Canadian Occupational Projection System (COPS)

Job Seekers (2017-2026)

The current exercise uses the 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC), which is the most up-to-date version of the classification. The 2016 NOC has 500 occupations. However, many of these occupations are small in terms of employment (less than 10,000 workers). To overcome this problem, small 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 of sufficient size in terms of employment 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 seekers include three primary groups: school leavers, new immigrants and other job seekers such as students and re-entrants:

The last two groups (i.e. net re-entrants and student workers) are negligible and are left out of this report as their inclusion has no impact on the results. In particular, student workers are left out because, although they represent a sizeable number of workers in the labour force, their number is expected to remain relatively stable (i.e. the number of students seeking employment over 2017-2026 will only be slightly higher than over the previous decade).

Job Seekers from the Education System (School Leavers)

Over the projection period (2017-2026), it is expected that the number of school leavers entering the labour market will increase (see Figure 1 below).

Figure 1: School Leavers by Education Level, 1990-2026

Bar figure showing the annual school leavers by education level over the period 1990-2026. The data is shown on the link following this figure

Source: Statistics Canada (historical) and ESDC 2017 COPS Projections.

Text Version of Figure 1: School Leavers by Education Level, 1990-2026

Figure 1 shows that on average, there were 424,000 school leavers per year over the 2007-2016 period. This is expected to increase to an annual average of 487,000 school leavers over the projection period. Over the same period:

Over the 2017-2026 projection period, the impact of population aging on the labour market will start to be felt more strongly. In fact, the share of the older youth group (aged 20-29) on the total working age population (15-64) is expected to decline from 20.2% in 2016 to 18.7% in 2026. This can be seen in Figure 2, which shows the population age groups of 15 to 19 and 20 to 29 in thousands and their shares in the total working age population over the period 1990 to 2026.

Figure 2: Populations Aged 15 to 19 and 20 to 29 and their Shares in the Total Working Age Population (15-64), 1990-2026

Line figure showing the annual populations aged 15 to 19 and 20 to 29 and their shares in the total working age population (15-64) over the period 1990-2026. The data is shown on the link following this figure

Source: Statistics Canada (historical) and ESDC 2017 COPS Projections.

Text version of Figure 2: Populations Aged 15 to 19 and 20 to 29 and their Shares in the Total Working Age Population (15-64), 1990-2026

Yet, the annual average population of this youth group (aged 20-29) is still expected to be 2.6% higher over the projection period (2017-2026) than during the previous ten years (2007-2016). As this is the source population for school leavers with post-secondary education (PSE), the number of job seekers leaving the PSE system is also expected to be higher over the projection period.

Despite an increase in the total number of youth of 30,000 over the projection period, the number of younger youth (aged 15-19) for 2017-26 is expected to be 4.2% lower than what was observed during the previous 10 years. Hence the number of school leavers with less than PSE will be slightly lower than in the previous decade. As a result, the educational composition of school leavers is expected to change slightly over the projection horizon.

In addition to a larger source population for PSE, the increase in PSE school leavers is also explained by an upward trend in PSE enrolment rates. Indeed, the enrolment rate in post-secondary programs increased over the past 15 years and that upward trend is expected to continue over the coming decade. Figure 3 shows the enrolment rates by level of education as percentage of the source population over the period 1990 to 2026.

Figure 3: Enrolment Rates by Level of Education (as Percentage of Source Population), 1990-2026

Line figure showing the annual enrolment rates by level of education as percentage of source population over the period 1990-2026. The data is shown on the link following this figure

Source: Statistics Canada (historical) and ESDC 2017 COPS Projections.

For each educational level, the enrolment rate is defined as total enrolment divided by source population. The source population by education level is defined as:

Text version of Figure 3: Enrolment Rates by Level of Education (as Percentage of Source Population), 1990-2026

Several factors are expected to contribute to higher enrolment rates in post-secondary education over the next decade, including:

These two effects lead to a higher projected number of enrolments in post-secondary education (PSE). This can be seen in Figure 4, which shows the number of enrolments by levels of education over the period 1990 to 2026.

Figure 4: Number of Enrolments by Level of Education, 1990-2026

Area figure showing the annual enrolments by level of education over the period 1990-2026. The data is shown on the link following this figure

Source: Statistics Canada (historical) and ESDC 2017 COPS Projections.

