Canadian Occupational Projection System (COPS)

Imbalances Between Labour Demand and Supply (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.

The methodology used for assessing recent occupational labour market conditions relies on information from three primary labour market indicators (unemployment rate, wages and employment), as well as information from additional indicators (such as job vacancies, overtime and EI claims), and involves a careful analysis of that information. If the indicators in a particular occupation behave similarly to all occupations and to their own historical trend, no signs of broad imbalances are said to be found. However, if the indicators are significantly different than the average for all occupations and/or their own historical trend, it would suggest the presence of imbalances (shortage or surplus) in occupational labour markets.

Once the analysis of the recent occupational labour market conditions is completed, COPS estimates the projected number of job openings and job seekers over the period of 2017-2026. Job openings can result from employment growth (or expansion demand) and replacement of workers (retirements, deaths and emigration). On the other hand, the sources of new job seekers include full-time students leaving the school system as graduates or drop-outs to join the labour market (school leavers), new immigrants and re-entrants in the labour market (net of those leaving the labour market – with the exception of retirements). In addition to the movements of new job seekers and new job openings, COPS takes into account changes in the composition of occupational labour markets through occupational mobility.

Finally, the assessment of recent labour market conditions and the projections of job openings and job seekers are combined together to produce the final assessment of future labour market conditions. By looking at prospective changes in both the demand and supply sides of the labour market, COPS allows for identifying occupations where potential labour market imbalances are expected to persist or develop.

Table 1: Occupations showing signs of labour shortage or labour surplus in recent years (2014 to 2016)
Occupations showing signs of: Number of Occupations Share of occupations Employment (2016) Share of total Employment (2016)
Shortage 17 6% 1,203,200 7%
Balance 246 84% 15,896,300 88%
Surplus 29 10% 980,400 5%
Total 292 100% 18,079,900 100%
Occupations showing signs of labour shortage Occupations showing signs of labour surplus
  • 7 health-related occupations
  • 7 occupational groupings related to applied sciences
  • 3 other occupations
  • 9 occupations in trades, transport & equipment operators
  • 7 occupations in natural resources, agriculture and related products
  • 3 manufacturing-related occupations
  • 2 clerical and office occupations
  • 2 sales and services occupations
  • 5 other occupations

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

Table 1 summarizes the results of the assessment of occupational labour market conditions over the period 2014-2016.

The assessment found 17 occupations showing signs of labour shortage. They represent about 6% of the occupations analyzed, and about 7% of the 2016 Canadian employment. Most of them typically require some form of post-secondary education or apprenticeship training and are predominantly in health and occupational groupings related to applied sciences.

On the other hand, 29 occupations where found to show signs of labour surplus. They represent about 10% of the occupations analyzed, and about 5% of the 2016 employment. Most of them are in the trades, transport and equipment operators and in the natural resources, agriculture and related production occupations.

A Review of Job Openings and Job Seekers by Skill Level

Once the analysis of the recent occupational labour market conditions is done, COPS estimates the projected number of job openings and job seekers over the period of 2017-2026. This is done in order to identify if recent labour market imbalances are expected to persist or if new imbalances are expected to develop over the projection period. Projections of job openings and job seekers are conducted at the occupational level and results are aggregated by skill level.

Skill levels are defined generally as the amount and type of education and training required to enter and perform the duties of an occupation. There are five broad skill level categories: 1) management occupations; 2) skill level A which includes occupations usually requiring university education; 3) skill level B which includes occupations usually requiring college education or apprenticeship training; 4) skill level C which includes occupations usually requiring secondary school and/or occupation-specific training; and 5) skill level D which includes occupations for which on-the-job training is usually provided. For more information on the occupational analysis, please see the documents titledJob Openings and Job Seekers.

Figure 1: Job Openings from Expansion and Replacement Demand by Skill Level, 2017-2026

Bar figure showing the cumulative job openings from expansion and replacement demand by skill level over the projection period 2017-2026. The data is shown on the link following this figure

Source: ESDC 2017 COPS Projections.

Figure 1: Job Openings from Expansion and Replacement Demand by Skill Level, 2017-2026

Figure 1 shows that a total of 6.35 million job openings (those due to economic growth plus those due to replacement needs) are expected over the period 2017-2026.

