Canadian Occupational Projection System (COPS)

Job Openings (2019-2028)

The current COPS projections were completed in 2019, well before the 2020 COVID-19 outbreak that resulted in exceptional and abrupt economic and labour market disruptions in Canada as well as abroad. However, the focus of the COPS projections is on long-term trends in industrial and occupational labour markets, not on short-term developments. At the moment, these long-term trends are not expected to be affected markedly by the COVID-19 outbreak as its impacts are generally foreseen to be temporary.

The current exercise uses the 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC), which is the most up-to-date version of the classification, and covers the period 2019-2028. The 2016 NOC has 500 occupations. However, many of these occupations are small in terms of employment. Such occupations were combined into broader groupings according to the specific tasks of each occupation. By grouping small occupations with similar tasks together, 293 occupational groupings were obtained. Occupations that were grouped are marked with an asterisk (*).

For more information on the 293 occupational grouping used in COPS, please visit: http://occupations.esdc.gc.ca/sppc-cops/l.3bd.2t.1ilshtml@-eng.jsp?lid=59&fid=1&lang=en

Job openings are comprised of two primary components: expansion and replacement demand:

Job Openings due to Economic Growth (Expansion Demand or Employment Growth)

Over the next 10 years, economic growth is expected to generate about 1.7 million new jobs (174,000 on average every year), which represent an annual average growth rate of 0.9%. In the long term, job creation will become increasingly constrained by the slower pace of growth anticipated in the labour force (see the document Macroeconomic Outlook).

Occupational employment is driven by the degree to which the various occupations are utilized in each industry (occupational effect) and by the economic growth of the industries that employ them (industrial effect).

The occupation effect impacts occupational employment via the productivity and utilization levels of each of the occupations in the economy encompassed by technological advances. This effect sometimes leads to job losses in some occupations, but also to job growth in some others or even the creation of new occupations.

In recent years, there has been an increasing interest in better understanding how technology will impact the labour market, as the automation of the production process is expected to accelerate, considering the speed of technological developments.

In general, automation affects employment in two different ways. By displacing workers from tasks they were previously performing, labour market disruptions occur over the transition period. But eventually, the increase in real wages resulting from higher productivity leads to the creation of new jobs to produce the goods and services that people want to buy with their extra income.

Historical evidence suggests that technology ended up creating more jobs than it destroyed, as jobs have been reallocated at the industrial and occupational levels. For example, the Canadian economy has evolved from agriculture to manufacturing to services over the past century.

Most experts agree that automation is not expected to destroy a large number of jobs over the next 10-20 years, as specific tasks rather than entire occupations are most likely to be automated. For instance, the introduction of computers sped up some aspects of jobs, enabling workers to do the other tasks better. Rather than destroying occupations, computers redefined them. But this process required workers to learn new skills.

The literature also suggests that industries and occupations involving routine tasks are generally more at risk of being automated and experience lower employment growth than those involving cognitive tasks. Indeed, automation tends to restrain labour demand since an increasing part of production growth is being met by productivity growth.

Figure 1 shows employment growth by type of task over the period 2008-2028. It shows that over the next decade, automation should lead to a further deceleration in the demand for occupations with a high content of routine tasks.

Figure 1: Employment Growth by Type of Task (Indexed Growth; 2008=100)

Line chart showing the employment growth relative to the base year of 2008 for routine, non-routine and interpersonal tasks over the projection period. The data is shown on the link following this figure

Source: ESDC 2019 COPS Projections.

Text version of Figure 1: Employment Growth by Type of Task (Indexed Growth; 2008=100)

The impacts of automation are expected to be more heavily felt among occupations with abundance of routine tasks, as productivity gains arising from technological innovations limit their employment growth. For example, occupations with a high proportion of routine tasks includes Pulp mill and paper converting machine operators; Labourers in rubber and plastic product manufacturing; and Harvesting labourers.

On the other hand, employment growth tends to concentrate more on occupations with larger intensity of interpersonal and non-routine tasks, where automation and technological progress are complementary to their work. For example, occupations with a high proportion of non-routine and/or interpersonal tasks include Aerospace engineers; Carpenters; Mechanics; Biologists and related scientists; Database analysts and data administrators; Computer programmers and interactive media developers; as well as Software engineers and designers.

The industrial effect influences occupational employment growth according to the performance of the industry where they are employed. In principle, occupations directly linked to industries that are expected to have strong employment growth will benefit from a positive outlook. The reverse occurs for occupations linked to industries with weak employment growth.

Employment growth by industry reflects the future trends anticipated in production and labour productivity for each of the 42 industries covered by COPS.

Figure 2 shows the industries that are projected to post the strongest growth in employment over the projection period. In principle, occupations directly linked to industries that are expected to have strong employment growth will benefit from this positive outlook. The reverse occurs for those tied to industries with weak employment growth.

Figure 2: Industries Projected to Have the Strongest Employment Growth, Projection 2019-2028 (average annual growth, in percentage)

Bar figure showing the industries with the strongest employment growth over the period 2019-2028. The data is shown on the link following this figure

Source: ESDC 2019 COPS industrial projections.