Text version of Figure 4: Number of Enrolments by Level of Education, 1990-2026

Over the 2007-2016 period, enrolment rates increased at all PSE levels, with the highest increase being recorded at the master’s and PhD levels (49%), followed by the bachelor level (23%) and the college level (5%). The number of enrolment for women also increased at all PSE levels over the last decade, but it only increased at a faster pace than men at the master’s and PhD level (56% vs 42%). The enrolment growth rate for women went up at a slower pace than men at the bachelor level (20% vs 27%) and the college level (3% vs 8%).

Due to a larger older youth population (20-29) and higher enrolment rates, the level of enrolments in PSE programs is projected to increase by 8.0% over the 2017-2026 period (from 1.37 million in 2016 to 1.48 million in 2026). More specifically, the number of enrolments in:

Trends in the number of enrolments by gender were not projected over the projection period.

Higher enrolments translate into increases in the number of school leavers with PSE, including both, those with a college education (Figure 5) and those with a university degree (Figure 6).

Figure 5: School Leavers with a College Education, 1990-2026

Line figure showing the annual school leavers with a college education and the population aged 18 to 24 over the period 1990-2026. The data is shown on the link following this figure

Source: Statistics Canada (historical) and ESDC 2017 COPS Projections.

Text version of Figure 5: School Leavers with a College Education, 1990-2026

Despite a marked decrease in the source population aged 18 to 24, the number of school leavers with college education is expected to increase by 7.6%, from 181 thousand in 2016 to 194 thousand in 2026 (see Figure 5). This can be explained by the increased number of college enrolments and the good labour market conditions for individuals with this level of education.

Figure 6: School Leavers with a University Education, 1990-2026

Line figure showing the annual school leavers with a university education and the population aged 18 to 34 over the period 1990-2026. The data is shown on the link following this figure

Source: Statistics Canada (historical) and ESDC 2017 COPS Projections.

Text version of Figure 6: School Leavers with a University Education, 1990-2026

The number of school leavers with university degrees is expected to increase as the source population for this group (mainly high school graduates aged 18 to 34) and enrolment rates will too. These school leavers are expected to increase by 14.3% over the projection period, from 202 thousand in year 2016 to 231 thousand in 2026 (see Figure 6).

It is important to note that the 2008-2009 recession had a short-run (upward) impact on enrolment in university programs leading to a short-term increase in the number of university graduates and school leavers from 2009 to 2014.

Meanwhile, the number of people who completed only high school is expected to increase over the projection period. This is due to an increase in the number of youth 15-19 years old over the next ten years. Figure 7 shows the historical and projection estimates of these school leavers.

Figure 7: School Leavers with High School Diploma and High School Dropouts 1990-2026

Line figure showing the annual school leavers with a high school diploma, high school dropouts and the population aged 15 to 19 over the period 1990-2026. The data is shown on the link following this figure

Source: Statistics Canada (historical) and ESDC 2017 COPS Projections.

Text version of Figure 7: School Leavers with High School Diploma and High School Dropouts 1990-2026

The number of people who completed high school is expected to increase over the projection period. However, as more high school graduates are expected to enroll in PSE, the number of school leavers with only high school education is expected to increase by 10.0% over the projection period, from 65 thousand in 2016 to 71 thousand in 2026

The number of school leavers with less than high school education is expected to decrease by 7.4%, from 12 thousand in 2016 to about 11 thousand in 2026. This is mainly explained by the lower high school dropout rate. High school dropout rate is expected to continue declining, due to the poor employment and earning prospects for occupations requiring less than high school education.

The share of those with post-secondary education in total school leavers is therefore projected to increase over the period 2017 to 2026. This can be seen in figure 8, which shows the historical and projected percentage distribution of school leavers by educational level.

Figure 8: Historical and Projected Distribution of School Leavers by Education Level

Bar figure showing the distribution of the cumulative school leavers by education level, over the periods 1997-2006, 2007-2016 and 2017-2026. The data is shown on the link following this figure

Source: Statistics Canada (historical) and ESDC 2017 COPS Projections.

Text version of Figure 8: Historical and Projected Distribution of School Leavers by Education Level

Figure 8 shows that school leavers with college and university education accounted for 79.5% of the total number of school leavers over the 2007-2017 period (3.37 million compared to 0.87 million for school leavers with lower educational attainment). This share is projected to increase to 83.9% (4.09 million compared to 0.78 million for non-PSEs) over the 2017-2026 period.