Two-thirds (67.6%) of these are in occupations that usually require post-secondary education (college, university or vocational) or in management occupations. More specifically:

On the other hand, about one-third of job openings (around 2.06 million) over the projection period are expected to be in occupations requiring high school education or only on-the-job training.

Figure 2: Cumulative 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: Statistics Canada (historical) and ESDC 2017 COPS Projections.

Text version of Figure 2: Cumulative Job Seekers by Skill Level, 2017-2026

Figure 2 shows that 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.

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

By contrast, about one-third of job seekers (around 2 million) are expected to look for employment in occupations requiring high school education or on-the-job training.

Projected Labour Market Conditions by Skill Level

By skill level, each indicator used to assess recent labour market conditions showed a behaviour similar to the average of the corresponding indicator for all occupations. The only (small) differences were that the unemployment rate was slightly lower than average in skill level A, and higher than average in skill level D. As such, there were no significant signs of labour market imbalances by broad skill level in recent years.

Figure 3: Projected Ratios of Job Openings and Job Seekers by Skill Level over the Period 2017-2026 as Annual Average Percentage of 2016 Employment

Scatter figure showing the projected job openings (vertical axis) and job seekers (horizontal axis) by skill level over the period 2017-2026 as annual average percentage of 2016 Employment. The data is shown on the link following this figure

Source: ESDC 2017 COPS Projections.

Text version ofFigure 3: Projected Ratios of Job Openings and Job Seekers by Skill Level over the Period 2017-2026 as Annual Average Percentage of 2016 Employment

Figure 3 shows, for each skill level, the projected annual average of job openings (vertical axis) and job seekers (horizontal axis) as a percentage of their respective employment level in 2016. For example, a job openings rate of 4% indicates that the average annual number of job openings (from expansion and replacement demand) in a given skill level over the projection period represents 4% of its employment level in 2016.

For points close to the 45° line, the expected rates of job openings and job seekers are relatively similar. That is, no major imbalances between the number of job openings and job seekers are expected. On the other hand, any point markedly away from the 45° line would signal potential labour market imbalances. A point in the upper left (green) corner signals would be of excess demand. A point in the lower right (red) corner signals would be of excess supply conditions.

Overall, all skill groupings fall close to the 45° line, which means that job openings (demand) and job seekers (supply) by skill level are projected to be broadly in balance over the period 2017-2026.

With limited or no evidence of imbalances between labour demand and supply in recent years, and with the projections showing a similar number of job openings and job seekers for each broad skill level over the period of 2017-2026, no major labour market pressures by skill level are expected over the period 2017-2026.

Projected Labour Market Conditions by Occupation

Even when labour market conditions are broadly in balance for an aggregate skill level, imbalances (excess demand or supply) can exist in many occupations within that skill level. Figure 4 shows, for each of the 292 occupations analyzed, the projected annual average of job openings (vertical axis) and job seekers (horizontal axis) as a percentage share of their respective employment level in 2016. Occupations are colour-coded according to their NOC skill level.

Figure 4: Projected Ratios of Job Openings and Job Seekers by Occupation over the Period 2017-2026 as Annual Average Percentage of 2016 Employment

Scatter figure showing the projected job openings (vertical axis) and job seekers (horizontal axis) by occupation over the period 2017-2026 as annual average percentage of 2016 Employment. The data is shown on the link following this figure

Source: ESDC 2017 COPS Projections.

Text version of Figure 4: Projected Ratios of Job Openings and Job Seekers by Occupation over the Period 2017-2026 as Annual Average Percentage of 2016 Employment

For points close to the 45° line, the expected rates of job openings and job seekers are relatively similar. That is, no major imbalance between new job openings and job seekers are expected. On the other hand, any point substantially further from the boundary lines (dotted lines) would signal potential imbalances between the number of job openings and the number of job seekers. A point in the lower right corner signals that the occupation has a higher rate of job seekers than of job openings (excess supply). A point in the upper left corner signals that the occupation has a higher rate of job openings than of job seekers (excess demand). The overall distribution of the growth in the supply and demand of labour determines the position of those boundaries.