Text version of Figure 2: Industries Projected to Have the Strongest Employment Growth, Projection 2019-2028 (average annual growth, in percentage)

Industries projected to post the strongest growth in employment (i.e. above or around 0.9% annually) are also those projected to post the strongest growth in production or those that are characterized by a high degree of labour intensity. Below are some of the key drivers expected to support output and job creation in those industries:

Figure 3 shows the industries that are projected to post moderate growth in employment over the projection period.

Figure 3: Industries Projected to Have Moderate Employment Growth, Projection 2019-2028 (average annual growth, in percentage)

Bar figure showing the industries with moderate employment growth over the period 2019-2028. The data is shown on the link following this figure

Source: ESDC 2019 COPS industrial projections.

Text version of Figure 3: Industries Projected to Have Moderate Employment Growth, Projection 2019-2028 (average annual growth, in percentage)

Most of the industries projected to post moderate growth in employment (i.e. below 0.9%, but above 0.4% annually) are also those projected to post moderate growth in production.

This group includes six manufacturing and six commercial services industries. It also includes construction and the three industries related to oil, gas and mining extraction.

In addition to moderate growth in production, job creation in those industries is expected to be restrained by the following factors:

Figure 4 shows the industries that are projected to post the weakest growth or declines in employment over the projection period.

Figure 4: Industries Projected to Have the Weakest Growth or Declines in Employment, Projection 2019-2028 (average annual growth, in percentage)

Bar figure showing the industries with the weakest growth or declines in employment over the period 2019-2028. The data is shown on the link following this figure

Source: ESDC 2019 COPS industrial projections.

Text version of Figure 4: Industries Projected to Have the Weakest Growth or Declines in Employment, Projection 2019-2028 (average annual growth, in percentage)

Most of the industries projected to post the weakest growth or declines in employment (i.e. around or below 0.4% annually) are also those projected to post the weakest growth in production.

This group is largely composed of manufacturing and primary industries that have experienced a stagnation or a declining trend in output and&rsol;or employment over the past several years, such as textiles, clothing, furniture, agriculture, forestry, forestry, wood products, printing, paper and fishing. Such industries are expected to face similar challenges than those experienced in the last decade, including:

Output and employment growth is also projected to be weak in a number of commercial and non-commercial services industries. The main factors expected to weigh on those industries are:

For more details on the historical and future performance of the 42 industries covered by COPS, including key drivers of GDP, employment and productivity growth, please consult the Industrial Summaries available on the COPS website.

Figure 5 shows the change in average annual employment in high- and low-skilled occupations over the periods 1999-2008, 2009-2018 and 2019-2028. It shows that over the next ten years, new job openings arising from economic growth are projected to be mainly in high-skill positions.

Figure 5: Average Annual Employment Change in High- and Low-Skill Occupations

Bar figure showing the high- and low-skilled average annual employment change over the periods 1999-2008, 2009-2018 and 2019-2028. The data is shown on the link following this figure

High-skill group is composed of Management, Skill Levels A and B
Low-skill group is composed of Skill Levels C and D

The shaded area represents the projection period.
Source: Statistics Canada (historical) and ESDC 2019 COPS Projections

Text version of Figure 5: Average Annual Employment Change in High- and Low-Skill Occupations

About 75% of the projected employment growth over the next 10 years is expected to be in high-skill occupations. As a comparison, high-skill occupations accounted for almost all of new job creation during the preceding decade (96%), while the number of jobs among low-skill occupations remained almost unchanged. This was largely due to the 2008-2009 recession that mostly impacted employment in low-skill occupations. However, the projected trend for the next decade is a continuation of what has been observed over the past 20 years as the Canadian economy became more knowledge-intensive, automatized and with stronger health care needs. High-skill occupations represented 63.3% of total employment in 2018.

The demand for low-skill jobs is also projected to grow, but at a lower rate. The expected demand in health and its assisting occupations; accommodation and food services; as well as the gradual recovery of some manufacturing industries after many years of struggle, will support employment growth in low-skill occupations that are concentrated in these industries.

Figure 6 and Table 1 show the distribution of expansion demand by skill level over the projection period. They show that the strong employment growth projected in high-skill occupations is mostly due to occupations that usually require university education.

Figure 6: Distribution of Expansion Demand by Skill Level, Projection 2019-2028

Bar figure showing the distribution of the cumulative expansion demand by skill level over the projection period. The data is shown on the link following this figure

Source: ESDC 2019 COPS Projections.

Text version of Figure 6: Distribution of Expansion Demand by Skill Level, Projection 2019-2028

Table 1: 2018 Employment Distribution and Projected Employment Growth by Skill Level over the Period 2019-2028
  Management Skill Level A
(university education)
Skill Level B
(college education)
Skill Level C
(high school education)
Skill Level D
(on-the-job training)
Employment (AAGR*) 0.6% 1.5% 0.9% 0.6% 0.8%
2018 Employment Distribution 9.2% 20.2% 34.0% 26.1% 10.6%

*AAGR: Annual Average Growth Rate

Sources: Statistics Canada (historical) and ESDC 2019 COPS Projections.