The number of school leavers with less than high school is expected to remain essentially flat at around 126 thousands over the projection period. However, the number of those with high school or some post-secondary education is projected to decline by about 12.7%, from 751 thousand over the 2007-2016 period to 656 thousand over the 2017-2026 period.

Therefore, the educational attainment of Canada’s labour force is expected to continue rising. This is shown in Figure 9, which shows the share of the labour force that is over 15 years old and have a postsecondary education over the period 1990 to 2026. In fact, the share of the labour force with a postsecondary education is projected to increase to 71.7% in 2026, from 65.0% in 2016. However, with the diminishing difference in the educational attainment between the older cohorts and the younger cohorts, the rise in the share of people with PSE is projected to be slower than the one registered during the previous ten years, when it grew by 8.4 percentage points, from 56.6% in 2006 to 65.0% in 2016.

Figure 9: Share of the Labour Force (15+) with a Post-Secondary Education, 1990-2026

Bar figure showing the annual share of the labour force that are 15 years and older with a post-secondary education over the period 1990-2026. The data is shown on the link following this figure

Source: Statistics Canada (historical) and ESDC 2017 COPS Projections.

Text version of Figure 9: Share of the Labour Force (15+) with a Post-secondary Education, 1990-2026

More specifically, the projected labour force growth will be highest among university graduates (2.9% average annual growth rate (AAGR) over the 2017-2026 period) and college graduates (AAGR 0.6%).

With regards to the labour force participants without PSE, not only will their projected labour force growth be lower than for university or college graduates, but their overall number of labour force participants will also be lower. This is due to the fact that those entering the labour market without a high school degree will decrease sharply over the projection period, offsetting the increase in the number of labour force participants with a high school diploma or some PSE.

The size of the labour force represented by those with high school and those with less than high school is projected to decline over the coming decade at an annual average rate of 0.5% and 1.3% respectively.

However, not all the PSE school leavers are expected to work in occupations usually requiring PSE. Figures 10 and 11 show these misalignments.

Figure 10: Historical and Projected Distribution of School Leavers by Skill Level

Bar figure showing the distribution of cumulative school leavers by skill level, over the periods 1997-2006, 2007-2016 and 2017-2026. The data is shown on the link following this figure

Source: Statistics Canada (historical) and ESDC 2017 COPS Projections.

Text version of Figure 10: Historical and Projected Distribution of School Leavers by Skill Level

Figure 11: Projected Distribution of School Leavers by Education Level

Bar figure showing the distribution of cumulative school leavers by education level, over the period 2017-2026. The data is shown on the link following this figure

Source: Statistics Canada (historical) and ESDC 2017 COPS Projections.

Text version of Figure 11: Projected Distribution of School Leavers by Education Level

Although Canadian school leavers are projected to be more educated (83.9% with PSE), only 63.8% are expected to work in management occupations or occupations that usually require PSE. This implies a relatively high incidence of education-occupation mismatch among recent PSE graduates as they leave school. This mismatch over the projection period represents an increase compared with the previous decade.

Part of this mismatch may be transitory as new school leavers need time to completely integrate into the labour force and into a matching occupation. They may land in low skilled occupations when they first enter the labour market. Yet, later, these school leavers might seek and move to occupations that better match their qualifications (this is taken into account in COPS by the inter-occupational mobility component).

At the occupational level, Table 1 shows the top 10 occupations where the largest number of school leavers are expected to look for work over the period 2017 to 2026.

Table 1: Top 10 Occupations Where the Largest Number of School Leavers are Expected to Look for Work, 2017-2026
NOC Occupations Share in Total School Leavers Average Annual School Leavers as % of 2016 Employment Employment Size
(% of Total 2016 Employment)
6421* Retail Salespersons 3.7% 3.3% 3.0%
4032* Elementary school and kindergarten teachers 2.7% 4.4% 1.6%
6711* Food counter attendants, kitchen helpers and related support occupations 2.4% 3.2% 2.0%
6611* Cashiers 2.3% 3.1% 2.0%
3012* Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses 2.1% 3.2% 1.7%
4214* Early childhood educators and assistants 1.7% 3.3% 1.4%
1111* Financial auditors and accountants 1.7% 3.7% 1.2%
6513* Food and beverage servers 1.6% 4.2% 1.0%
3413/3414* Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates & Other assisting occs. in support of health serv. 1.4% 2.3% 1.6%
2174 Computer programmers and interactive media developers 1.5% 5.5% 0.8%

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 2016.

