Canadian Occupational Projection System (COPS)

Job Openings (2015-2024)

The previous COPS projections (for the period 2013 to 2022) used data coded according to the 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC).

The current exercise uses the 2011 NOC, which is the most up-to-date version of the classification, and covers the period 2015 to 2024.

The 2011 NOC has 500 occupations. However, many of these occupations are too 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, 292 occupational groupings were obtained. Occupations that were grouped are marked with an asterisk (*).

For more information on the 292 occupational grouping used in COPS, please visit the COPS Occupational Groupings' Definition.

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

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

Over the next 10 years, economic growth is expected to generate about 1.5 million new jobs (150,000 on average every year), which represent an annual average growth rate of 0.8%. The weaker growth, compared to previous decades, will be due to the slower growth in the labour force (see document Macroeconomic Scenario (2015-2024)).

At the occupational level, employment growth is affected by occupational and industrial effects. The occupational effect impacts employment via the productivity and utilization levels of each of the occupations in the economy, for example as a result of 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. For example, the invention of the backhoe loaders and mini excavators replaced diggers jobs, but it also created jobs for backhoe machine operators.

An example of  the occupational effect is technology advancement, which might boost production for some workers and allow them to do things that could not be done before (higher productivity). However, this might pose a risk of being replaced by technological processes for some other workers. This can in turn translate into job losses or limited job creation.

Frey and Osborne (2013) derived probabilities of computerisation for 702 occupations in the U.S. from the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC). Figure 1 shows an adaptation of their results to the Canadian employment data. It displays the size of employment that has high, medium and low probabilities of being computerized, given the specific skills within each occupation. Each colour represents a NOC skill level (usual education required within an occupation). Note that it is shown for illustration only as these probabilities are not directly used in the COPS projections.

Figure 1: Employment Distribution by Skill Level and Probability of Computerisation, 2014

Area figure showing the employment distribution by skill level and estimated probability of computerisation in 2014. The data is shown on the link following this figure

Note: The total area under the curves totals the Canadian employment in 2014

Source: Statistics Canada and ESDC 2015.

Text version of Figure 1: Employment Distribution by Skill Level and Probability of Computerisation, 2014

According to these results, occupations requiring more education are at lower risk of losing jobs compared to others that require a high school diploma or less. Jobs requiring less education tend to be manual routine jobs and can be more easily replaced by technology.  On the other hand, jobs requiring high education mostly have low probabilities of being computerised as they are more based on cognitive and non-routine tasks. The results are mixed for occupations requiring college education as some have a low, while others a high probability of being computerised.

In the COPS projections, occupational effects are considered via the evaluation of historical productivity trends.  Therefore, the impact of computerization is considered indirectly in the models.

On the other hand, the industrial effect influences occupational employment growth due to the performance of the industry where they are employed. For example, if there is a positive outlook in a particular industry, then employment in occupations within this industry is expected to be positively affected.

Figure 2 shows the projected employment growth by industry, sorted in descending order. In principle, occupations directly linked to industries that are expected to have strong employment growth will benefit from this positive outlook. The reverse occur for those tied to industries with weak employment growth.

Figure 2: Projected Employment Growth by Industry, 2015-2024, (average annual growth, in percentage)

Bar figure showing the projected average annual percentage growth of employment by industry over the projection period 2015-2024. The data is shown on the link following this figure

Source: ESDC, 2015 COPS industrial scenario (projections).

Text version of Figure 2: Projected Employment Growth by Industry, 2015-2024, (average annual growth, in percentage)

The industries projected to post above average growth in employment  (i.e. above 0.8% annually) are those related to professional and scientific services (including computer system design); health care; wood product manufacturing; metal fabrication and machinery; and non-automotive transportation equipment (aerospace, railroad, shipbuilding). Job creation in those industries is driven by the ongoing transition towards a knowledge-based economy, the increasing use by other domestic industries of outsourcing professional business services for non-essential processes, the rise in public spending for health care as a result of an aging population, the ongoing recovery in residential investment in the U.S., stronger growth projected in business investment in machinery and equipment in North America, and the growing global demand for air travel and public transportation.