In 2018, the largest share of employment was in occupations that usually require a college education or apprenticeship training (skill level B), followed by those that usually require high school education (skill level C). Occupations that usually require a university education (skill level A), only on-the-job training (skill level D), and management occupations ranked third, fourth and fifth, respectively.

Over the projection period, occupations that usually require a university education (skill level A) are expected to have the fastest overall employment growth, contributing also to the largest number of jobs created among all skill levels. This is mostly the result of strong growth expectations in occupations related to professional services in health, as well as in the natural and applied sciences fields, especially among the information technology sector.

Occupations that usually require a college education or apprenticeship training (skill level B) are projected to have the second largest contribution in terms of job creation.

Figure 7 shows the distribution of employment by skill level over the periods 2009-2018 and 2019-2028. It shows that since the strong employment growth in high-skill occupations is mostly due to those that usually require university education, there will be a slight increase in the share of high-skill occupations within total employment.

Figure 7: Distribution of Employment by Skill Level

Bar figure showing the distribution of employment by skill level over the periods 2009-2018 and 2019-2028. The data is shown on the link following this figure

Sources: Statistics Canada (historical) and ESDC 2019 COPS Projections.

Text version of Figure 7: Distribution of Employment by Skill Level

Table 2 shows that employment growth is expected to be faster in high-skill occupations, and slower in low-skill and some management occupations.

Table 2: 2-Digit Occupational Groupings by Projected Annual Average Growth Rate, 2019-2028
(average annual growth)
Growth above 1.3%* Growth below 0.5%*
Professional occupations in nursing Sales representatives and salespersons - wholesale and retail trade
Assisting occupations in support of health services Senior management occupations
Professional occupations in health (except nursing) Industrial, electrial and construction trades
Technical occupations in health Middle management occupations in retail and wholesale trade and customer serices
Paraprofessional occupations in legal, social, community and education services Middle management occupations in trades, transportation, production and utilities
Professional occupations in natural and applied sciences Processing and manufacturing machine operators and related production workers
Professional occupations in business and finance Labourers in processing, manufacturing and utilities
Professional occupations in law and social, community and government services Distribution, tracking and scheduling co-ordination occupations
  Workers in natural resources, agriculture and related production
  Office support occupations

*Annual growth rate for total employment is 0.9%. Boundaries were set at plus and minus 4 percentage points of this growth rate.

Source: ESDC 2019 COPS Projections.

As about 75% of the employment growth is expected to be in high-skill occupations over the period 2019-2028, the projected proportion of high-skill jobs in total employment is expected to increase to 63.9% on average over the projection period, up from 61.8% of total employment on average over 2009-2018.

The growing demand for healthcare and the structural change towards a more knowledge-based economy are expected to stimulate the demand for high-skill occupations over the projection period. Indeed, employment growth is expected to be faster among professional and technical services in health, as well as in natural and applied sciences occupations.

With the exception of some occupations, growth for management occupations is projected to be close the aggregate average, but employment in highly skill management positions (for example managers in health, technology and engineering) is expected to register stronger growth. Yet, employment in senior management occupations has declined since 2004, mostly because of the budget deficits reduction initiatives recorded by the various levels of government and because of the financial crisis. This situation is expected to continue at a slower pace over the projection period as austerity measures ease.

A weaker economic outlook in forestry and fishing, as well as in some manufacturing industries such as paper, printing, textile and clothing, is expected to limit employment growth in low-skill occupations that are related to these industries.

With the exception of the management occupations, the occupational groupings that are projected to grow at a slower pace (below 0.5%) have a higher content of routine tasks. The literature shows that occupations with a high degree of routine tasks have a higher probability of being negatively impacted by automation.

For instance, occupations related to office and clerical work are expected to also have below average employment growth. This is mostly due to the constant introduction of technologies that continue to transform secretarial work, leading to the specialization of administrative duties.

At a more detailed occupational level (4-digit NOC groupings), Table 3 shows the 10 occupations that are expected to have the stronger employment growth over the projection period. It shows that most of the 10 detailed occupational groupings with the strongest projected employment growth are in the health and IT sectors.

Table 3: Top 10 Occupations with the Strongest Annual Average Employment Growth, 2019-2028
NOC Occupations Employment
(2018)
Growth Rate
(2019-2028)
3111 Specialist physicians 48,500 3.2%
3011 Nursing co-ordinators and supervisors** 34,000 3.5%
3112 General practitioners and family physicians** 75,200 3.2%
3012 Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses** 314,300 2.9%
3142 Physiotherapists** 28,300 2.7%
3120* Optometrists, chiropractors and other health diagnosing and treating** 33,700 2.6%
3143* Occupational therapists & Other professional occupations in therapy and assessment** 26,800 2.6%
4212 Social and community service workers** 132,200 2.6%
3413* Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates & Other assisting occupations in support of health services** 321,000 2.6%
2173 Software engineers and designers 57,600 2.3%

Note 1: Occupations with a star are groupings of 4-digit occupations (including 3-digit occupations which are considered as groups of 4-digit occupations).
Note 2: Occupations in bold and with two stars are those where at least 50% of their workers were women in 2018.