Source: Statistics Canada (historical) and ESDC 2017 COPS Projections.

Occupations where the largest number of school leavers will seek work are usually occupations with larger employment size. Out of the 10 occupations expecting the largest number of school leavers, 4 are in the sales and service sector. This can be explained in part by the lower skill requirements of entry level occupations, and also because of the relatively larger employment size of these occupations.

In the projection, annual immigration is assumed to represent a relatively constant share of the population, based on the immigration targets set for the next few years. Figure 12 shows the historical and projected annual immigration levels as well as the immigration rates (ratio of new immigrants to total population) over the period 1996 to 2026.

Job Seekers from Immigration (New Immigrants)

Figure 12: Annual Immigration Levels and Rates, 1996-2026

Line figure showing the annual immigration levels and rates over the period 1996-2026. The data is shown on the link following this figure

Source: Statistics Canada (historical) and ESDC 2017 COPS Projections.

Text version of Figure 12: Annual Immigration Levels and Rates, 1996-2026

Indeed, Figure 12 shows that over the 2007-2016 period, new immigrants (those who enter Canada from July to June each year) represented, on average, an annual addition of slightly more than 0.75% of the Canadian population or about 261,600 new immigrants each year. However, only a fraction of this total has entered the labour market as this number includes children and adults who may or may not have joined the labour force once in Canada. Indeed, new immigrants represented, on average, an annual addition of 115,400 new labour market entrants.

An immigration rate based on a target of 0.85% of the population is used to project the total number of new immigrants arriving in Canada each year. Although the historical average immigration rate is around 0.75%, the upward trend in recent years, along with new immigration policies targeting a larger immigration rate, together lead to a choice of 0.85% for the projection.

As a result, new immigrants are expected to increase the Canadian population by almost 3.2 million over the 10-year projection period.

Figure 13 shows the annual population growth as a result of natural increase (births minus deaths, in blue), and net immigration (immigration minus emigration, in red), measured in thousands of people.

In the projections, annual population growth averages about 375 thousand per year over the 2017-2026 period, compared with 370 thousand over the previous 10-year period.

Figure 13: Population Growth by Component, Annual Averages Over: 1997-2006, 2007-2016 and 2017-2026

Bar figure showing the annual average population growth by component (natural increase and net immigration) over the periods 1997-2006, 2007-2016 and 2017-2026. The data is shown on the link following this figure

Source: Statistics Canada (historical) and ESDC 2017 COPS Projections.

Text version of Figure 13: Population Growth by Component, Annual Averages Over: 1997-2006, 2007-2016 and 2017-2026

The share of population growth stemming from net immigration is expected to increase to 67% over the 2017-2026 period due to a increase in net immigration (immigration minus emigration) and a slower natural population increase (births minus deaths). As a comparison, this share was about 64% for the period of 2007-2016 and about 63% for the period of 1997-2006.

Figure 14 shows the annual average contribution of new immigrants and domestic supply to total labour force growth over the periods of 1997 to 2006, 2007 to 2016 and 2017 to 2026. The contribution of new immigrants to labour force growth is shown in red. The contribution of the domestic supply is in blue. This figure shows that immigration accounts for a much larger share of projected labour force growth over the projection period.

Figure 14: Contribution of New Immigrants and Domestic Supply to Total Labour Force Growth: Annual Averages Over 1997-2006, 2007-2016 and 2017-2026

Bar figure showing the annual average contribution of new immigrants and domestic supply to the total labour force growth over the periods 1997-2006, 2007-2016 and 2017-2026. The data is shown on the link following this figure

Source: Statistics Canada (historical) and ESDC 2017 COPS Projections.

Text version of Figure 14: Contribution of New Immigrants and Domestic Supply to Total Labour Force Growth: Annual Averages Over 1997-2006, 2007-2016 and 2017-2026

The projections show a significant slowdown in the growth of the labour force over the projection period. This is a consequence of the workers in the baby-boom generation entering their retirement years.

Without immigration, there would be little growth in the Canadian labour force over the next decade. Because of the slowdown in the domestic sources of growth, new immigrants are anticipated to represent about 94% of the annual net growth of the labour force over the projection period, up from 60% during the previous 10 years.

