The unemployment rate in the Canary Islands stands at 18.9%, the second highest in Spain according to INE data for the last quarter of 2021. The youth unemployment rate, at 52%, at the head of all the communities of the country —five points above the next one, Extremadura—. And in the midst of this gray panorama, a ray of hope sneaks in, that of the technologists, a profession that registers full employment on the islands. The face: they account for more than half of the job offers published in the archipelago. The cross: Due to a shortage of STEM professionals (acronym in English to refer to those in the fields of mathematics, science, technology and engineering), a high percentage is left unfilled.
“Since before the pandemic, this need for professionals in the technology sector was already noticeable, not only in the Canary Islands, but at a national and global level,” says the manager of the Canary Islands Technological Excellence Cluster, Ana Torrent. She points out that, in the last two years, “we have all advanced the digital transformation, and any company, regardless of the sector, needs people with digital and technological skills, which has made the lack of professionals even more accentuated. In the Canary Islands, we are at a time when anyone who has those skills is going to find a job,” she adds. Not only that. The “new normality” after the pandemic has also meant that many young people from the Canary Islands are teleworking for international companies, and that, conversely, companies on the islands have to hire professionals from Europe or South America to provide them with that service, since they cannot find them. here.
From the regional government that reality is palpable. “There are many problems to recruit talent by companies. The difficulty of matching that offer with the demand is obvious because we do not have profiles registered as job seekers with these technological particularities”, indicates the director of the Canary Islands Employment Service, Dunnia Rodríguez. The data she provides are compelling. In March 2022 alone, the number of contracts related to information and communication technology technician profiles in the archipelago increased by 64% compared to the previous month, while the annual variation stood at 82.6%.
How to deal with this growth and take advantage of it to promote employability? “We have the obligation to adapt supply to demand. Right now we are in the process of shaping the training offer for the years 2022-2024, and we are doing it with the participation of social and economic agents, and with the entire productive fabric of all the islands”, adds Rodríguez, who specifies that in The plan that is approved for that period will have a great weight on training related to technological and software development, digital graphic designers, specialists in big datain cybersecurity, in blockchain, in artificial intelligence, cloud computing or robotics. Some training that will be aimed at unemployed people and also at employed people who want to specialize (by 30%), and which are carried out both through the Ministry of Education and the private training centers that present themselves to the calls for applications for grants made by the autonomous Executive.
In the world of training technologists, the islands have a center that, for eight years, has been training with a new method in programming for the development of web applications: Reboot Academy. Fernando Martín, its director, indicates that “what we have done is create the bootcamp, with training that goes straight to the point of what it takes to be productive and start a professional career. It is a very practical training whose curriculum we are continually updating to meet the specific needs of the sector”. Martín explains that the students who carry out the training respond to very varied profiles: supermarket stockers, housewives, lawyers…, “people who want to change their lives and are given the opportunity to reset their careers”. And in three months, they get it. The employability rate of its students proves it: 90%. In addition, those students who pass the qualification tests do not have to pay anything for the training until they start working. “We have so much demand that we are very sure that the student will find a job. And if he doesn’t find it, he doesn’t have to pay anything.”
Follow-up. The University Foundation of Las Palmas carries out a daily follow-up of the offers that are published in the employment portals at the regional level. In the last year alone, more than 3,200 vacancies related to STEM professions have been registered, says the deputy manager of this institution, Fabián Palmés.
Unfilled seats. From the Foundation, which also has its own employment portal, they verify that the offers related to technologist profiles have grown “outrageous” in the last 12 months, and the worst, that 60% of them remain deserted.
Training. Palmés explains that the Las Palmas University Foundation offers specific training in this field, not only for technological profiles. The challenge is clear: “Demonstrate that people without previous qualifications can also get jobs as technologists.”