The statement is part of an ongoing discussion about the IT workforce. Around 106,000 workers will need to be hired by 2016 due to retirements and accelerating workplace demands, according to a report released Tuesday by a coalition of two information technology associations.
Cloud computing, Cisco and Bell said at Tuesday's conference, would at least partially address the problem because a typical company, which has to manage server space, could offload that responsibility to technicians purely working with Bell-Cisco's "cloud." This could increase the productivity of workers within the client firm by 50 to 80 per cent.
At the conference, Stephane Boisvert, the president of Bell Business Markets, told OBJ he has been talking about this shortage with universities and businesses since 2008.
"We sponsored a report with the Conference Board of Canada and people took the issue lightly," he said.
Called 'Securing our Future', that 2008 paper estimated the economic impact of the shortage would be more than $10 billion in the next decade, assuming an average yearly contribution of $120,000 for each IT worker.
In remarks to delegates at the conference – most of them potential clients – Mr. Boisvert touted Bell-Cisco cloud technology as a way to help over-stretched IT departments.
"There's not (enough talent) coming in to replace the older workers. There will be a gap, and I think cloud computing provides a way to remedy that gap over time."
In its Tuesday report, the Information and Communications Technology Council said the shortage would "pose serious and pervasive challenges" for organizations struggling to keep up with the latest requirements.
"Technology trends – notably the emergence of 'cloud' computing and 'virtualization' – will weaken the growth in demand for computer network technicians. Demand for computer programmers and for user support technicians will be undercut by the growth of outsourcing and offshoring," the council wrote.
"However, and this is critically important, notwithstanding an overall tendency for supply to exceed demand in these occupations, employers will still have difficulty recruiting individuals with specific skills and experience."
This would include certifications like .Net or Oracle, ICTC noted, with the most acute shortages coming in computer and information systems managers, telecommunications carrier managers, information systems analysts and consultants and broadcast technicians.
The report, which was done in partnership with the Information Technology Association of Canada, recommends integrating foreign-trained professionals more swiftly into the workforce, and shortening the road to employment for new graduates.