The majority of the 292 occupations are in proximity of the 45° line, suggesting balance situation over the period 2017-2026 in most occupations. However, some occupations, mainly high-skill, are expected to have job opening rates that exceed those from job seekers (excess demand). On the other hand, some other occupations mostly requiring secondary schooling and some requiring college education or apprenticeship training are projected to have job seeker rates that exceed those from job opening (excess supply).

However, these results only show us the expected imbalances between the projected number of job openings and job seekers. Projected labour market conditions are determined by combining information on conditions in recent years and projected trends in job seekers and job openings.

Table 2 presents a summary of the projected labour market conditions at the occupational level. The rows present the occupational split between occupations showing signs of shortage, surplus or balanced conditions in recent years. The columns show the distribution of occupations with projected gaps between job openings and job seekers over the period 2017-2026. The intersection of rows and columns shows the final projected labour market conditions. For example, occupations that were first found to show signs of shortage in recent years (first row) and whose projected job openings are substantially higher than job seekers (first column), are expected to face shortage conditions over the projection period.

Table 2: Projected Labour Market Conditions over the Period 2017-2026
    Projected Gap between Job Openings and Job Seekers over 2017-2026
    Openings significantly higher than Seekers Openings similar to Seekers Openings significantly lower than Seekers
Recent Labour Market Conditions Recently in shortage
SHORTAGE
6 Occupations
All health-related occupations
SHORTAGE
11 Occupations
All high-skill occupations; 7 in natural & applied sciences
 
Recently in balance
SHORTAGE
8 Occupations
7 high-skill health or science-related occupations
BALANCE
224 Occupations
Widespread across all sectors
SURPLUS
14 Occupations
9 high-skill occupations
Recently in surplus  
SURPLUS
25 Occupations
16 high-skill occupations
9 low-skill occupations
SURPLUS
4 Occupations
2 high-skill trades occupations
2 low-skill occupations

Source: ESDC 2017 COPS Projections.

Hence, occupations located in the top left quadrants are expected to face shortage conditions over the projection period. This is because their shortage conditions in recent years are not expected to be eliminated over the projection period, or because those that were found to be in balance in recent years are expected to have a shortfall of their projected number of job seekers in comparison to job openings. On the other hand, occupations located in the bottom right quadrantsdisplay a certain level of surplus pressures. The occupations in the middle, top-right and bottom-left blocks are expected to be balanced over the projection period.

Table 3 presents the projected labour market conditions for all 292 occupations (4-digit or occupational groupings).

Table 3: Projected Labour Market Conditions over the Period 2017-2026
    Projected Gap between Job Openings and Job Seekers over 2017-2026
    Openings significantly higher than Seekers Openings similar to Seekers Openings significantly lower than Seekers
Recent Labour Market Conditions Recently in shortage 3012, 3111, 3112, 3141, 3142, 4151 2161, 2171, 2172, 2173, 2174, 2232, 2233, 3214*, 3232*, 5241, 5242  
Recently in balance

2146*, 2270*, 3113, 3120*, 3143*, 3231, 3233, 7511

0010*, 0111, 0112, 0113*, 0121, 0122, 0124*, 0211*, 0213, 0311, 0410*, 0421, 0422, 0423, 0430*, 0510*, 0601, 0621, 0631, 0632, 0651, 0711, 0712, 0731, 0811, 0820*, 0910*, 1111, 1112, 1113, 1114, 1121, 1122, 1123, 1212, 1213*, 1221, 1222, 1223, 1224, 1225, 1227*, 1241, 1242, 1243, 1250*, 1311, 1312*, 1411, 1414, 1415*, 1431, 1432, 1511, 1512, 1513, 1521, 1522*, 1525*, 2110*, 2120*, 2131, 2132, 2133, 2141*, 2147, 2151, 2152*, 2175, 2210*, 2221, 2222*, 2231, 2234, 2241, 2242, 2243*, 2250*, 2261*, 2264, 2281, 3011, 3114, 3131, 3132, 3211*, 3217*, 3220*, 3234, 3413*, 4011, 4012, 4021, 4031, 4032, 4033, 4110*, 4152*, 4153, 4154, 4156, 4161, 4162*, 4164*, 4166*, 4211, 4212, 4214, 4215, 4216*, 4311, 4312*, 4411, 4412, 4413, 4420*, 5110*, 5125, 5131*, 5133*, 5210*, 5221, 5222*, 5243*, 6211, 6221, 6222, 6231, 6232, 6235, 6311, 6312*, 6321, 6331, 6332, 6341, 6342*, 6411, 6421, 6511, 6512, 6513, 6521, 6522, 6523*, 6525, 6541, 6551, 6561*, 6562, 6611, 6621, 6622, 6623, 6720*, 6731, 6732, 6733, 6740*, 7201, 7202, 7203, 7204, 7205, 7231*, 7233*, 7242*, 7244*, 7246*, 7251, 7271, 7281, 7282*, 7284, 7294, 7295, 7301*, 7302, 7304*, 7311, 7312, 7313*, 7314*, 7321, 7322, 7370*, 7441, 7442*, 7450*, 7512, 7513, 7514, 7522, 7530*, 7620*, 8211, 8231, 8241, 8420*, 8431, 8432, 8611*, 9211*, 9213, 9214*, 9220*, 9230*, 9240*, 9410*, 9420*, 9431*, 9441*, 9446, 9461*, 9462, 9470*, 9521*, 9524*, 9531*, 9532*, 9611*, 9613*, 9614, 9617* 1226, 1434*, 2134, 2225, 2282*, 3213, 3411, 5230*, 5250*, 6322, 6711, 7291, 7610*, 8612
Recently in surplus  