The industries projected to experience moderate growth in employment (i.e. between 0.5% and 0.8% annually) are largely oriented towards the domestic market, such as consumer and production services, construction, educational services, and utilities. Output and employment growth in such industries are expected to be constrained by the slower pace of growth anticipated in final domestic demand. Job creation in most services industries is also expected to be constrained by slower growth in the national labour supply, incenting employers to find new ways of delivering services and/or to replace labour with capital wherever possible. Mining and some manufacturing industries are expected to post moderate job creation as well, reflecting the need to contain labour costs and improve productivity. It is the case of manufactured mineral products; rubber, plastic and chemicals; and food and beverage products.

The industries projected to post the weakest growth or declines in employment (i.e. below 0.5% annually) are oil and gas extraction (including support activities); some consumer services  (personal and household services and information/culture/recreation services); public administration; non-mineral primary industries (forestry, agriculture, fishing); and various manufacturing industries (auto, textile, paper, printing). Job creation in the oil and gas industries is expected to slow markedly as a result of major investment cutbacks due to the weaker outlook for oil prices over the short- to medium-term. Ongoing technological improvements and the fact that the production capacity in oil sands is increasing while becoming less labour intensive are also expected to lead to significant gains in productivity and less demand for labour. In public administration, job creation is expected to be restrained by fiscal constraints, while the need to improve cost competitiveness is expected to result in anaemic employment growth or additional job losses in non-mineral primary industries and several manufacturing industries. 

These two effects have impacted the employment growth distribution among high- and low-skill occupations. Figure 3 shows the average annual employment change in high- and low skilled occupations over the periods 1995 to 2004, 2005 to 2014 and 2015 to 2024

Figure 3: High- and Low-skilled Average Annual Employment Change, 1995-2004, 2005-2014 and 2015-2024

Bar figure showing the high- and low-skilled average annual employment change over the projection periods 1995-2004, 2005-2014 and 2015-2024. 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

Source: Statistics Canada (historical) and ESDC 2015 COPS Projections.

Text version of Figure 3: High- and Low-skilled Average Annual Employment Change, 1995-2004, 2005-2014 and 2015-2024

About 70% 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 an even higher share of new job creation during the preceding decade (91%). However, this was largely due to the recession that mostly impacted employment in low-skill occupations. Yet, this projected trend is a continuation of what has been observed over the past 20 years as the Canadian economy became more knowledge-intensive. High-skill occupations represented 61.5% of total employment in 2014.

The demand for low-skill jobs is also projected to continue to grow. The expected demand in health; mining and oil extraction; accommodation and food services; as well as the recovery of some manufacturing industries that had been suppressed for a lengthy time, will boost employment growth in low-skill occupations that are concentrated in these industries.

The strong growth in high-skill occupations is mostly due to strong employment growth in those that usually require university education. Figure 4 shows the distribution of employment growth among skill levels over the projection period 2015 to 2024.

Over the projection period, the largest share of new job openings as a result of economic growth (employment growth) is expected to be in occupations that usually require a college education or apprenticeship training (skill level B), mostly due to the employment size of this group. However, occupations that usually required a university education (skill level A) are expected to have the fastest overall employment growth. This is notably mostly as a result of strong growth expectations in occupations related to professional services in health, as well as the information and technology sectors.

Figure 4: Distribution of Expansion Demand by Skill Level, 2015-2024

Bar figure showing the distribution of the cumulative expansion demand by skill level over the projection period 2015-2024. The data is shown on the link following this figure

Source: ESDC 2015 COPS Projections.

Text version of Figure 4: Distribution of Expansion Demand by Skill Level, 2015-2024

In comparison, in 2014, the largest share of employment could be found 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 required a university education (skill level A), only on-the-job training (skill level D), and management occupations ranked third, fourth and fifth, respectively. This can be observed in Table 1, which shows the employment distribution and projected employment growth by skill level of the period 2015 to 2024.

Table 1: 2014 Employment Distribution and Projected Employment Growth by Skill Level of the Period 2015-2024
  Management Skill Level A (unviersity edcutaion) Skill Level B (college education) Skill Level C (high school education) Skill Level D (on-the-job training)
Employment Growth (AAGR*) 0.4 1.3 0.8 0.6 0.7
2014 Employment Distribution 9.1% 19.0% 33.3% 27.5% 11.0%

*AAGR: Annual Average Growth Rate

Source: Statistics Canada (historical) and ESDC 2015 COPS Projections.