Although immigration is becoming the primary source of net growth in the labour force, it is not expected to be the main source of new labour market entrants in Canada. School leavers will remain the main source of new job seekers (see Figure 16)

At the occupational level, annual immigration is distributed among occupations over the projection period based on the distribution of recent immigrants (those landed between 2006 and 2010) in the 2011 Census (the most updated data that was available at the time of the development of these projections) and the change in the share of immigrants in each occupation in the Labour Force Survey for the period 2007 to 2016. Further changes to immigration policies, such as the Express Entry program, are not explicitly considered in the projections. However, they are implicitly included in the labour force participation rates obtained from the LFS.

Occupations where the largest number of new immigrants will seek work are expected to be mainly in the services industries because their skill requirements are lower in these entry-level occupations (see Table 2 below). This can be explained by two reasons:

Note that one occupation is in the information technology field (Information systems analysts and consultants).

Table 2: Top 10 Occupations Where the Largest Number of New Immigrants are Expected to Look for Work, 2017-2026
NOC Occupations New Immigrants % of 2016 Employment
6421 Retail salespersons 51,400 9.5%
6711 Food counter attendants, kitchen helpers and related support occupations 45,300 12.5%
6731 Light duty cleaners 41,800 17.6%
6611 Cashiers 32,200 9.1%
6322 Cooks 26,000 12.7%
3413* Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates & Other assisting occupations in support of health services 25,200 8.5%
0621 Retail and wholesale trade managers 24,300 7.6%
4411 Home child care providers 23,300 55.1%
2171 Information systems analysts and consultants 22,100 11.3%
7450* Longshore workers & Material handlers 21,000 11.4%

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 2016.

Source: Statistics Canada (historical) and ESDC 2017 COPS Projections.

However, new immigrants represent the highest share of employment mostly in manufacturing sector. Table 3 shows the top 10 occupations where the largest share of new immigrants are expected to seek work over the period 2017 to 2026. Indeed, Three out of the 10 occupations with the highest projected proportion of new immigrants are in occupations requiring post-secondary education. Two of those occupations are projected to be in engineering occupations. Three of these occupations are expected to be in occupations where there is a majority of women employed in 2016.

Table 3: Top 10 Occupations Where the Largest Share of New Immigrants are Expected to Seek Work, 2017-2026
NOC Occupations New Immigrants % of 2016 Employment
4411 Home child care providers 23,300 55.2%
9616* Labourers in textile processing & Other labourers in processing, manufacturing and utilities 18,900 54.0%
9617* Labourers in food and beverage processing & Labourers in fish and seafood processing 18,600 34.8%
7272 Cabinetmakers 2,300 28.4%
9462 Industrial butchers and meat cutters, poultry preparers and related workers 5,100 27.8%
9523 Electronics assemblers, fabricators, inspectors and testers 4,300 26.9%
8611* Harvesting labourers; Aquaculture and marine harvest labourers & Logging and forestry labourers 3200 25.0%
2147 Computer engineers (except software engineers and designers) 5,600 22.8%
9441 Textile machine operators and workers and related occupations 1,600 21.7%
2133 Electrical and electronics engineers 7200 21.3%

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 are those where at least 50% of their workers were women in 2016.

Source: Statistics Canada (historical) and ESDC 2017 COPS Projections.

On the other hand, Table 4 shows the top 10 occupations where the smallest share of new immigrants are expected to seek work over the period 2017 to 2026.

Table 4: Top 10 Occupations Where the Smallest Share of New Immigrants are Expected to Seek Work, 2017-2026
NOC Occupations New Immigrants % of 2016 Employment
7201 Contractors and supervisors, machining, metal forming, shaping and erecting trades and related occupations 300 1.48%
8231 Underground production and development miners 200 1.00%
7304* Supervisors, railway transport operations & Supervisors, motor transport and other ground transit operators 200 0.47%
8410* Mine service workers and operators in oil and gas drilling 200 1.74%
8260* Fishing vessel masters and fishermen/women 200 1.65%
7360* Train crew operating occupations 200 1.48%
7203 Contractors and supervisors, pipefitting trades 100 0.85%
8241 Logging machinery operators 100 0.64%
8211 Supervisors, logging and forestry 0 0.00%
8440* Other workers in fishing and trapping and hunting occupations 0 0.00%

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 2016.

Source: Statistics Canada (historical) and ESDC 2017 COPS Projections.

Occupations where the smallest number of new immigrants are projected to seek work are mostly related to the trades sector and primary industries. This might be explained by a few reasons:

Note that none of these occupations employed more than 50% of women in 2016.

