On the Road to Recovery: “The State of Talent: Q4 2020” Report

We’re excited to release our Q4 2020 State of Talent Report on the Canadian innovation economy. Produced in partnership with BDC Capital, this report reveals new details about how the talent landscape is evolving in Canada's innovation economy.


Looking back on 2020, the Canadian innovation economy made some great strides despite the year's tumultuous circumstances. Using job posting data collected by Prospect in the fourth quarter of 2020, our multi-annual report seeks to uncover essential details about the most recent state of talent demand at Canadian startups.


The data presented in this report is intended to provide a snapshot of the startup workforce in Q4 2020. These findings are not absolute. However, we hope our research results will provide you with new and valuable insights into talent demand at Canada’s fastest-growing companies.



Analysis of the data from Q4 of 2020 gave us hope and represented an economy on the road to recovery. Some trends began to emerge: it's evident that the startup community is more determined than ever to recover and build an even more resilient workforce.


Deep Diving into the Data: Notable Trends from Q4 2020:


  • Labour demand has nearly recovered to its pre-pandemic rates, creating optimism around growth in 2021. Although the labour demand is trending upward it is not an indication of full recovery or growth, as the median number of employees throughout 2020 remained consistent.

  • The functional demand for skilled workers was nearly identical in the first and fourth quarter of 2020, as Canadian startups prove their capacity to adapt faster than the wider economy during the pandemic. Software engineering and sales and business development professionals have continued to be the most sought out workers.

  • Third, remote work is on the rise, but not to the extent that we all expected. Fluctuating pandemic health protocols pushed most tech companies to adopt (and adapt to) a fully-remote work environment. Yet, over 77% of the jobs active on Prospect in Q4 of 2020 had an explicit location attached to it and only 8% were explicitly listed as remote.

Interested in going deeper? Download the free report here.

Among other things, 2020 brought a new look at the world of work. Our talent market experienced an unprecedented reshuffling, where a remote work and work-from-home reality was thrust upon us.



In advance of the worldwide pandemic, and continuing throughout 2020, Canadians benefited from anti-immigration policies south of the border. Bans on H1B visas pushed US-educated talent out of the country, with many looking to Canada as a desirable destination. With a new US administration, we may see shifts in this demand, but there is no clear indication of how things will proceed.


Despite these seismic shifts in the work experience, one thing remained constant throughout 2020: the ever-increasing demand for skilled workers in our Canadian innovation workforce. Regardless of a drop in labour demand in Q2, our innovative tech companies proved resilient, adaptable, and even critical in the later half of the year, weathering extreme economic and social strain and recovering at a rapid pace compared to the wider economy.


Canada’s Tech Ecosystem: Stronger Together




In releasing this report, our goal was to bring critical information to the key stakeholders of the startup community. As we continue to grow and hopefully move past this uncertain time, remaining competitive is of utmost importance for our tech community.


Our work is driven by the collaboration of Canada’s tech community. A special thank you to the team at BDC Capital as we work together to fill the data gap in Canada's innovation economy, a mission more critical as we seek to come out strong in a post-pandemic economy.


At Prospect, our goal is to leverage data to better inform the efforts of founders, people managers, policymakers, and innovation leaders, as they adapt to meet the demands of a globally competitive market.


Review this report and others from the past year on our reports page.