0130*, 0714, 1211, 1422*, 1450*, 2143*, 4168*, 5121*, 6552, 7237, 7241, 7272, 7330*, 7360*, 7380*, 7521, 8220*, 8232, 8252*, 8260*, 8410*, 8614*, 9432*, 9523, 9616*

6530*, 7252, 7292*, 8440*

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.
Please visit COPS Occupational Groupings for more information on the 292 occupational groupings.

Source: ESDC 2017 COPS Projections.

Table 3 shows that the large majority of the occupations (224, those in the white cell) are expected to have a balanced outlook. These occupations represented about 78.3% of the employment in 2016. Occupations expected to face shortage conditions (25, in the green cells) represented about 9.6% of the 2016 employment, while occupations expected to face surplus conditions (43, those in the red cells) represented about 12.1% of the 2016 employment.

Note: In a diversified economy such as Canada’s, with different regions having quite different industrial mixes and demographics, a national-level assessment of pressures in occupational labour markets could easily mask major differences across regions. Some parts of the country may be facing a labour shortfall in an occupation while other regions may have excess supply in that same occupation. Also, it is important to remember that the analysis is based on broad occupational groupings. Therefore, although the projections show balance conditions for all university professors, there might be some particular fields of study facing shortage or surplus conditions. For example, there might be a sufficient number of mathematics professors, but a shortage of engineering professors.

Table 4 shows that a large number of occupations that are expected to face labour shortages (excess labour demand) over the projection period are in health-related and natural and applied sciences occupations. They are almost all high-skilled occupations (occupations usually requiring a college or a university education, or management occupations).

The analysis of recent labour market conditions suggests that all the occupations projected to be in excess demand over the medium term were already in that situation or in balance in recent years.For instance, higher health care needs due to population ageing will increase demand for several health care occupations. Over the medium term, additional pressure will come from retirements in the health occupations. The number of job openings resulting from retirements will surpass those from new job creation. Therefore, despite the increase in the supply of new workers, the strong labour demand in health occupations is expected to exceed markedly the expected supply over the projection period.

Table 4: Occupations Projected to be in Shortage Conditions by NOC Skill Type over the Period 2017-2026
Skill Types Occupations in Shortage
Natural and Applied Sciences and Related Occupations 2146* - Aerospace engineers & Other professional engineers, n.e.c., 2161 - Mathematicians, statisticians and actuaries, 2171 - Information systems analysts and consultants, 2172 - Database analysts and data administrators, 2173 - Software engineers and designers, 2174 - Computer programmers and interactive media developers, 2232 - Mechanical engineering technologists and technicians, 2233 - Industrial engineering and manufacturing technologists and technician, 2270 - Transportation officers and controllers
Health Occupations 3012 - Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses, 3111 - Specialist physicians, 3112 - General practitioners and family physicians, 3113 – Dentists, 3120 - Optometrists, chiropractors and other health diagnosing and treating professionals, 3141 - Audiologists and speech-language pathologists, 3142 – Physiotherapists, 3143* - Occupational therapists & Other professional occupations in therapy and assessment, 3214* - Respiratory therapists, clinical perfusionists and cardiopulmonary technologists & Medical radiation technologists & Medical sonographers, 3231 – Opticians, 3232* - Practitioners of natural healing, Massage therapists & Other technical occs. in therapy and assessment, 3233 - Licensed practical nurses
Occupations in Social Science, Education, Government Service and Religion 4151 - Psychologists
Occupations in art, culture, recreation and sport 5241 - Graphic designers and illustrators, 5242 - Interior designers and interior decorators
Trades Transport and Equipment Operators and Related Occupations 7511 - Transport truck drivers