Job Seekers from Occupational Mobility (Occupational Movers)

New inflows do not represent all the sources of hiring into occupations. In many occupations, workers from other occupations represent an important source of hiring. Occupations lose existing workers, but also gain workers from other occupations. The difference between the number of workers entering an occupation and the number of those leaving that same occupation is called net mobility. In this document, the term mobility always refers to net mobility in an occupation (or a skill level). In order to project future net mobility, past inter-occupational mobility patterns are used in conjunction with future occupational labour demand to determine career progression paths that workers may follow over the projection period.

The COPS projections consider two types of occupational mobility:

  1. Vertical Mobility: workers who move into occupations outside their current skill level.
  2. Horizontal Mobility: workers who move into occupations within the same skill level (i.e. occupations that usually require the same level of education).

Figure 15 shows the projected number of workers moving between skill levels their percentage share of 2016 Employment by skill level over the period 2017 to 2026.

Figure 15: Projected Number of People Moving Between Skill Levels as a Percentage Share of Base-year Employment for Each Skill Level (2017-2026)

Bar figure showing the projected cumulative number of people moving between skill levels, in thousands and as a percentage share of the 2016 Employment for each skill level over the period 2017-2026. The data is shown on the link following this figure

Source: ESDC 2017 COPS Projections.

Text version of Figure 15: Projected Number of People Moving Between Skill Levels as a Percentage Share of Base-year Employment for Each Skill Level (2017-2026)

Management occupations have the largest relative mobility inflows of all skill levels, as many experienced workers from other skill levels seek to fill management positions left vacant mainly due to retirement. Over the 2017-2026 period, over 454,000 new managers are expected to come from occupations in other skill levels. Mobility is the main source of supply for managers. Over the coming decade, more workers are expected to go up the skill ladder to become a manager than established managers leaving for a non-managerial occupation.

Conversely, for those working in occupations requiring university education, net mobility is expected to be negative (-186,000). This is due to the fact that workers in this skill level are the main source of labour for managerial occupations. Vacant positions in skill level A are either filled by workers from lower skill levels with university education (who started working in a lower skilled level occupation before seeking work in a new position better reflecting their qualifications) or by university school leavers. It is also possible that these vacancies remain unfilled if there is a shortage of workers with the necessary skills and knowledge.

Net mobility in occupations requiring college education is expected to be positive (126,000). Although many workers, such as university graduates who started their career as technicians, will leave this skill level for better job opportunities, even more workers are expected to move up the ladder and accept a new job in this skill level.

Finally, about 394,000 workers are expected to move up the skill ladder away from lower-skilled occupations (level C and D) in the coming decade. As previously mentioned, several of them are workers with a college or university education who started working in a lower skilled level occupation, before seeking work in a new position that better reflects their qualifications.

Total Job Seekers

Figure 16 shows the sources of total new job seekers over the periods 1997 to 2006, 2007 to 2016 and 2017 to 2026. Even though new immigrants are expected to account for the majority of the net growth in the labour force over the next decade (see Figure 14), they will still represent a relatively small share of the total number of people who enter the Canadian labour market each year.

Figure 16: Sources of New Job Seekers: Totals Over 1997-2006, 2007-2016 and 2017-2026

Bar figure showing the sources of cumulative new job seekers over the periods 1997-2006, 2007-2016 and 2017-2026. The data is shown on the link following this figure

Source: ESDC 2017 COPS Projections.

Text version of Figure 16: Sources of New Job Seekers: Totals Over 1997-2006, 2007-2016 and 2017-2026

In fact, the number of young people coming out of Canada’s education system (whether without any certificate, or with a high school or a post-secondary diploma), the so-called school leavers, is much larger than the number of new immigrants:

Hence, as the Canadian education system is expected to remain the primary source of new job seekers for the labour market, it will be important to ensure that the qualifications of these job seekers properly reflect the labour market needs.

Note: In the chart, the category “Others” includes a series of small components capturing labour inflows and outflows such as those returning to school, labour market returns, and students that seek work while being registered in education programs. This category was non-negligible in the past, but started to lose importance over recent years and is expected to continue this trend over the projection period.

Figure 17 shows the total new job seekers by skill level over the period 2017 to 2016. It is projected that a total of 6.3 million job seekers (from the school system, immigration and other sources) will enter the labour market over the projection period.

