Today's economy

Hot jobs (and not-so-hot jobs) in Canada

By Kevin Press, BrighterLife.ca

Comments (54)

A young professional engineer stands in front of windmills.

Nearly a third of Canadian businesses say they’re having difficulty finding workers with the skills they need. According to a new report by CIBC World Markets, that’s double the percentage that said the same in 2010.

“This problem is growing,” said Bejamin Tal, deputy chief economist at CIBC World Markets. He and I spoke Monday. Tal explained that the discrepancy between what employers need and what job hunters have to offer hurts both groups. “It’s not just the number of people who cannot find a job because they don’t have the skills. It’s also the number of companies that cannot find people because they don’t have the skill set. There are two sides to this story.”

The figures behind that story are remarkable. The report features a list of 25 professions in which salaries are rising quickly and unemployment is either low or on the way down. These fields make up about 21% of total employment across the country. The unemployment rate in these professions is only about 1%. And salaries are increasing about 4% per year on average, better than double the national rate.

By contrast, there are 20 professions that the report recommends you avoid. Take this group out of the mix and our national unemployment rate would fall to around 6%.

CIBC World Markets

The message is clear: choose your career path wisely. Whether you’re preparing to enter the workforce for the first time or considering a new career, don’t wait for opportunity to knock. Make informed choices.

Easier said than done though, right? “It is very difficult to predict what the hot sectors will be 10 years from now,” Tal told me. “And not everyone can get into those fields. Take nursing. People choose to be nurses because they love it, not because they’re forced into it.”

So there is a role here for educators and employers. “Assuming this decision-making process — especially among young people — is not optimal, a retraining mechanism should be in place,” said Tal. “Focus on where the demand is and try to increase training in universities and colleges towards that. And provide training for older people. On-the-job training is the responsibility of companies.”


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FrostBurg (@elgimmickero) on

because majority of the companies ask too much skills,,racism, years of experience and the fact that CANADA is country is composed of different nationalities (immigrants)

careertips2go on

When I looked at the Skill Shortage list, I had to chuckle! There are too many highly qualified professionals (Canadians as well as Internationally Trained Professionals) roaming the job search street and can’t get a foot in the door of some of the same companies lamenting the shortage of skilled workers.

David N is correct. Some employers have abandoned on-the-job training but want a perfect ready-made package that doesn’t exist. Having said that, it doesn’t mean job seekers should leave their careers in the hands of employers. Both should collaborate.

We can all agree there is a skill shortage, but what are we doing about it? Canada needs to follow the examples of Sweden, Norway and Finland and how they prepare their young people for the working world. If we continue on this path, all we will end up with are young people saddled with high student debt and degrees that can’t get them jobs.

Excellent points of view!

Sunny on

Would someone please send the link to these comments to harper and the idiots in charge of immigration and HRDC.

Wallace on

When I read stories like these I feel blessed. I’m 32 and I have pretty much made over 100K for the last 10 years of my life. Moreover, this is not because I fluked out with some great employer either as can be evidenced by me changing employers 3 different times within that decade. Now if you really want to add some insult to injury I’ll also have you know that I never finished high school either. I feel the reason for my success is very simple. I come from a poor background and I was not coddled in my parents basement like so many other generation Y-ers. I had a personal drive, determination and commitment to have some level of success that was coupled with the opportunity that our aging and retiring workforce had to offer. All I can say is that there is no shortage of work in Operations Management. That is where some of the more solid jobs and growth are in my opinion. That is where a simple guy like me can gross 100 +K.

    MD on

    Good for you Wallace. I come from the same place. At about your age I made the leap to owning and ran with it from there. If you work hard and always go above and beyond you will be rewarded. I always tell the kids at gas stations etc that. They think it is a dead end job but I am always on the look out for “talent” with some hustle and drive. Sometimes I think I have picked them too good as they move on to bigger things but I can’t and don’t want to hold them back. The mediocre will flounder.

    You sound like a future owner and will succeed. Keep an eye open for the right opportunities and take advantage of them.