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.

Almost half of all occupations projected to face shortage conditions are female dominated. More specifically, women account for more than 50% of the workforce of 12 out of the 25 occupations listed here as facing shortage conditions over the projection period. Most of these occupations are in the health sector. Although the share of women in natural and applied sciences and related occupations has increased over the last two decades, all occupations facing shortage conditions in this sector employed more men than women in 2016. This is also reflected in occupations with a substantially higher concentration of female employment (where at least 80% of the employment were women in 2016).

Figure 5 shows an example of the assessment of an occupation expected to face shortage conditions over the period 2017-2026.

Figure 5: Example of an occupation projected to face shortage conditions: General practitioners and family physicians (NOC 3112)

Recent Labour Market Conditions:
Shortage Conditions

Projected Job Openings and Job Seekers:
Job Openings > Job Seekers
Labour Market Outlook:
Shortage Conditions
Bar figure showing the expected job openings and job seekers by components of the occupation General practitioners and family physicians (NOC 3112), as an example of an occupation projected to face shortage conditions over the projection period. The data is shown on the link following this figure

Source: ESDC 2017 COPS Projections.

Text version of Figure 5: Example of an occupation projected to face shortage conditions: General practitioners and family physicians (NOC 3112)

Over the 2014-2016 period, employment of General practitioners and family physicians increased at a rate of 9.2% annually, a rate much faster than the average of all occupations. The unemployment rate slightly increased to 1.6%, well below the national average of 7.0% in 2016. The average hourly wage, which is high, slightly declined due to the hiring of younger and inexperienced workers. Hence, key labour market indicators suggest that the number of job seekers was insufficient to fill the job openings in this occupational group.

Figure 5 shows that over the period 2017-2026, for General practitioners and family physicians, the number of job openings (arising from expansion demand and replacement demand) is expected to total 42,000 while the number of job seekers (arising from school leavers, immigration and mobility) is expected to total 21,100.

The labour shortage conditions seen in recent years is expected to persist into the 2017-2026 period, and would even become more acute as the projected number of job openings is expected to be substantially larger than the projected number of job seekers over that period. More than half of job openings will result from expansion demand. Indeed, as the Canadian population ages, the demand for health services is expected to grow. The numbers of complex health conditions as well as of those requiring additional follow-ups are expected to become more important. Consequently, the employment growth rate for general practitioners and family physicians is projected to be the second highest of all the occupational groups. Retirements are expected to account for slightly more than one third of job openings. Although workers in this occupational grouping are generally older than the average for all occupations, they also tend to retire later in their career. Therefore, pressures arising from retirements are projected to be similar to the average of all occupations. With regard to labour supply, school leavers are projected to be the main source of job seekers. Even though access is difficult for people who obtained their medical degree outside Canada, immigrants completing the examinations of the Medical Council of Canada and getting the proper authorization from the provincial/territorial regulatory body are anticipated to account for about one fifth of all job seekers. Still, there will be an insufficient number of job seekers to overcome the high demand for workers in this occupation over the projection period. In order to eliminate the labour shortage in this occupational group, a substantial increase in the number of school leavers would be needed. However, this will not be possible in the short term because of the many years of training a potential worker must go through before being able to work as general practitioner and/or family physician.

There are also several occupations that are projected to face labour surplus conditions over the projection period. Table 5 shows that surplus conditions are projected to be more evenly distributed across high- (usually requiring post-secondary or more) and low-skill (usually requiring high school diploma or less) occupations than occupations with shortage conditions.