Figure 17: Job Seekers by Skill Level, 2017-2026

Bar figure showing the cumulative job seekers from school leavers, immigrants, mobility and others, by skill level over the projection period 2017-2026. The data is shown on the link following this figure

Source: ESDC 2017 COPS Projections.

Text version of Figure 17: Job Seekers by Skill Level, 2017-2026

Figure 17 shows that two-thirds (67.4% - around 4.3 million individuals) of these entries are anticipated to be in occupations that usually require postsecondary education (college, university or vocational) or in management occupations. At a more detailed level:

With regards to job seekers in lower skilled occupations, one-third of them (around 2 million) are expected to look for work in occupations requiring high school education or on-the-job training.

At the occupational level, health-related as well as management occupations are projected to have the largest proportions of new job seekers among all occupations. Indeed, Four out of ten occupations with the largest share of job seekers are anticipated to be in health occupations. These occupations are in high demand and therefore will require many workers to fill all their vacancies over the projection period. Three occupations are in the management area, where workers are usually older and closer to retirement. For these occupations, mobility plays a large role. (see Table 5).

Table 5: Top 10 Occupations With the Largest Proportion of New Job Seekers , 2017-2026
NOC Occupations Employment 2016 New Job Seekers as a % of 2016 Employment
0632 Accommodation service managers 61,200 61%
0423* Managers in social, community and correctional serv. 41,500 60%
3011* Nursing co-ordinators and supervisors 31,100 58%
3232/3236* Practitioners of natural healing; Massage therapists & Other technical occs. in therapy and assessment 46,200 57%
0430 Managers in public protection serv. 4,000 56%
3413/3414* Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates & Other assisting occs. in support of health serv. 297,400 53%
4151* Psychologists 29,000 53%
1221* Administrative officers 228,900 53%
1222* Executive assistants 34,000 53%
7512 Bus drivers, subway oper. and other transit oper. 81,900 52%
7512 Bus drivers, subway oper. and other transit oper. 81,900 52%

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 2016.

Source: ESDC 2017 COPS Projections.

Table 6 shows that the ranking of the 10 occupations projected with the largest number of new job seekers largely reflects the fact that most of these occupations are large occupations in terms of employment size. In fact, employment in those 10 occupations (out of 292 occupations) accounted for about 17.6% of total employment in 2016. Five out of these 10 occupations are in sales and service occupations.

Table 6: Top 10 Occupations With the Largest Number of New Job Seekers , 2017-2026
NOC Occupations Employment 2016 New Job Seekers
3413/3414* Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates & Other assisting occs. in support of health serv. 297,400 158,100
3012* Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses 312,900 143,900
6421* Retail salespersons 543,800 129,600
1221* Administrative officers 228,900 120,800
6711* Food counter attendants, kitchen helpers and related support occupations 363,500 108,500
4032* Elementary school and kindergarten teachers 296,800 105100
7,511 Transport truck drivers 304,000 103,200
6411 Sales and account representatives - wholesale trade (non-technical) 273,300 102,000
6731* Light duty cleaners 237,400 101,900
0621 Retail and wholesale trade managers 318,100 99,200

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 2016.

Source: ESDC 2017 COPS Projections.

Finally, among the 10 occupations projected to have the smallest proportion of new job seekers (projected number of job seekers as a proportion of employment in 2014 in the occupation), eight of the 10 occupations projected with the smallest proportion of new job seekers (total projected job seekers as a proportion of their respective 2016 employment) are classified as usually requiring only high-school education or on the job-training. These occupations are usually less attractive for job seekers as they are often less paid, have limited career advancement prospects and may be physically demanding.

Table 7: Top 10 Occupations With the Smallest Proportion of New Job Seekers, 2017-2026
NOC Occupations Employment 2016 New Job Seekers as a % of 2016 Employment
1434/1435* Banking, insurance and other financial clerks & Collectors 46,300 2%
8432* Nursery and greenhouse workers 12,200 7%
1241* Administrative assistants 204,000 9%
6621 Service station attendants 15,500 9%
9470 Printing equipment oper. and related occs. 17,500 9%
7380 Printing press oper. and other trades and related occs., n.e 23,500 10%
8611/8613/8616 Harvesting labourers; Aquaculture and marine harvest labourers & Logging and forestry labourers 13,000 11%
6512* Bartenders 42,800 12%
8614 Mine labourers & Oil and gas drilling, servicing and related labourers 9,100 13%
6521* Travel counsellors 18,600 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 2016.

Source: ESDC 2017 COPS Projections.

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