The faster employment growth in high-skill occupations will result in a slight increase in the share of high-skill occupations within total employment. This can be observed in Figure 5, which shows the distribution of employment by skill level over the periods 2005 to 2024 and 2015 to 2024. Indeed, as about 71% of the employment growth is expected to be in high-skill occupations over the period period 2015 to 2024, the projected proportion of high-skill jobs in total employment is expected to increase to 61.9% on average over the projection period, from 60.3% of total employment on average over 2005 to 2014.

Figure 5: Distribution of Employment by Skill Level: 2005-2014 and 2015-2024

Bar figure showing the distribution of employment by skill level over the periods 2005-2014 and 2015-2024. The data is shown on the link following this figure

Source: Statistics Canada (historical) and ESDC 2015 COPS Projections.

Text version of Figure 5: Distribution of Employment by Skill Level: 2005-2014 and 2015-2024

The growing demand for healthcare and the structural change towards a more knowledge-based economy are expected to push the demand for high-skill occupations up over the projection period. Table 2 lists the 2-digit occupations (aggregated level) whos employment is projected to grow above 1.2% and below 0.4% annually respectively. The table shows that indeed, employment growth is expected to be faster among technical and professional services in health and natural and applied sciences occupations.

With the exception of senior management occupations, growth for management occupations is projected to be about average, but employment in highly-skill management positions (for example managers in health, technology and engineering) is expected to register stronger growth. 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. Senior managers related to financial, communications carriers and other business services were the most affected. This situation is expected to turn around slightly over the projection period as austerity measures ease. However, employment growth is expected to be only marginal for these occupations. Additionally, lower-skill management occupations (mainly managers in sales and services) are expected to record weaker growth.

On the other hand, a weaker economic outlook in the agriculture, forestry, logging, fishing, hunting and trapping, as well as in some manufacturing sector such as paper, printing, textile and clothing manufacturing, is expected to limit employment growth in low-skill occupations that are related to these industries.

Finally, 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 revolutionize secretarial work, leading to the specialization of administrative duties.

Table 2: 2-Digit Occupational Groupings by Projected Annual Average Growth Rate, 2015-2024
(average annual growth)
Growth above 1.2% Growth below 0.4%
Professional occupations in health (except Nursing) Workers in natural resources, agriculture and related production
Professional occupations in nursing Middle management occupations in retail and wholesale trade and customer services
Assisting occupations in support of health services Office support occupations
Paraprofessional occupations in legal, social, community and education services Supervisors and technical occupations in natural resources, agriculture and related production
Technical occupations in health Distribution, tracking and scheduling co-ordination occupations
Professional occupations in natural and applied sciences Processing and manufacturing machine operators and related production workers
Professional occupations in business and finance Senior management occupations

Note: Growth rate for total employment is 0.8%.

Source: ESDC 2015 COPS Projections.

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. This table shows that four out of the ten occupations with the fastest projected employment growth are in the health sector (NOCs 3111, 3112, 3011, and 3142). This reflects the fact that the population is aging and with this, the need for healthcare professionals and healthcare related occupations is expected to increase. Another four occupations (NOCs 2172, 0213, 2171 and 2147) are related to the information and technology sector, mostly due to the strong outlook expected in this growing industry.

Employment growth for chefs (NOC 6321) is projected to be above the average of all occupations, since the occupation will benefit from a positive outlook for the accommodation and food services sector. Domestic tourism is expected to remain strong, while increases in household income and international tourism are expected to boost demand.

Finally, the growing needs in the social services sector is expected to boost job creation for social and community service workers (NOC 4212).

Table 3: Top 10 Occupations with the Strongest Annual Average Employment Growth,2015-2024
NOC Occupations Employment 2014 Growth Rate (2015-2024)
3111 Specialist physicians 37,900 2.6%
2172 Database analysts and data administrators 29,600 2.4%
3112 General practitioners and family physicians 53,000 2.4%
6321 Chefs 59,600 2.1%
0213 Computer and information systems managers 55,500 2.0%
3011 Nursing co-ordinators and supervisors 20,900 2.0%
3142 Physiotherapists 27,000 2.0%
2171 Information systems analysts and consultants 175,200 1.9%
2147 Computer engineers (except software engineers and designers) 22,600 1.9%
4212 Social and community service workers 13,900 1.9%

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 are those where at least 50% of their workers were women in 2014.