Table 5: Occupations Projected to be in Surplus Conditions by NOC Skill Type over the Period 2017-2026
Skill Types Occupations in Surplus
Business, Finance and Administration Occupations 0130* - Managers in communication (except broadcasting), 1211 - Supervisors, general office and administrative support workers, 1226 - Conference and event planners, 1422* - Data entry clerks & Desktop publishing operators and related occupations, 1434* - Banking, insurance and other financial clerks & Collectors, 1450 - Library, correspondence and other clerks.
Natural and Applied Sciences and Related Occupations 2134 - Chemical engineers, 2143* - Mining engineers; Geological engineers & Petroleum engineers, 2225 - Landscape and horticulture technician and specialists, 2282* - User support technician & Information systems testing technician.
Health Occupations 3213 - Animal health technologists and veterinary technician, 3411 - Dental assistants
Occupations in Social Science, Education, Government Service and Religion 4168* - Program officers unique to government & Other professional occupations in social science, n.e.c.
Occupations in Art, Culture, Recreation and Sport 5121* - Authors and writers, Editors & Journalists, 5230 - Announcers and other performers, n.e.c., 5250 - Athletes, coaches, referees and related occupations
Sales and Service Occupations 6322 - Cooks, 6530 - Tourism and amusement services occupations, 6552 - Other customer and information services representatives, 6711 - Food counter attendants, kitchen helpers and related support occupations
Trades, Transport and Equipment Operators and Related Occ’s. 0714 - Facility operation and maintenance managers, 7237 - Welders and related machine operators, 7241 - Electricians (except industrial and power system), 7252* - Steamfitters, pipefitters and sprinkler system installers & Gas fitters, 7272 – Cabinetmakers, 7291 - Roofers and shinglers, 7292* - Glaziers & Insulators, 7330 - Other mechanics and related repairers, 7360 - Train crew operating occupations, 7380 - Printing press operators and other trades and related occupations, n.e.c, 7521 - Heavy equipment operators(except crane), 7610 - Trades helpers and labourers
Occupations Unique to Primary Industry 8220 - Contractors and supervisors, mining, oil and gas, 8232 - Oil and gas well drillers, servicers, testers and related workers, 8252* - Agricultural service contractors, farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers & Contractors and supervisors, landscaping, grounds maintenance and horticulture services, 8260 - Fishing vessel masters and fishermen/women, 8410 - Mine service workers and operators in oil and gas drilling, 8440 - Other workers in fishing and trapping and hunting occupations, 8612 - Landscaping and grounds maintenance labourers, 8614* - Mine labourers & Oil and gas drilling, servicing and related labourers
Occupations Unique to Manufacturing and Utilities 9432* - Pulp mill machine operators, Papermaking and finishing machine operators& Paper converting machine operators, 9523 - Electronics assemblers, fabricators, inspectors and testers, 9616/9619 - Labourers in textile processing & Other labourers in processing, manufacturing and utilities

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.

Some of the occupations facing surplus conditions are related to administrative and clerical work, such as banking, insurance and other financial clerks and collectors as well as library, correspondence and other clerks. For some time now, several developments, such as online banking and financial services, as well as the ongoing decline in the demand for paper documents have tempered the demand for these workers. As these trends are expected to continue over the projection period, a surplus of workers is anticipated in these occupations.

Some oil & gas related occupations are also in the list. Major investments cutbacks from oil producers due to the weaker outlook for crude oil prices are expected to result in substantial declines in production and employment in support activities in 2015-2016. While output growth in that sector is projected to become positive again over the projection period based on the view that world oil prices and other commodity prices will slowly recover, renewed growth in employment will not be strong enough to offset the large decline that occurred in the last few years.

There are also some occupations specific to the primary sector as well as in the processing, manufacturing and utilities sectors that are expected to face an excess supply situation because employment growth (expansion demand) and/or retirements are not projected to be as strong as in the rest of the economy. For instance, a number of occupations in the processing and manufacturing industries are expecting to face limited or declining employment growth due to the intensification of international competition, especially from low-cost countries. Also, gains in productivity in those sectors, notably from automation, will limit employment growth over the projection period. Other occupations from these sectors are facing surplus conditions over the projection period due to low retirement rates coming from a younger workforce, workers that tend to retire at a later age or both.