GS on

How many times Companies invite candidates for interview for non-existent positions, or positions that get cancelled and those candidates get ignored after the arrogant hiring manager or HR pretends to be the god that gives the breath of life. Why should there be a connection between employers and potential future employees. The job market is disgusting. I am a professional engineer with project management certification and I am not impressed with the possibilities existing in the Ontario area. Lots of my colleagues who also have similar or even better qualifications are not getting anywhere. One has to get so many abbreviations behind his name and has to know everything every employer expects you to be a Power distribution, Mechanical, RF, IT, Manufacturing, civil etc…. expert and at the same time be savvy in management and finances… How could there be a connection

    MD on

    Ontario is not Canada. It seems the despair is regional. If you won’t go to the work you have to settle for what is in your neighbourhood.

MD on

I am with Steve. You try to hire and they don’t show for the interview or if they do then they don’t show for the first day. People are going to have to move to the jobs. You may actually like a small town if you got out of the big cities.
They list a surplus of butchers but you need to book one months in advance here and the shops are closing down due to no help.
Last job we listed was $34/hr and took a long time to get an app from a Canadian. Class 1 license was the only requirement.

Dawn on

I live in an area where there is no shortage of jobs.. but the schooling to attain such careers is too expensive for anyone to take… and the cost of living.. no one can go to school full time unless they have really rich parents

Steve on

Reading through your posts, I empathize with all of you. It is a VERY tough market and lost my job 6 months into the economy crash.
Conversely, (now being an employer), with so many people looking for jobs, I’m utterly amazed at how difficult it has been for me to fill a position in my company. I have been looking for months!
I come from a mindset that no work is beneath me and that making money to be able to eat, pay the rent etc. is of utmost importance. However, when I interview people and test them out, I’m shocked at how flaky, unmotivated and uncaring they are about the opportunity I am giving them. They treat the job like it is an unwanted chore and show no real desire to work. I have “new” hires (as in a couple of weeks into the job) tell me which days they can and can not work. I thought I was supposed to determine that?! I had one employee tell me that any days I wanted him to work, he would first have to get “approval” from his wife that nothing was planned that day?!?!?!
I own the company and currently work 100-120 hours a week and slept on a foam mat for 2 years under my desk to build this business…
I think there seems to be a real disconnect between employees and employers these days.

    Biff Rockwell on

    Steve: How much are you paying your employees? That might determine their level of ‘disconnect’. Just sayin’.

    Maureen Hawkins on

    I think Biff’s question is important as is the nature of the job itself.

    Zeta Prime on

    Your work hours and living in the office are admirable and with any luck will lead to a successful company which you will sell for a great sum and retire. You are risking your time and effort hoping for a big pay off.

    What is the payoff for your employees? Work long and prosper on $12/hr? From your comments I suspect the employees are ‘on-call’ and not a normal 40-hr week? If that is the case you are not committing to the workers but expect them to commit to you just in case you need them.

Neb on

I agree a lot with the first post by David N. However, not only do employers not want to train anymore, they want people with loads of experience, university degrees, and only pay you $12 an hour. I have many years of office/computer experience aquired on the job than probably a university grad who has not held a job in their life. I have the common sense, smarts, and various abilities to be the best Administrative Assistant out there. I’ve applied for over 50 jobs in the last year, changed my resume, and even upgraded my skills, and have not been asked to one interview. I am 34 and will have a new certification in payroll within the next 2 months, and even the jobs that I am suited for that are requesting my certification still want experience + certification. I know 100% I can do the job. No one wants to train me on the computer software for payroll which is what I’m suspecting is the problem. Other than that, I have every other requirement needed and then some. How can I gain the software experience if no one wants to hire me? Even applying for entry level payroll jobs that I am well suited for still do not get me an interview. I just feel that employers are setting their standards way too high. I would want to hire someone like me with the new certification and loyal work ethic. At least I wouldn’t come with the bad habits that some experienced payroll professionals may come with.

stealthylizard on

Something my mom told me years ago. Even if you don’t meet the stated experience requirements for the job, there is no harm in applying for it anyways. The employer might not get any resumes with the pre-requisites, but they still need to fill that position, and might just hire someone to train. She worked as a long term care aide for over a decade without a certificate, or previous experience. What’s the harm in trying?