Source: ESDC 2015 COPS Projections.

On the other hand, some occupations are projected to post employment declines. Table 4 shows the 10 occupations that are expected to have the strongest employment decline rates over the projection period. They are mostly related to manufacturing, primary and administrative occupations. Indeed, three (NOC 7380, 9432/9433/9435 and 9446) out of the top ten occupations that are expected to post declines over the next decade are associated with unique to processing, manufacturing and utilities, largely affected negatively by technological advancements and weaker industrial outlooks. For instance, the increased popularity of digital imaging has come at the expense of printing press operators jobs. 

Two (NOC 8260 and 8440) out of these ten occupations are unique to the fishing sector. Both occupations are relatively small. Fish supply constraints and the various quotas and moratorium as well as productivity growth from the increase use of larger vessels are expected to continue to limit growth in fishing over the projection period.

Other two (NOC 6623 and 6621) are low-skill occupations related to the sales and personal services industries. These occupations are expected to continue being affected by technological advancements. For instance, the increased online shopping has lowered the demand for door-to-door salespersons and street vendors.

The expected employment decline in Administrative assistants (NOC 1241) is due to the 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 expectations.

The expected drop in employment for Electronic service technicians (household and business equipment – NOC 2242) will be attributable mainly to the challenges faced by the computer and electronics manufacturing industry. The continued drop in the general price of consumer electronic devices is expected to lead consumers to replace defective devices rather than having them repaired.

Finally, weak employment growth expectations of Managers in communication occupation group (NOC 013)  is mostly associated with low demand expectations in the postal and courier service sector.

Table 4: Top 10 Occupations with the Largest Annual Average Employment Decline Rates, 2015-2024
NOC Occupations Employment 2014 Growth Rate (2015-2024)
1241 Administrative assistants 112,500 -3.0%
8260* Fishing vessel masters and fishermen/women 11,400 -3.0%
2242 Electronic service technicians (household and business equipment) 59,800 -1.5%
6621 Service station attendants 15,500 -1.5%
7380* Printing press operators and other trades and related occupations, not else classified 26,300 -1.3%
9446 Industrial sewing machine operators 16,400 -1.1%
6623 Other sales related occupations 35,500 -1.0%
0130* Managers in communication (except broadcasting) 12,200 -0.9%
9432* Pulp mill; Papermaking and finishing & Paper converting machine operators 16,600 -0.8%
9470* Printing equipment operators and related occupations 18,400 -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 are those where at least 50% of their workers were women in 2014.

Source: ESDC 2015 COPS Projections.

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 6 shows these sources of replacement demand over the periods 1995 to 2004, 2005 to 2014 and 2015 to 2024. This figure shows that indeed retirements represent an increasingly important source of replacement demand.

Figure 6: Sources of Replacement Demand over the Periods 1995-2004, 2005-2014 and 2015-2024

Bar figure showing the sources of replacement demand over the periods 1995-2004, 2005-2014 and 2015-2024. 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.

Source: Statistics Canada (historical) and ESDC 2015 COPS Projections.

Text version of Figure 6: Sources of Replacement Demand over the Periods 1995-2004, 2005-2014 and 2015-2024

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 1.27 in 2006 to 1.84 in 2014. This can be seen in Figure 7, which shows the overall retirement rate and indexed growth of retirements and employment over the period 1997 to 2024 and using 2005 as the base index year (2005=100).

Retirements are expected to increase at a substantially faster rate than employment or the labour force. The overall retirement rate is expected to surpass and remain above 2.0% in the early 2020s. Accordingly, an acceleration in the number of retirees is expected over the coming decade, with even larger numbers beyond the projection horizon (2024). The annual average number of retirements is projected to rise from 266,000 a year over the period 2005 to 2014, to an average of 374,000 a year over the projection period.

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 7: Overall Retirement Rate and Indexed Growth of Retirements and Employment (2005=100) , 1997-2024

Line figure showing the overall annual retirement rate and the indexed growth of retirements and employment (base 2005=100)  over the period 1997-2024 . 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.

Source: Statistics Canada (historical) and ESDC 2015 COPS Projections.