Source: ESDC 2019 COPS Projections.

At a more detailed occupational level (4-digit NOC groupings), nine out of the ten occupations with the fastest projected employment growth are in the health sector (NOCs 3111, 3011, 3112, 3012, 3142, 3120, 3143, 4212 and 3413). This reflects the fact that the population is aging, increasing the need for healthcare professionals and related occupations.

Although only one occupation related to the information and technology sector (NOC 2173) is among the ten occupations with the fastest projected employment growth, most other occupations related to that field are also expected to record above average growth. For instance, employment in Information systems analysts and consultants (NOC 2171) and Database analysts and data administrators (NOC 2172) is expected to grow by 2.2% and 2.1% annually over the projection period. Demand among these occupations is expected to be supported by rapid technological changes. Technological innovations will keep evolving, inducing Canadian firms to constantly adapt and upgrade their IT infrastructure to remain competitive. In addition, new technologies such as artificial intelligence, 3D printing and Blockchain will continue to emerge, thereby supporting the demand for workers in these occupations. Furthermore, continued innovations such as virtual and augmented reality, and 5G mobile will provide new job opportunities for these workers.

Table 4 presents the top ten occupations with the largest demployment declines over the projection period. It shows that the strongest employment declines are expected in some occupations related to fishing, services and administrative activities.

Table 4: Top 10 Occupations with the Largest Annual Average Employment Decline Rates, 2019-2028
NOC Occupations Employment
(2018)
Growth Rate
(2019-2028)
8260* Fishing vessel masters and fishermen/women 11,300 -2.6%
8440* Other workers in fishing and trapping and hunting occupations 4,100 -2.6%
1422* Data entry clerks & Desktop publishing operators and related occupations** 34,100 -2.5%
6521 Travel counsellors** 17,300 -2.4%
1434* Banking, insurance and other financial clerks & Collectors** 37,200 -1.9%
4411* Home child care providers** 35,200 -1.6%
9432* Pulp mill machine operators; Papermaking and finishing machine operators & Paper converting machine operators 14,400 -1.5%
1241 Administrative assistants** 217,700 -1.5%
1512 Letter carriers 28,800 -1.3%
1450* Library, correspondence and other clerks** 43,000 -1.3%

Note 1: Occupations with a star are groupings of 4-digit occupations (including 3-digit occupations which are considered as groups of 4-digit occupations).
Note 2: Occupations in bold and with two stars are those where at least 50% of their workers were women in 2018.

Source: ESDC 2019 COPS Projections.

The two occupations (NOC 8260 and 8440) that are expected to face the largest job losses are unique to the fishing industry. Both occupations are relatively small. Fish supply constraints and the various quotas and moratorium as well as productivity growth from the increased use of more efficient fishing gears are expected to continue to lower employment in the fishing industry over the projection period.

Technological progress is the main responsible for the employment declines anticipated in most other occupations. Computerization is expected to have a strong impact on data entry clerks, and desktop publishing operators and related occupations (NOC 1422*). Machine learning and machine text reading are just some examples of technologies that are negatively impacting job opportunities in this occupation. The expected employment decline among Administrative assistants (NOC 1241) is due to ongoing office automation, which makes many of those positions redundant. In addition, the specialization of administrative tasks has transferred some of these jobs to more specialized administrative occupations. In fact, occupations related to general office support are also expected to have poor employment growth.

The fast introduction of computerization in the financial sector is also largely responsible for the projected decline in banking, insurance and other financial clerks and collectors (NOC 1434). This occupation has experienced strong job losses since 2009, a trend that is only expected to moderate over the projection period. New technology, the rise of online publishing and the subsequent transition away from paper documents have negatively impacted employment within the letter carriers (NOC 1512) and library, correspondence and other clerks (NOC 1450). Similarly, for travel counsellors (NOC 6521), expected employment losses reflect the continued popularity of airline tickets and trip packages sales on the Internet and the decrease in commissions paid to travel agencies by air carriers. Finally, technological advancements and the increased use of digital imaging has come at the expense of printing press operators jobs (NOC 9432).

The creation of many regulated child care spaces in early childhood centers across the country led to a decline in the demand for home child care provider services (NOC 4411) and this trend is expected to continue to reduce employment in this occupation.

Job Openings in Existing Positions (Replacement Demand)

Economic growth is not the only source of job openings. Replacement demand is the other major source of job openings. These openings are vacancies created by the following factors:

Figure 8 shows these sources of replacement demand over the periods 1999-2008, 2009-2018 and 2019-2028. This figure shows that retirements represent an increasingly important source of replacement demand.

Figure 8: Sources of Replacement Demand (in thousands)

Bar figure showing the sources of replacement demand over the periods 1999-2008, 2009-2018 and 2019-2028. The data is shown on the link following this figure

Note: Historical retirements are constructed using data from the Longitudinal Administrative Database (LAD). Retirement is defined as a complete and permanent withdrawal from the labour market.