Heather on

I am in one of the so-called jobs with shortages (social work) and recently had significant difficulty getting a job. Why? because I have a disability. It’s not one that affects the work I do and I have excellent references, skills, experience and education, but apparently a disability is a major impediment to getting work. Despite the duty to accomodate, most employers won’t go there. Thank goodness I finally found an employer willing to look at what I CAN do, not what they perceive I can’t do.

Jamey on

Some of the personal stories here are really depressing. I love my job, pays ok (less than 80K, no pension, but full benefits otherwise), very flexible hours, very good place to work. I am 46, and back at University getting a 2nd and eventually 3rd degree in addition to full time work just in case my company gets amalgamated. I think I will find a job very easily if I need to.

Albert Couillard on

The problem I find is that many employers are actually discouraging applicatons. When you scan many job postings employers are asking for University degrees that require at minimum 5 years to obtain, AND 3, 5 and even 10 years experience AND a CV that shows progressive rates of responsibility AND many times other qualifications as well. A mountain has been put in front of the prospective student or employee even before they may have started their journey. No wonder there is a shortage.

    Maureen Hawkins on

    I agree with you. Employers require university degrees for jobs that don’t don’t require the analytic skills universities are designed to teach and then complain that universities don’t teach the skills they need. Basically, they’re lazy &, as so many people’s comments on this site about their not wanting to train their employees indicate, want a free ride.

Brian on

The headline unemployment percentage rate is not reality. University graduates (MA/MSc) may have between 85 and 90 % employment after one year but the question that remains open is whether or not are they employed in their field of study. For a MSc (and PhD in science) one has to do a global search outside Canada since too much of our industry is branch plant of USA where research is undertaken.

    econ on

    SO TRUE ! Graduates in STEM are not easy to get jobs in less than a year…Reminder to all, jobs are networking sourced and resumes/CV are a waste of time unless you send out 1000 in a year alone. For STEM grads look outside Canada…we are a branch plant economy. As Don Drummond said…CEOs in Canadian companies are creatures of a risk averse culture with little vision to compete abroad unless the federal government pays for visioning and handholding of execs.

Bruce S on

I’d sure like to find where all these jobs are. I too am over fifty and am told the my age is a plus because the kids today are unreliable and expect the world immediately etc. I’ve been unemployed for 14 months and counting. All these commercials about retraining and apprenticeships are intended for the next generation and not for those who have built this nation.

Shawn on

So your telling me we do not have a shortage of trades people

    Gary K on

    Shawn, I’m thinking this so-called trades shortage is a ruse governments are employing to close smaller universities. Here in BC we’re told, for example, that by 2020 there will be a shortage of carpenters on Vancouver Island, so take advantage of federal trades programs that will teach young people how to build a house. When you try to apply for said funding you are told to take a six-week program where they teach you to rearrange your resume, which will qualify you to take sponsored trades courses at your nearest college, providing you don’t mind choosing between horticulture, welding and flag holding at construction sites, and providing your college has been funded. Despite the TV ads, there are no free lunches here, few employer incentives, and a wealth of Canadians trying to feed themselves now, never mind in 2020.

True Canuck is Cheap on

So long as we can import cheap labor from emerging world economies such as China and India, why will Canadian companies train locals when they can get cheap from developing nations with the blessing of Steven Harper who values less and less of Canadian skills and education in line with corporate Canada’s cheap mentality we don’t train we want cheap labor. This nation is cheap and is made of cheap. God bless America.

    Maureen Hawkins on

    God bless AMERICA? I take it you’re being facetious; that’s whom Harper is trying to imitate.

    Robert on

    God bless America??? You’re kidding, right? Why would anyone want to imitate the Americans. They have a knack of screwing everything up for themselves and others. The more independent the rest of the world can become of the USA the better. Too bad it’s Harper’s model.

      Zeta Prime on

      All hail the American Dream!! It is called the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.