Text version of Figure 7: Overall Retirement Rate and Indexed Growth of Retirements and Employment (2005=100), 1997-2024

This expected continued rise in the number of retirements and the overall retirement rates is explained by the aging of the Canadian population. This can be seen in Figure 8, which shows the share of the population of peopled that are over 50 years old and their retirement rate over the period 1990 to 2024.

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 rates of these workers are expected to slowly continue, reaching 6.1% over the projection period, from 5.4% recorded over the period 2005 to 2014.

Figure 8: Share of the Population Aged 50 and Over and their Retirement Rate, 1990-2024

Line figure showing the annual share of the population aged 50 and over and the annual retirement rate over the period 1990-2024 . 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.

Source: Statistics Canada (historical) and ESDC 2015 COPS Projections.

Text version of Figure 8: Share of the Population Aged 50 and Over and their Retirement Rate, 1990-2024

However, retirements are not evenly distributed amongst occupations. Indeed, high-skill occupations, which represented 62.2% of employment in 2014, are expected to represent 64.6% of the job openings generated by retirements. Figure 9 and Table 5 display the distribution of the projected number of retirements and rates by skill level 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 between 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 openings in management occupations as these workers tend to be older than average and retire at a lower expected average retirement age than the rest. On the other hand, workers in occupations that  usually require only on-the-job training tend to be younger than average and retire at an older age, translated into a lower volume of retirements.

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

Figure 9: Distribution of Retirements by Skill Level , 2015-2024

Bar figure showing the distribution of cumualtive retirements by skill level , 2015-2024 over the projection period 2015-2024. The data is shown on the link following this figure

Source: ESDC 2015 COPS Projections.

Text version of Figure 9: Distribution of Retirements by Skill Level , 2015-2024

Table 5: Projected Cumulative Retirements and Retirement Rates by Skill Level, 2015-2024
  Management Skill Level A (unviersity edcutaion) Skill Level B (college education) Skill Level C (high school education) Skill Level D (on-the-job training)
Average Annual Retirement Rate 3.1% 1.9% 1.9% 2.0% 1.5%
10-year Retirements 507,700 696,000 1,210,600 1,009,400 311,900

*AAGR: Annual Average Growth Rate

Source: ESDC 2015 COPS Projections.

Nevertheless, the distribution of retirements by skill level is projected to remain relatively stable over the period 2015-2024 when compared to the preceding decade. This can be seen in Figure 10, which displays the distribution of retirements by skill level over the periods 2005 to 2014 and 2015 to 2024.

Figure 10: Distribution of Retirements by Skill Level, 2005-2014 and 2015-2024

Bar figure showing the distribution of cumulative retirements by skill level over the periods 2005-2014 and 2015-2024. 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.

Source: Statistics Canada (historical) and ESDC 2015 COPS Projections.

Text version of Figure 10: Distribution of Retirements by Skill Level, 2005-2014 and 2015-2024

Similarly, 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. Table 6 shows the 10 occupations that are expected to have the largest number of retirements over the projection period. In fact, seven of the top ten occupations have retirement rates that are similar to the average. Only managerial related occupations (NOC 0621 and 0820) 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, 2015-2024
NOC Occupations Total Retirements Retirement Rate
0621 Retail and wholesale trade managers 94,600 3.3%
7511 Transport truck drivers 82,000 2.4%
6421 Retail salespersons 81,700 1.5%
3012 Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses 66,700 2.0%
1221 Administrative officers 62,800 2.4%
3413* Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates & Other assisting occupations in support of health services 61,800 2.0%
6731 Light duty cleaners 57,700 2.4%
4032 Elementary school and kindergarten teachers 56,500 1.9%
0820* Managers in agriculture, horticulture and aquaculture 55,600 3.3%
6733 Janitors, caretakers and building superintendents 49,300 2.4%

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 are those where at least 50% of their workers were women in 2014.

Source: ESDC 2015 COPS Projections.

However, retirement pressures are also measured using the the retirement rate, as the proportion of the number of retirements per worker in each of the occupations. Table 7 shows the top 10 occupations with the highest expected retirement rates over the projection period. Occupations with the strongest projected retirement pressures (as per their retirement rates) are concentrated in management and in secretarial occupations, reflecting an older workforce in those areas of the labour market. Six out of the ten occupations with the highest retirement rates are in management, where the workforce tends to be older and tend to retire at an earlier age than the average.