Sources: ESDC estimates (historical) and ESDC 2019 COPS Projections.

Text version of Figure 8: Sources of Replacement Demand (in thousands)

Retirement growth and employment growth were comparable prior to 2007, but the former started outpacing the latter as of 2007. As a result, the overall retirement rate, expressed as the number of retirees per employed worker, grew from 1.3% in 2006 to 1.9% in 2018.

This overall retirement rate is expected to reach 2.0% in the early 2020s. Accordingly, the acceleration in the number of retirees seen since 2008 is expected to continue, at least over the first half of the coming decade. However, as all baby boomers will be over 65 years old by 2026, the volume and rate of retirements will reach a plateau towards the end of the projection period, before starting to decline beyond 2028.

The number of retirements is projected to rise from an annual average of 302,000 over the period 2009-2018 to 386,000 over the period 2019-2028.

As a result, retirements are expected to account not only for the largest, but also an increasing source of the replacement demand and the total job openings.

Figure 9 shows the overall retirement rate and indexed growth of retirement and employment over the period 1998-2028. It shows that retirements are expected to increase at a substantially faster rate than employment and the labour force.

Figure 9: Overall Retirement Rate and Indexed Growth of Retirements and Employment (Indexed Growth; 2008=100)

Line figure showing the overall annual retirement rate and the indexed growth of retirements and employment (base 2008=100) over the period 1998-2028. The data is shown on the link following this figure

The shaded area represents the projection period.

Sources: ESDC estimates (historical) and ESDC 2019 COPS Projections.

Text version of Figure 9: Overall Retirement Rate and Indexed Growth of Retirements and Employment (Indexed Growth; 2008=100)

The expected continued rise in the number of retirements and the overall retirement rate is explained by the aging of the Canadian population. This can be seen in Figure 10, which shows the share of the population aged 50 years and over and its retirement rate over the period 1990-2028.

As more and more members of the baby boom generation reach retirement age, the proportion of the population that are 50 years old or older is expected to continue to increase. Additionally, the upward trend in the retirement rate of these workers is projected to continue gradually, reaching 6.2% over the projection period, up from 5.4% over the period 2009-2018. Nevertheless, this rate is expected to reach a plateau in the mid 2020s as all baby boomers will be 65 years old or older, and most of them would have retired towards the end of the projection period.

Figure 10: Share of the Population Aged 50 and Over and its Retirement Rate

Line figure showing the annual share of the population aged 50 and over and their annual retirement rate over the period 1990-2028. The data is shown on the link following this figure

The shaded area represents the projection period.

Sources: ESDC estimates (historical) and ESDC 2019 COPS Projections.

Text version of Figure 10: Share of the Population Aged 50 and Over and its Retirement Rate

However, retirements are not evenly distributed amongst occupations. Indeed, high-skill occupations, which represented 63.3% of total employment in 2018, are expected to represent 65.8% of the job openings generated by retirements over the projection period.

Except for management occupations and those usually requiring only on-the-job training (skill level D), these proportions reflect the relative employment distribution across skill levels. Hence, the majority of the retirements are projected to be in the skill levels that have the largest proportions of employment. That is, they are expected to be in larger quantities in occupations usually requiring college education or apprenticeship certificate (skill level B) and in those usually requiring high school education (skill level C).

Retirements will generate a disproportionately larger number of job openings in management occupations as these workers tend to be significantly older than average, but they also tend to retire just at a slightly older age. On the other hand, workers in occupations that usually require only on-the-job training tend to be younger than average and tend to retire at a similar age, translating into a lower volume of retirements.

Therefore, projected retirement rates are the highest in management occupations and the lowest in occupations usually requiring on-the-job training (skill level D).

Figure 11: Distribution of Retirements by Skill Level, Projection 2019-2028

Bar figure showing the distribution of cumualtive retirements by skill level over the projection period. The data is shown on the link following this the link following this figure

Source: ESDC 2019 COPS Projections.

Text version of Figure 11: Distribution of Retirements by Skill Level, Projection 2019-2028

Table 5: Projected Cumulative Retirements and Retirement Rates by Skill Level, 2019-2028
  Management Skill Level A
(university education)
Skill Level B
(college education)
Skill Level C
(high school education)
Skill Level D
(on-the-job training)
Average Annual Retirement Rate 2.7% 1.8% 2.0% 2.0% 1.6%
10-year Retirements 469,600 757,900 1,310,700 981,700 339,300

Source: ESDC 2019 COPS Projections.

Yet, the distribution of retirements by skill level is projected to remain relatively stable over the period 2019-2028 when compared to the preceding decade. This can be seen in Figure 12, which displays the distribution of retirements by skill level over the periods 2009-2018 and 2019-2028.