    Juillian95 on

    We have the same problem in the US. I am seeing more and more impossible JD opening and companies just want to pay FT rates instead of consultant rates. That why those openings stay open for years. Companies are of the mindset that they cannot plan their work accordingly but they can just create somebody they can plug a person in their opening at their timeframe. well I am seeing more and more they cannot.

natalia on

Tray that is really depressing. I too job searched most of the latter half of 2012. It is something awful out there. Makes you feel as if years of education and work are just useless. I hate my current job but it is secure and good money and so I have to stay. We don’t live in a world where we can afford to look for a job we love, we must consider ourselves grateful to have any job at all. I wish you luck in your search.

Tray on

For all the in-demand jobs you need 10-15 years of experience, be under 45 years old, and be willing to work for half the market wage.
Hence labour shortage, despite MILLIONS of Canadians with training and a bit less experience than is being asked for (or demanding market wages). Increasing salaries is an increase on half the market wage, not the market wage (this type of disclaimer should be noted in the article).
I would be qualified for several of these jobs, but the only employment i can get is minimum wage part-time underemployment, and not from lack of 500 applications sent, pre-reviewed by an employment coach.

oc on

This information seems to be somewhat incorrect. It lists “Physicians, Dentists and Vetrinarians” – -well guess what! In all major cities there is a huge surplus! Students who graduate in those careers can’t find jobs in major centres (Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary etc) .. it’s the rural areas that are most in need. Bottom line on this story — get your facts straight, and do some research in the job/career you are intererested in — don’t relay on the intranet and news stories such as this!

jay cowan on

This list is bull. Physicians? Pharmacists? Has anyone tried getting into school for these fields? You might as well sell everything you own, and buy lottery tickets waiting for your big winfall as believe you have much more than a snowball’s chance of getting in.

Nursing!? I’m a registered nurse, and I struggled for several months to find ‘any’ kind of work, nursing or otherwise and am now working casual at a job which likely won’t outlast the winter.

Look, I’ll save you all of the trouble and hassle of 4 years or more of university – take the Walmart job. This economy is going down like a kamikaze on a bombing run.

    Jane Doe on

    I work for Alberta Health Services, and we still have 1600 nurses to hire in Calgary alone to cover the new hospital opening. There are plenty of RN jobs if you are willing to work outiside of city centres, too. Northern Alberta is desperate for RNs. Perhaps other provinces are not hiring RNs, but AHS certainly is!

      L. McKellar on

      I find it interesting as well that MOST of the jobs with shortages are in health care. I just retired from this field in part because we were so squeezed to work with fewer resources, cutbacks, lack of adequate staffing, dangerous conditions such as abuse, contagion and heavy lifting, not to mention terrible hours and lack of respect, that I could no longer do the work to my (or anyones’s) satisfaction. I came home exhausted and feeling I could not do enough. Who would want to enter a career like that any more? Job satisfaction is the most important aspect of any job and, in this field, it often just isn’t the same as it used to be.

    freemanz on

    Oh so true,The left list reads like upper class opportunities and the right list reads like middle class slavery(we all know whats happened to that class its been dismissed

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Janine on

So glad I am becoming an Auditor!

David N on

Could there be a disconnect between what skills job seekers have and what skill set employers are expecting because employers are being too particular with the skills or candidates they are looking for? Employers do not seem to be willing to train employees and are looking for a ‘perfect’ candidate. Employees may feel a sense of loyalty if employers are willing to train new hires, especially if these candidates are looking to change careers.

    Lindsey Holmes on

    I agree with David N.!!

      Adam on

      I agree with David,
      I was recently unemployed for a while partly by choice because I wanted to get out of the restaurant industry. I am university educated, talented person, but all the people see is my 13 years of restaurant work (30 now) I’ve never had the luxury of benefits or a pension but would love a chance just to show that I can do anything. Very frustrating indeed

      Tammi on

      I totally agree with David as well. My husband decided to change careers now that the kids are independent. He researched for a while to find out where there were shortages and what he enjoyed doing. We spent $14,000 on an excavation operator course and guess what? he had sent out over 100 resumes and all they want is people with 3-5 years experience and won’t look at anyone else. He has changed his resume a few times, and we have had a couple of people we know that do hiring for their company and say it’s not the resume. He has even offered to work for a day or two and show them what he can do, still no bites. Any suggestions would be great.

