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July 2003     Vol. 4, no. 7

Information technology workers

Roman Habtu

  • Over 387,000 people were employed in information technology (IT) occupations in 2001, accounting for nearly 3% of all employed Canadians.
  • Over half of IT specialists worked as information systems analysts and computer programmers (52%), and nearly one-quarter as user support technicians, and computer and network operators (24%). The remainder were computer and software engineers (14%), and web designers, database analysts, and systems testing technicians (11%).
  • IT specialists are relatively young, highly educated and command high earnings. Median earnings in 2001 were over $45,000 compared with $28,000 for all employed Canadians.
  • Two-thirds of IT specialists worked in five urban centres. Ottawa-Gatineau had the highest concentration—8% of all workers.
  • More than one-quarter (27%) of IT specialists in 2001 were women. Highly educated, a majority were specialized in the non-traditional science, engineering and mathematics field of study. However, they commanded lower median earnings ($41,000) than men.
  • Immigrants accounted for almost one-third (32%) of workers in IT specialties, and nearly half arrived in Canada in the 1990s. Three in 10 arrived after 1996, a period coinciding with the high-tech boom. By contrast, immigrants constituted 20% of workers in all occupations, and only 30% arrived in the 1990s.


Roman Habtu, formerly of the Labour and Household Surveys Analysis Division, is now with Human Resources Development Canada. She can be reached at (819) 997-5091 or

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