Figure 12: Distribution of Retirements by Skill Level

Bar figure showing the distribution of cumulative retirements by skill level over the periods 2009-2018 and 2019-2028. The data is shown on the link following this figure

Source: ESDC 2019 COPS Projections. Estimated retirements over the historical period were obtained using data from the Longitudinal Administrative Database (LAD) and the Labour Force Survey from Statistics Canada.

Text version of Figure 12: Distribution of Retirements by Skill Level

As Table 6 shows, at the detailed occupational level (4-digit NOC groupings), occupations with the largest projected need to replace retirees are mostly due to their employment size. In fact, half of the top ten occupations have retirement rates that are similar to the average. However, retail and wholesale trade managers (NOC 0621), administrative officers (NOC 1221), janitors, caretakers and building superintendents (NOC 6733), and administrative assistants (1241) have higher than average retirement rates. On the other hand, the occupation of retail salespersons (NOC 6421) is expected to have a below average retirement rate.

Table 6: Top 10 Occupations with the Largest Number of Retirements, 2019-2028
NOC Occupations Total Retirements Retirement Rate
0621 Retail and wholesale trade managers 97,200 3.0%
6421 Retail salespersons** 84,200 1.5%
3012 Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses** 72,500 2.0%
7511 Transport truck drivers 71,200 2.1%
3413* Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates & Other assisting occupations in support of health services** 68,300 1.8%
1221 Administrative officers** 67,400 3.4%
6731 Light duty cleaners** 64,400 2.4%
6411 Sales and account representatives - wholesale trade 64,000 2.4%
6733 Janitors, caretakers and building superintendents 62,800 3.3%
1241 Administrative assistants** 61,200 3.0%

Note 1: Occupations with a star are groupings of 4-digit occupations (including 3-digit occupations which are considered as groups of 4-digit occupations).
Note 2: Occupations in bold and with two stars are those where at least 50% of their workers were women in 2018.

Source: ESDC 2019 COPS Projections.

Table 7 shows that occupations with the strongest projected retirement pressures (as per their retirement rates) are concentrated in management, reflecting an older workforce in those areas of the labour market. Indeed, managers tend to be older and tend to retire at a slightly older age than the average.

Table 7: Top 10 Occupations with the Highest Retirement Rates, 2019-2028
NOC Occupations Total Retirements Retirement Rate
0113* Purchasing managers & Senior managers - health, education, social and community services and membership organizations 7,800 5.7%
0421 Administrators - post-secondary education and vocational training** 5,600 4.4%
0010* Legislators and senior management 25,200 4.4%
4154 Professional occupations in religion 11,000 4.2%
0632 Accommodation service managers 28,600 4.1%
7272 Cabinetmakers 1,700 3.9%
0811 Managers in natural resources production and fishing 4,300 3.9%
1224 Property administrators** 12,000 3.8%
9463 Fish and seafood plant workers** 1,600 3.8%
9441* Textile fibre and yarn, hide and pelt processing machine operators and workers; Weavers, knitters and other fabric making occupations; Fabric, fur and leather cutters & Inspectors and graders, textile, fabric, fur and leather products manufacturing** 2,400 3.7%

Note 1: Occupations with a star are groupings of 4-digit occupations (including 3-digit occupations which are considered as groups of 4-digit occupations).
Note 2: Occupations in bold and with two stars are those where at least 50% of their workers were women in 2019.

Source: ESDC 2019 COPS Projections.

On the other hand, five of the ten occupations with the lowest retirement rates are expected to be in sales and services, which tend to employ a younger workforce.

Although managers in communication (except broadcasting) (NOC 0130) are on average older than workers in non-managerial occupations, they are relatively younger than other management occupations. They also tend to retire much later in their career compared to most managers. In fact, the average retirement age in this occupational grouping is among the highest of all occupations. The late retirement age coupled with a relatively young workforce for a management occupation explain the very low retirement rate.

Table 8: Top 10 Occupations with the Lowest Retirement Rates, 2019-2028
NOC Occupations Total Retirements Retirement Rate
3213 Animal health technologists and veterinary technicians** 700 0.3%
0130* Managers in communication (except broadcasting) 500 0.3%
6511 Maîtres d’hôtel and hosts/hostesses** 2,900 0.4%
4012 Post-secondary teaching and research assistants** 3,900 0.5%
6513 Food and beverage servers** 11,800 0.6%
8614* Mine labourers & Oil and gas drilling, servicing and related labourers 600 0.6%
6562 Estheticians, electrologists and related occupations** 3,900 0.6%
5250* Athletes, coaches, referees and related occupations** 11,100 0.7%
6512 Bartenders** 2,700 0.7%
6311 Food service supervisors** 6,200 0.7%

Note 1: Occupations with a star are groupings of 4-digit occupations (including 3-digit occupations which are considered as groups of 4-digit occupations).
Note 2: Occupations in bold and with two stars are those where at least 50% of their workers were women in 2018.

Source: ESDC 2019 COPS Projections.

Total Job Openings

Figure 13 shows total job openings from expansion and replacement demand over the periods 1999-2008, 2009-2018 and 2019-2028. It shows that replacement demand is projected to represent nearly three quarters of all job openings over the coming decade.