Table 7: Top 10 Occupations with the Highest Retirement Rates, 2015-2024
NOC Occupations Total Retirements Retirement Rate
9446 Industrial sewing machine operators 7,900 5.4%
8260* Fishing vessel masters and fishermen/women 4,600 4.9%
0430* Managers in public protection services 2,100 4.7%
0010* Legislators and senior management 26,000 4.5%
1243 Medical administrative assistants 15,600 4.1%
0421 Administrators - post-secondary education and vocational training 3,700 4.0%
0422 School principals and administrators of elementary and secondary education 11,400 4.0%
0423 Managers in social, community and correctional services 13,800 4.0%
0311 Managers in health care 12,600 3.9%
1241 Administrative assistants 37,200 3.9%

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 are those where at least 50% of their workers were women in 2014.

Source: ESDC 2015 COPS Projections.

On the other hand, Table 8 shows the 10 occupations with the lowest expected retirement rates over the projection period. Half of the occupations with the lowest retirement rates are expected to be in sales and service occupations, which employ a younger workforce. The other half will be in occupations in art, culture, recreation and sport, another area with a young workforce.

Table 8: Top 10 Occupations with the Lowest Retirement Rates, 2015-2024
NOC Occupations Total Retirements Retirement Rate
5250* Athletes, coaches, referees and related occupations. 5,400 0.4%
6511 Maîtres d'hôtel and hosts/hostesses 3,000 0.5%
6513 Food and beverage servers 11,500 0.5%
6512 Bartenders 1,900 0.5%
5221 Photographers 1,700 0.8%
5222* Film/video camera operator; Graphic arts technicians; Broadcast technicians; Audio/video recording technicians; Other tech. / co-ordating occupations in motion picture broadcasting, arts & Support occupations in motion pict.ure, broadcasting, photography and the performing arts 2,700 0.8%
5241 Graphic designers and illustrators 6,400 0.8%
6711 Food counter attendants, kitchen helpers and related support occs. 30,800 0.8%
5243* Theatre, fashion, exhibit and other creative designers & Artisans and craftspersons; Patternmakers - textile, leather and fur prod. 1,900 0.8%
6611 Cashiers 34,300 0.9%

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 are those where at least 50% of their workers were women in 2014.

Source: ESDC 2015 COPS Projections.

Total Job Openings

Figure 11 shows the total job openings from expansion demand and replacement demand over the periods 1995 to 2004, 2005 to 2014 and 2015 to 2024. This figure shows that replacement demand is projected to represent nearly three quarters of all projected job openings over the coming decade.

A total of 5.95 million job openings (those due to economic growth plus those due to replacement needs) are expected over the projection period 2015-2024. About 1.4 million are projected to be new positions as a result of increasing economic activity (employment growth), while over 4.5 million from existing positions due to replacement needs (retirements will account for 3.7 million of the 4.5 million positions being vacated).

As a result, replacement demand (mainly from retirements) is expected to represent about 76% of all projected job openings over the period 2015-2024. Over the past two decades, replacement demand generated about 55% of all job openings.

Figure 11: Job Openings from Expansion Demand and Replacement Demand over the Periods 1995-2004, 2005-2014 and 2015-2024

Bar figure showing the cumulative job openings from expansion demand and replacement demand over the periods 1995-2004, 2005-2014 and 2015-2024 . The data is shown on the link following this figure

Source: Statistics Canada (historical) and ESDC 2015 COPS Projections.

Text version of Figure 11: Job Openings from Expansion Demand and Replacement Demand over the Periods 1995-2004, 2005-2014 and 2015-2024

At the skill level, Figure 12 shows the total job openings from expansion and replacement demand by skill level over the period 2015 to 2024. This figure shows that about two-thirds (or about 3.95 million) of the job openings are expected to be in occupations that usually require postsecondary education (college, university or vocational) or in management occupations. In fact, 71% of new jobs created by economic expansion are projected to be in occupations generally requiring postsecondary education or in management, whereas 64.3% of job openings due to replacement are in these occupational groups, for a combined average of 65.9% (around 3.9 million).

