National Survey of Information Technology Occupations

Detailed information for 2002




One Time

Record number:


This survey is conducted to collect statistical information on employment trends in information technology (IT) occupations.

Data release - June 7, 2004


The main objective of the survey is to producing statistical information on required skills and employment-related issues of employers and employees in twenty-five Information Technology (IT) related occupations.

Statistics Canada conducts this survey on behalf of the Software Human Resource Council. This survey is part of a project addressing concerns that employers have in finding skilled labour and sufficient numbers of employees in these occupations to meet the demand.


  • Information and communications technology
  • Information and communications technology sector
  • Labour
  • Occupations

Data sources and methodology

Target population

Private sector
The target population is limited to locations on Statistics Canada's Business Register (BR), with at least six employees and are operating in the computer and electronic product manufacturing industry (NAICS-3 code=334), the information and cultural industries (NAICS-2 code=51), finance and insurance (NAICS-2 code=52) and professional, scientific and technical services (NAICS-2 code=54)coded to five specific industry categories (classified to the North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS)) All Canada was covered by ten provinces, a territory group and seven census metropolitan areas (CMAs). The locations must employ workers in at least one of the targeted IT occupations (classified to National Occupational Classification).

The sampling frame of employers is approximated by a list of 55,981 locations on the BR as of June 2002. The target population of employees is the workers in the 55,981 locations who are employed in the target IT occupations

Public sector

At the federal level, the target population is composed of all divisions of the 15 departments that employ the largest number of people in the CS group. Those 15 departments include 75% of federal public servants and 90% of employees in the CS category. The ministries for each province and territory were arranged in order from highest number of IT employees to lowest. They were selected from the top of the list down until the desired 90% coverage of IT employees was attained.

Instrument design

A pilot survey was done in 2000 to verify concepts and questionnaires design. A panel of expert, formed by the client, revised the questionnaires and it was updated. Testing was done in Montréal and Toronto for the employer questionnaire of the private sector and with focus groups for the employee questionnaire by specialist of the Questionnaire design resource centre of Statistics Canada.

Following the report, final modifications were done to the questionnaires to conform to Statistics Canada policies.


This is a sample survey with a cross-sectional design.

In the private sector, the target population consists of all locations in Canada that are in Statistics Canada's Business Register on June 1, 2002, have at least six employees and are operating in the computer and electronic product manufacturing industry (NAICS-3 code=334), the information and cultural industries (NAICS-2 code=51), finance and insurance (NAICS-2 code=52) and professional, scientific and technical services (NAICS-2 code=54). The survey covers about 76% of all IT employees as per the Labor Force Survey. There are 55,981 locations in the private-sector frame.

The private-sector sample size is 31,150.

Since we have three possible values for the size variable, 19 possible values for the region, and five possible values for the industry code, the number of possible strata is 3 X 19 X 5 = 285; since 10 of them are empty, we have a total of 275.

Public sector employer

A sample of 2,500 locations been extracted from the survey frame

Private and public sector employee

The sampling frame is derived from the locations who responded to the employer survey. Employers are asked, at the end of the interview, whether they would be willing to allow Statistics Canada to survey their employees in the two randomly selected IT occupations on which they provided detailed information. Employees from the consenting employers become part of the sampling frame for the employee survey.

No stratification techniques are used for the survey of employees. Sample selection depends on the number of employees the consenting employer has in the selected occupations. If an employer has ten or fewer employees in the selected occupations, all employees are part of the sample. If, however, an employer has more than ten employees, then ten employees are randomly selected from that employer to participate in the employee survey.

The sample for the private sector contains 15 039 employees.

The sample for the public sector contains 2 716 employees.

Data sources

Responding to this survey is voluntary.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

The employer survey uses the Computer Assisted Telephone Interview (CATI) and Electronic questionnaires (CD-ROM) with an electronic data return module. A pre-contact was conducted to identify the company in scope of the survey, the most appropriate person(s) to respond to the survey and validate the address. Each location is sent an introductory letter describing the purpose of the survey, a list of the questions that would be asked and definitions of the occupations that are being targeted. If no electronic response was received within 10 days, an interviewer would contact the respondent and proceed with a CATI. In the course of an interview, CATI interviewers ask for the number of employees in each of the twenty-five occupations of interest. Then, the CATI system randomly selects two occupation categories for which there are one or more employees (this step was done in the CD_ROM application when the respondent preferred to answer electronically).

For the employee survey, a mail-back questionnaire and Electronic questionnaires (CD-ROM) with an electronic data return module was sent to employees at their place of work, if employers had provided employee names. Employers that have not provided employee names were sent questionnaires along with instructions to distribute them randomly to the employees in the occupation(s) of interest at that location. Follow-up was done by phone and a CATI was offered.

View the Questionnaire(s) and reporting guide(s).

Error detection

For the employer survey, both qualitative and quantitative variables are subjected to the following quality control measures:

" Edits for qualitative variables ensure answers are within a range of allowable answers, as every answer is compared to the set of possible coded answers for that question.
" For questions concerning the numbers of employees (e.g. vacancies), online edits in the CATI application require responses of a magnitude consistent with the number of employees in that occupation. Online consistency edits for quantitative variables ensure all answers are within the minima and maxima calculated from other answers to the questionnaire.
" Extreme or unexpected values are identified using frequency tables. Unexpected values are investigated individually.

For the employee survey, the data are subjected to the following quality control measures during the data processing stage:
" Validity edits ensured answers to questions collecting qualitative information is within a range of possible answers according to the answer key;
" Consistency edits verify skip patterns and check for consistency of responses across several questions.
Errors detected in the edit process are treated in the imputation step.


For the employer survey, inconsistencies between the number of IT employees and its distribution leaded to manual imputation of the numbers of employees.

Other variables that needed imputation were given a value by the "hot deck" donor imputation procedure. Imputation of these data is done with stratum that have similar characteristics. Characteristics used to form groups of donor are the size of the location, the industry classification and the region of the location.

The same hot deck donor imputation procedure is used in the survey of employees but the variable "occupation" was added to form the groups of donors.


In the surveys of both employers and employees, estimates are generated using an iterative method. Estimates are produced by domain (e.g. occupation, industry and region). Coefficients of variation are provided for quantitative point estimates. Standard errors are provided for estimates of proportions and ratios.

Quality evaluation

A comparison with census data of 2001 was done to evaluate the quality of the data collected.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects which could identify any person, business, or organization, unless consent has been given by the respondent or as permitted by the Statistics Act. Various confidentiality rules are applied to all data that are released or published to prevent the publication or disclosure of any information deemed confidential. If necessary, data are suppressed to prevent direct or residual disclosure of identifiable data.

Confidentiality analysis includes the detection of possible "direct disclosure", which occurs when the value in a tabulation cell is composed of a few respondents or when the cell is dominated by a few companies.

In the Survey of Information Technology Occupations, all estimates created with three or fewer records have been suppressed for confidentiality purposes.

Data accuracy

Since all the estimates produced from the survey are based on sample results, they are subject to sampling error. Sampling error for quantitative variables is expressed as a coefficient of variation (CV), and as the standard error (SE) for qualitative variables. The following tables provide a guideline of the quality of an estimate of a total.


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