On Campus

Shortage of IT grads in North America: Bill Gates

Gates spoke to students at Waterloo Thursday

A widespread shortage of IT graduates across North America is forcing Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq:MSFT) and other software companies to look to developing countries such as China to meet their needs, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates says.”When we want to hire lots of software engineers there is a shortage in North America – a pretty significant shortage,” Gates said Thursday in an interview.

“We have this tough problem: If you can’t get the engineers, then you have to have those other jobs be where the engineers are.”

Gates was at the University of Waterloo on Thursday to deliver a speech to students about the state of developing technology, but he also told the students that IT jobs are in high demand.

“It’s partly that the enrolment in the field is going down,” he said afterwards, noting that Waterloo will be one of the universities bucking that trend because it has seen more applicants.

Gates said that applicants for computer technology jobs suffered a major downturn after the tech bubble burst around the turn of the millennium.

A recent report by the Conference Board of Canada suggested that the country will need 90,000 information technology workers within the next five years, in part to fuel the explosion in wireless and Internet businesses.

Each position that isn’t filled will cost the economy an estimated $120,000 per year.

-with a report from CP