    Jim Smith on

    Absolutely. And despite having bucket loads of quality experience in one of the ‘shortage’ areas listed here with excellent references, and up to date skills I am scratching around trying to find a job above minimum wage. Why? Well I recently passed the magic age of 60!

    John P. Souza on

    I Agree with David N. as well. The companies want to have their cake and eat it too. They haven’t been training new employees since the early 90’s and at the same time they are being extremely picky about having the exact skill set they want (with job experience) so they don’t need to train anyone. Companies need to look in the mirror if they want a solution to this.

      Karen M on

      Jim, I totally agree with you. I have lots of experience in several of those “shortage” jobs, I am 53 and I am still looking for a job. To top it up, my expertise includes Human Resources and sometimes I cringe when I see employers not willing to train employees to generate loyalty and less turn over. My suggestion is always Succession Planning: if the employer has an employee with potential, start training that employee to fill out any position in the future that becomes vacant for any reason. That turns into an incentive for the employee and saves the employer a lot of money in the recruiting process looking for the “perfect” candidate.

      marshall on

      Employers don’t want to spend for the training, they rather you do.

      Richard Melvin on

      As an employer in the transport industry this is what I find when trying to find new hires. People look in the paper at the wage experienced operators are paid and show up with a driving school resume or a lower class license expecting the same. I have given up trying to explain that they need to start with a lower wage and learn the job from the bottom up so they can become professionals. This day and age everyone wants big money without paying the dues to become an operator that everyone will want to hire.

    Albert Couillard on

    I agree! The problem I find is that many employers are actually discouraging applicatons. When you scan many job postings employers are asking for University degrees that require at minimum 5 years to obtain, AND 3, 5 and even 10 years experience AND a CV that shows progressive rates of responsibility AND expertise in areas such as social media marketing, when even people that work in the field of marketing admit “experts” don’t really exist AND many times other qualifications as well. A mountain has been put in front of the prospective student or employee even before they may have started their journey. No wonder there is a shortage.

    iplaybass on

    Stay positive, there are opportunities out there. I was always one of those ‘don’t know what I want to be when I grow up’ people and worked in landscaping and retail jobs for many years.
    An opportunity came up for me at a local ethanol plant. I had no experience or training in chemistry, processing, or the energy sector.
    They gave me a chance and now after 3 years I find myself at the helm actually running the entire process.
    So there are employers out there who will give you a chance, just keep looking!

    Dan D on

    David N is spot on, Many Highly Skilled and Highly Trained can’t get jobs because there training and experience doesn’t exactly fit the job requirements, and there is no flexibility. With a little OJT these could be excellent employees and be more loyal because, the company gave them a chance.

    Sunny on

    I agree with David too. Well said. Employers are far too demanding and need a reality check. There is a marked lack of commitment and loyalty towards employees in this era. Regardless of whether one’s training or education is career, trade or university credentialed, it is always, and always will be “general” in relation to the specifics of any one job, within any specific industry. One’s skills learned on-the-job will also never exactly match the DESIRED set employers seek. It comes down to personal assumptions within the personalities of the Hiring Managers about what is realistic in your expectations of other people, and having the grace and maturity to realize you have obligations in the relationship as an employer. Part of the role as a manager in an organization is to manage the development of your HUMAN resources. It’s not all just gimme gimme. If you are immature about what is real with respect to other people, you will never find anyone that meets YOUR needs. A balance of give and take is inherent in ALL relationships, including the Employer / Employee relationship. If it is all one-sided, that is on YOUR side, you will never find what you are looking for.
    Although there were other economic factors at work at the time, one variable during a period of growth in Canada, was the fact that the practice at the time included (and was assumed), there was well-designed on-the-job training for new employees. Be committed and loyal from the start, and you’ll get loyalty, and stability in return. This establishes a solid foundation to enable growth. What is being overlooked here is managerial moral maturity and judgement, than available technical skill pools.

    nancy thompson on

    Im sorry but I do not agree with the hot list. At present there is a hiring freeze for social workers, as a matter of fact there is a hiring freeze on most Ministry positions in the province of BC and the last time I checked it wasn’t much better in other provinces.

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