Canadian tech saw impressive growth in 2019, and there is currently a demand for 305,000 new tech workers in the country by 2023. With more major players choosing to grow their resources in Vancouver, and with huge strides in AI, automation and machine learning, the city is poised for more growth in 2020. However, we should expect the type of talent and environments in which we work to shift this year, to align with the demands of a changing workforce.

Last year there was an increased focus on diversity and inclusion, as more organizations began to open up their candidate pool. While we still have a long way to go in diversifying Vancouver’s tech talent pool, we’re beginning to see a wider variety of candidates lend their skill sets and unique perspectives to the industry.

In addition to advancing technology that is representative of everyone, hiring through a diverse lens has been beneficial to companies that are trying to recruit in an increasingly tight market.

We also saw a shift in the way that we do our jobs due to the rise of automation. Rather than eliminating jobs, automation has changed the way we work. It enhances our ability to do our jobs, leaving monotonous tasks to the robots, and allowing people to focus on the bigger picture.

What’s to come in 2020

Having laid a strong foundation for growth this past year, in 2020 we can expect to build on existing trends to see some impactful changes in the industry. Diversity in all roles and forward-thinking hiring trends will become even more prominent, and automation will shift certain roles to adapt to the future of work. Companies will also see an increase in the importance of work/life balance, as employee wellbeing will become vital to talent recruitment and retention.

Forward-Thinking Hiring Trends

There will be a continued focus on diversification in the workplace, which will lead to companies attracting a broader candidate base. There will be more focus on diversity in management, leadership and board members, as diverse teams have been proven to make better decisions. Companies need to abandon traditional screening for things like years of experience, industry and education, and be open to other skillsets that could propel diversity.

By looking for amazing talents in individuals we may normally pass up on a resume, and getting involved with other groups to learn more about less traditional candidates, we can broaden our candidate pool.

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At Galvanize, we have set a goal to have a gender-balanced candidate pool in interviews. We’ve also begun tracking data to ensure we have an emphasis on gender diversity within the company, and use metrics, such as turnover rates by gender, to gain insights into how we’re doing and how we can improve.

In order to produce an optimal talent force, we can expect to see human resources become more data-driven in 2020. Technology will be used within HR departments for predictive and strategic insights, including trends in hiring, engagement and turnover, to determine where they can improve and inspire creative thinking to develop new, forward-looking strategies to tackle these challenges

Changing roles due to automation and the future of work

The rise of automation means that the types of jobs we see will change, and every role will require some blend of soft and hard skills. For example, departments like HR and marketing will rely increasingly on data analysis, and candidates who have data skills will have an edge, regardless of their role.

On the flip side, as automation handles the more mundane aspects of technical roles, there will be a greater need for candidates with strong leadership, interpersonal and creative skills in these roles. As a result, candidates that possess these soft skills will be prioritized.

At Galvanize, our Senior R&D Manager regularly runs soft skills sessions with our team on topics like leadership, trust building, change management and personal time management. They also encourage developers to join our “Toastmasters” club to strengthen their communication skills.

Work/life balance

In 2020, there will be a continued focus on things like work life balance, purpose-led careers, mental wellbeing and giving back to the community. We may see more flexible and less structured work environments. For example, instead of a strict 9 – 5 work schedule, breaking up workdays to fit ‘life’ in, giving employees the flexibility to spend time with family, while knowing the work will still be completed.

This will help alleviate stress for employees, and will be helpful in recruiting and retaining top talent. This also goes back to the ability to hire from a diverse group of candidates, instead of unfairly prioritizing people without personal or family obligations.

While there may be significant changes in emerging roles due to developing technology, shifts in the tech industry in 2020 will benefit employees and employers greatly, allowing for a focus on diversity, inclusivity and flexibility, and allowing employees to add immense value to the companies they work for and get immense value back in return.

Kathy Enros is VP of Talent at Galvanize.