Figure 13: Job Openings from Expansion and Replacement Demand

Bar figure showing the cumulative job openings from expansion demand and replacement demand over the periods 1999-2008, 2009-2018 and 2019-2028. The data is shown on the link following this figure

Source: Statistics Canada (historical) and ESDC 2019 COPS Projections.

Text version of Figure 13: Job Openings from Expansion and Replacement Demand

A total of 6.56 million job openings (those due to economic growth plus those due to replacement needs) are expected over the period 2019-2028. About 1.7 million are projected to be new positions as a result of increasing economic activity (expansion demand or employment growth), while over 4.8 million are projected to be existing positions being vacated due to replacement needs (retirements will account for 3.9 million of the 4.8 million positions being vacated).

As a result, replacement demand (mainly from retirements) is expected to represent 73.4% of all projected job openings over the period 2019-2028, up from 69.7% in 2009-2018 and 48.1% in 1999-2008.

Figure 14 shows the total job openings from expansion and replacement demand by skill level over the period 2019 to 2028. It shows that more than two-thirds (or about 4.4 million) of the job openings are expected to be in occupations that usually require postsecondary education (university, college or vocational) or in management occupations. In fact, 75% of new jobs created by economic expansion are projected to be in occupations generally requiring postsecondary education or in management occupations, whereas 65.4% of job openings due to replacement are in these occupational groups, for a combined average of 67.8% (around 4.4 million).

Given that 75% of the new jobs are expected to be in high-skill occupations over the period 2019-2028, the proportion of high-skill jobs in total employment will continue to rise in the coming decade. Indeed, the share of high-skill occupations out of total employment has grown from 60.2% in 2008 to 63.3% in 2018, and it is expected to reach 64.3% in 2028.

Figure 14 shows total job openings from expansion and replacement demand by skill level over the periods 1999-2008, 2009-2018 and 2019-2028. It shows that replacement demand is projected to represent nearly three quarters of all projected job openings over the coming decade. It shows that over the next ten years, two-thirds of all projected job openings are in occupations usually requiring post-secondary education or in management occupations.

Figure 14: Job Openings from Expansion and Replacement Demand by Skill Level, Projection 2019-2028

Bar figure showing the cumulative job openings from expansion and replacement demand by skill level over the projection period. The data is shown on the link following this figure

The shaded area represents the occupations are related to management or that typically required at least post-secondary education.

Source: ESDC 2019 COPS Projections.

Text version of Figure 14: Job Openings from Expansion and Replacement Demand by Skill Level, Projection 2019-2028

At the more detailed occupational level, Table 9 shows the top 10 4-digit occupations with the largest number of job openings over the projection period. Occupations that are projected to have the largest number of job openings usally have a large employment size, resulting in relatively large replacement needs. Indeed, employment in those 10 occupations (10 out of 293 occupations) accounted for about 17.5% of total employment in 2018. They can be summarized as follows:

Table 9: Top 10 Occupations with the Largest Number of Job Openings, 2019-2028
NOC Occupations Employment
(2018)
Job Openings
(2019-2028)
3012 Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses** 314,300 191,200
3413* Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates & Other assisting occupations in support of health services** 321,000 178,600
6421 Retail salespersons** 566,700 126,500
7511 Transport truck drivers 317,700 119,900
0621 Retail and wholesale trade managers 324,600 113,900
2171 Information systems analysts and consultants 216,000 113,000
6731 Light duty cleaners** 245,900 108,900
6411 Sales and account representatives - wholesale trade (non-technical) 248,700 98,900
6711 Food counter attendants, kitchen helpers and related support occupations** 386,700 98,600
4032 Elementary school and kindergarten teachers** 322,000 97,900

Note 1: Occupations with a star are groupings of 4-digit occupations (including 3-digit occupations which are considered as groups of 4-digit occupations).
Note 2: Occupations in bold and with two stars are those where at least 50% of their workers were women in 2018.

Source: ESDC 2019 COPS Projections.

To assess the size of labour demand in each occupation, the ratio of the projected number of cumulative job openings to the actual level of employment in 2018 was used. Table 10 shows the 10 occupations with the highest ratio of job openings over the projection period. According to this indicator, all ten occupations with the largest ratios of job openings to employment are projected to be in management and healthcare occupations. This is not surprising as these occupations are expected to experience strong employment growth (expansion demand) and/or have an old workforce and a low retirement age (replacement demand).

Table 10: Top 10 Occupations with the Highest Ratio of Job Openings, 2019-2028
NOC Occupations Employment
(2018)
Job Openings (2019-2028) over 2018 Employment
3011 Nursing co-ordinators and supervisors** 34,000 78.4%
4151 Psychologists** 22,500 69.4%
3112 General practitioners and family physicians** 75,200 67.7%
0632 Accommodation service managers 64,500 67.2%
3111 Specialist physicians 48,500 67.0%
0113* Purchasing managers & Senior managers - health, education, social and community services and membership organizations 13,400 66.8%
0423 Managers in social, community and correctional services** 41,600 66.4%
0311 Managers in health care** 31,100 64.7%
3012 Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses** 314,300 60.8%
3120* Optometrists, chiropractors and other health diagnosing and treating professionals** 33,700 58.6%

Note 1: Occupations with a star are groupings of 4-digit occupations (including 3-digit occupations which are considered as groups of 4-digit occupations).
Note 2: Occupations in bold and with two stars are those where at least 50% of their workers were women in 2018.