Given that 71% of all new jobs are expected to be in high-skill occupations over the period 2015-2024, 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 57.9% in 2004 to 61.5% in 2014, and it is expected to reach 62.2% of employment in 2024.

Over the next ten years, about one-third of job openings (around 2 million) are expected to be in occupations usually requiring high school education or on-the-job training.

Figure 12: Job Openings from Expansion and Replacement Demand by Skill Level, 2015-2024

Bar figure showing the cumulative job openings from expansion and replacement demand by skill level over the projection period 2015-2024. The data is shown on the link following this figure

Source: ESDC 2015 COPS Projections.

Text version of Figure 12: Job Openings from Expansion and Replacement Demand by Skill Level, 2015-2024

At the more detailed occupational level, Table 9 shows the 10 occupations with the largest number of job openings over the projection period. Occupations that are projected to have the largest number of job openings are as a result of their large employment size, resulting in relatively large replacement needs. Indeed, employment in those 10 occupations (10 out of 292 occupations)  accounted for about 17% of total employment in 2014. They can be summarized as follows:

Finally, women are expected to represent more than 50% of employment in seven of these ten occupations.

Table 9: Top 10 Occupations with the Largest Number of Job Openings, 2015-2024
NOC Occupations Employment (2014) Job Openings (2015-2024)
3012 Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses 298,100 140,000
7511 Transport truck drivers 317,100 135,600
3413* Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates & Other assisting occupations in support of health services 276,200 129,300
6421 Retail salespersons 554,300 117,000
1221 Administrative officers 242,100 103,800
4032 Elementary school and kindergarten teachers 285,100 98,500
6731 Light duty cleaners 231,100 91,500
0621 Retail and wholesale trade managers 300,000 90,700
4214 Early childhood educators and assistants 235,800 88,800
6411 Sales and account representatives - wholesale trade (non-technical) 252,100 84,900

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 are those where at least 50% of their workers were women in 2014.

Source: ESDC 2015 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 2014 was used. Table 10 shows the 10 occupations with the highest ratios of job openings over the projection period. According to this indicator, nine out of ten occupations with the largest ratios of job openings to employment are projected to be in management and health 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 Ratios of Job Openings, 2015-2024
NOC Occupations Employment (2014) Job Openings (2015-2024) over 2014 Employment
0311 Managers in health care 29,300 66%
0430* Managers in public protection services 4,100 65%
0421 Administrators - post-secondary education and vocational training 8,700 62%
0423 Managers in social, community and correctional services 32,800 59%
3111 Specialist physicians 37,900 57%
2261* Non-destructive testers and inspection technicians; Engineering inspectors and regulatory officers & Inspectors in public and environmental health and occupational health and safety 49,000 56%
0010* Legislators and senior management 57,000 56%
0422 School principals and administrators of elementary and secondary education 27,500 56%
0213 Computer and information systems managers 55,500 54%
3112 General practitioners and family physicians 53,000 53%

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 are those where at least 50% of their workers were women in 2014.

Source: ESDC 2015 COPS Projections.

Finally, Table 11 shows the 10 occupations with the smallest ratios of job openings over the projection period. Most of these occupations are related to the primary sector and sales and services occupations. Retirement pressures for those occupations are low as workers are generally younger. Also, employment growth for many of those occupations over the projection period is expected to be below average or negative.

Table 11: Top 10 Occupations with the Smallest Ratios of Job Openings, 2015-2024
NOC Occupations Employment (2014) Job Openings (2015-2024) over 2014 Employment
6621 Service station attendants 15,500 3%
8440* Other workers in fishing and trapping and hunting occupations 3,500 6%
6512 Bartenders 35,200 7%
6623 Other sales related occupations 35,500 7%
1241 Administrative assistants 112,500 11%
6521 Travel counsellors 20,700 13%
8611* Harvesting labourers; Aquaculture and marine harvest labourers & Logging and forestry labourers 11,500 13%
8431 General farm workers 76,400 13%
2242 Electronic service technicians (household and business equipment 59,800 14%
5243* Theatre, fashion, exhibit and other creative designers & Artisans and craftspersons; Patternmakers - textile, leather and fur products 22,200 14%

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 are those where at least 50% of their workers were women in 2014.

Source: ESDC 2015 COPS Projections.

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