 2018, tech jobs with foreign click shares above 14% (the median foreign share) received 39% fewer total clicks per posting than jobs less reliant on foreign job seekers.
Fewer clicks per posting may mean fewer applicants and greater hiring difficulty. This suggests that without strong interest from abroad, many jobs that already get few clicks would be even tougher to fill. By contrast, foreign job seekers generally account for smaller shares of clicks on the kinds of tech jobs for which interest from within Canada is already relatively high.
Foreign job seekers also account for greater shares of clicks on higher-paying tech jobs. Posted annual salaries of tech jobs with higher foreign click shares averaged $76,000 in 2018 compared with $63,000 for other tech roles. High-paying management jobs which typically receiving less interest from abroad are an exception to this pattern.
Foreign job seeker interest an important factor supporting tech job growth in Canada
Several Canadian cities rank high among places where tech jobs have grown most in North America in recent years. Our results suggest job seekers from abroad have played an important role supporting this growth. In particular, the rising share of clicks on Canadian tech jobs from abroad has come at a time when employment rates of recent university-educated newcomers to Canada have surged. Moreover, foreign job seekers account for particularly high shares of clicks on several specialized developer jobs that would probably be even harder to fill without interest from abroad.
These results also suggest that growing interest in Canadian tech jobs from abroad is probably not having significant negative effects on opportunities for Canadian tech job seekers. In particular, foreign job seekers account for less than 10% of clicks on a number of tech roles for which job seeker interest from within Canada is already ample. In contrast, the higher salaries and relatively few total clicks on the tech roles for which foreign job seekers have a larger presence suggest these jobs still offer plentiful opportunities for Canadians with the right skills.
We track foreign interest in Canadian tech jobs by calculating the share of clicks on employer job postings for tech-related jobs coming from IP addresses outside Canada. Tech roles include postings with normalized job titles that fall under one of 560 roles which have significant responsibilities related to the development, application, or maintenance of information technology.
Our analyses of total clicks per posting and average salaries are based on 2018 annual data among postings of tech job titles that received at least 50,000 clicks during the year. The weighted-median foreign click share for these roles in 2018 was 14%. We compare the weighted-average clicks per posting and posted salaries of job titles that are above and below this threshold. Clicks per posting are presented on a normalized basis, with the weighted average clicks per postings across these job types set to one. Dashed lines in both scatter plots reflect statistically significant coefficient estimates from frequency-weighted linear regressions.
Brendon Bernard is an Economist at the Indeed Hiring Lab, focusing on the Canadian labour market. His research interests include analyzing how detailed trends in the job market fit in with broader developments in the Canadian economy. Brendon was previously an economist with Department of Finance Canada, where he focused on analyzing Canadian financial sector policy and the U.S. economy. He holds a Master’s in Economics from the Vancouver School of Economics at University of British Columbia, as well as a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from Queen’s University.