Canadian Occupational Projection System (COPS)

Industrial Summary

Elementary and Secondary Schools

NAICS 6111

Elementary and secondary schools comprise establishments primarily engaged in providing academic courses that consist of a basic preparatory education, from kindergarten to grade 12. They employed 755,900 workers in 2016, with women accounting for 75% of the workforce. Employment is distributed proportionately to population: 40% in Ontario, 22% in Quebec, 12% in British Columbia, 12% in Alberta, and 14% in the remaining provinces. Key occupations (4-digit NOC) include:

  • Elementary school and kindergarten teachers (4032)
  • Elementary and secondary school teacher assistants (4413)
  • Secondary school teachers (4031)
  • School principals and administrators of elementary and secondary education (0422)
  • Early childhood educators and assistants (4214)
  • Educational counsellors (4033)
  • Education policy researchers, consultants and program officers (4166)
  • Audiologists and speech-language pathologists (3141)
  • Instructors of persons with disabilities (4215)
  • Library and public archive technicians (5211)

* Also include a significant number of Bus drivers (7512).

Economic activity in elementary and secondary schools is mainly driven by demographic trends in population aged 5 to 17 and particularly sensitive to government expenditures in education. Growth in output and employment was relatively modest over the past ten years, as positive growth in population aged 5 to 11 was accompanied by negative growth in population aged 12 to 17. Indeed, during that period, the millennial generation, the children of the baby boomers, slowly started to exit secondary school to either find a job or attend college or university. Furthermore, in the afterwards of the 2008-2009 recession, when fiscal constraints for most governments were stretched to the limit, many provinces cut back expenditure budgets on elementary and secondary schools, although growth remained in positive territory. Some governments tried to restrain expenditures by increasing classroom sizes and cutting back on teacher aides, leading to small declines in employment from 2009 to 2011 that were fully reversed in subsequent years. On average, real GDP increased at an annual rate of 0.9% over the period 2007-2016, compared to 0.5% for employment. This means that productivity accounted for about half of output growth, although the concept and mesurement of productivity in educational services may differ from the other sectors of the economy where goods and services are traded and more easily valued in monetary terms. For example, the introduction of more computers in the classroom may improve the educational experience of students, but this development may not necessarily show up in the productivity figures because the number of teachers does not necessarily change as the use of technology accelerates.

Over the period 2017-2026, output and employment growth in elementary and secondary schools is projected to accelerate significantly from the previous ten years, primarily reflecting much stronger gains in population aged 5 to 17 as the children of the millennial generation will begin to reach the age where they start primary school. More precisely, faster growth in population aged 5 to 11 and renewed growth in population aged 12 to 17 are expected to boost output and employment in both elementary and secondary schools. However, population aging will continue to erode the federal and provincial tax bases while simultaneously putting further pressures on the health care system, limiting the ability of governments to expand expenditures in educational services. The resulting pace of growth in elementary and secondary schools’ real GDP and employment is projected to average 1.5% and 0.9% per year respectively from 2017 to 2026, which is nevertheless a notable improvement from the previous decade. Productivity is expected to continue to account for a significant share of output growth, supported by additional, albeit limited, investment in teacher-training and the increasing use of technology and the Internet.

Real GDP and Employment Growth Rates in Elementary and Secondary Schools

Figure showing the annual growth of real GDP and employment over the periods 2007-2016 and 2017-2026 for the industry of Elementary and Secondary Schools. The data is shown on the table following this figure

Source: Statistics Canada (historical) and ESDC 2017 COPS industrial scenario (projections).

Text Version of Figure Real GDP and Employment Growth Rates in Elementary and Secondary Schools, 2007-2016 and 2017-2026, in Percent
  Real GDP Employment
2007-2016 0.9 0.5
2017-2026 1.5 0.9

Source: Statistics Canada (historical) and ESDC 2017 COPS industrial scenario (projections).


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