Source: ESDC 2019 COPS Projections.

On the other hand, occupations that are expected to face the lowest ratios of job openings over the projection period are those related to fishing, agriculture, clerical and administrative fields, and sales and services. Retirement pressures for most of those occupations are low as workers are generally younger. Also, employment growth for these occupations is expected to be below average or negative, as they are heavily impacted by technology advancement among other factors.

Table 11: Top 10 Occupations with the Smallest Ratio of Job Openings, 2019-2028
NOC Occupations Employment
(2018)
Job Openings (2019-2028) over 2018 Employment
8440* Other workers in fishing and trapping and hunting occupations 4,100 -2.0%
1422* Data entry clerks & Desktop publishing operators and related occupations** 34,100 1.8%
4411 Home child care providers** 35,200 5.6%
6521 Travel counsellors** 17,300 5.9%
6512 Bartenders** 38,500 10.6%
8260* Fishing vessel masters and fishermen/women 11,300 10.6%
7292* Glaziers & Insulators 14,100 11.3%
8432* Nursery and greenhouse workers** 16,200 11.7%
1434* Banking, insurance and other financial clerks & Collectors** 37,200 11.8%
2222* Agricultural and fish products inspectors; Forestry technologists and technician & Conservation and fishery officers 16,100 12.6%

Note 1: Occupations with a star are groupings of 4-digit occupations (including 3-digit occupations which are considered as groups of 4-digit occupations).
Note 2: Occupations in bold and with two stars are those where at least 50% of their workers were women in 2018.

Source: ESDC 2019 COPS Projections.

In 2018, women accounted for more than 50% of employment in seven of the ten occupations with the largest ratios of job openings, but only in six with the lowest ratios. This is also reflected in occupations with a substantially high concentration of female employment (where at least 80% of the employment were women in 2018).

Occupations where at least 80% of workers were women in 2018 are expected to have on average higher ratios of job openings than for those where the concentration was below 20% because of relatively stronger job creation and a higher proportion of retirements:

In 2018, 42 occupations had a significantly high concentration of female workers, a number lower than the 93 with a substantially elevated proportion of males.

The sum of the projected job openings of all the occupations with a significant concentration of female workers is expected to represent about 37.4% of their cumulative 2018 employment level. This is largely because 25 of these occupations (59.6%) are projected to have ratios above the average of 35.2%. The larger employment size among these occupations, the relatively stronger job creation and their generally higher proportion of retirements, explain this situation. Occupations related to health; business, finance and administration; as well as education, law and social, community and government represent the large majority of such occupations.

In comparison, job openings will represent about 33.1% of the 2018 employment among occupations with a strong concentration of males. Only 32 (or 34.4%) of these occupations are expected to have above average job openings ratios. Occupations related to trades, transport and equipment operators, natural and applied sciences, management and manufacturing account for the majority of such occupations.

Figure 15 shows the projected number and share of job openings from expansion demand and replacement demand, by type of task, over the period 2019-2028. It shows that replacement demand is projected to represent the largest share of job openings for all types of tasks.

Figure 15: Job Openings from Expansion and Replacement Demand by Type of Tasks, Projection 2019-2028

Bar figure showing the cumulative number and share of job openings from expansion and replacement demand, by type of task, over the projection period. The data is shown on the link following this figure

Sources: Statistics Canada (historical) and ESDC 2019 COPS Projections.

Text version of Figure 15: Job Openings from Expansion and Replacement Demand by Type of Tasks, Projection 2019-2028

Out of the 6.56 million projected job openings (those due to economic growth plus those due to replacement needs), a little more than 2.7 million of those job openings are expected to have a high content of non-routine tasks. About 750,000 (28.2% of them) are projected to be new positions resulting from increasing economic activity (expansion demand or employment growth), and about 2.0 million are projected to be existing positions being vacated due to replacement needs (retirements will account for 1.6 million of the 2.0 million positions being vacated).

A little more than 2.2 million of the job openings are expected to have a high content of interpersonal tasks. This type of tasks will have the highest share of job openings resulting from expansion demand (or employment growth), accounting for a little less than 650,000 openings (29.1%). The need to replace some 1.6 million existing positions will still represent about 70% of job openings (of which 1.25 million will be from retirements).

Occupations with overall high shares of interpersonal and non-routine cognitive tasks are expected to have the largest proportion of job openings.

Finally, occupations with a high content of routine tasks are expected to account for about 1.6 million of job openings. A little more than three-quarters of those openings will come from replacement needs (about 1.25 million, of which, 1 million are from retirements), while the remaining 350,000 openings are projected to be new positions as a result of increasing economic activity.

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