Finally, women represented more than 50% of employment in only 12 of these 43 occupations expected to face surplus conditions. In only 3 of them, the female share of jobs was substantially high (where at least 80% of the employment were women in 2016).

Figure 6 shows an example of the assessment of an occupation expected to face surplus conditions over the period 2017-2026.

Figure 6: Example of an occupation projected to face surplus conditions: Food counter attendants, kitchen helpers and related support occupations (NOC 6711)

Recent Labour Market Conditions:
Balance Conditions

Projected Job Openings and Job Seekers:
Job Seekers > Job Openings
Labour Market Outlook:
Surplus Conditions

Note: Total job openings represent the summation of expansion demand (negative),
retirement, death and emigration, while total job seekers represent the
summation of school leavers, immigration and mobility & others (negative).

Bar figure showing the expected job openings and job seekers by components of the occupation Food counter attendants, kitchen helpers and related support occupations (NOC 6711), as an example of an occupation projected to face ssurplus conditions over the projection period. The data is shown on the link following this figure

Source: ESDC 2017 COPS Projections.

Text version of Figure 6: Example of an occupation projected to face surplus conditions: Food counter attendants, kitchen helpers and related support occupations (NOC 6711)

Over the 2014-2016 period, employment growth for Food counter attendants, kitchen helpers and related support occupations was at par with the average for all occupations. The unemployment rate went somewhat down, but remained high at 11.6% in 2016, well above the national average of 7.0%. The average hourly wage in real terms, which was among the lowest among all occupations, decreased slightly over the period of interest. Despite some signs of labour surplus, analysis of key labour market indicators does not allow to conclude that this occupational grouping is currently facing a situation of excess supply. Therefore, the number of job seekers seem to have been sufficient to fill the job openings in this occupational group over the 2014-2016 period.

Over the period 2017-2026, for Food counter attendants, kitchen helpers and related support occupations, the number of job openings (arising from expansion demand and replacement demand) is expected to total 81,900 while the number of job seekers (arising from school leavers, immigration and mobility) is expected to total 108,500.

Although this occupational group has had a balanced market in recent years, projected job seekers are expected to be substantially superior to job openings, creating a surplus of workers over the 2017-2026 period. Job openings are projected to arise from both employment growth and retirements. Employment growth for food counters attendants and kitchen helpers and related support occupations is expected to be similar to the average for all occupations. Workers in this occupational group are employed mainly in fast food restaurants, whose growth tends to follow household income and thus the general state of the economy. Employment growth in this occupation is thus usually comparable with the growth in the Canadian economy in general. The rising number of baby boomers who are retiring and will have more time for leisure activities is also expected to stimulate employment in the restaurant industry and in this occupation. Although departures to retirement within this occupation are expected to be a significant source of available jobs, the retirement rate is expected to be rather low. These workers are on average very young compared to other occupations and they tend to retire later in their career. With regard to labour supply, school leavers are projected to be the main source of job seekers. The number of schools leavers alone is projected to exceed job openings over the projection period. In addition, immigrants are expected to account for a significant proportion of job seekers, contributing to the very high labour supply. On the other hand, since this occupational group requires usually only on-the-job training, many will choose to work in it temporarily while looking for other employment that better matches their career goals and training. As a result, this occupational group is expected to continue facing substantial turnover in the years ahead. This will help reduce the excess supply but will not be sufficient to eliminate it.

Although occupational projections cannot be developed by gender, some general messages can be withdrawn from the results. Table 6 presents a high-level comparison of occupations expected to face shortage or surplus conditions, were at least 80% of workers in an occupation were women or men in 2016.

Table 6: Gender highlights, 2017-2026
There were 42 occupations where at least 80% workers were women in 2016 There were 91 occupations where at least 80% workers were men in 2016
Employment in these 42 occupations represented about 20.5% of total employment. Employment in these 91 occupations represented about 22.6% of total employment.
6 (14%) of these 42 occupations are expected to face shortage conditions.
  • The employment size of these occupations represent about 30% of total employment of all occupations projected to be in shortage.
  • All 6 are high-skilled occupations, related to the health sector
6 (7%) of these 91 occupations are expected to face shortage conditions.
  • The employment size of these occupations represent about 34% of total employment of all occupations projected to be in shortage.
  • 5 occupations are high-skilled and related to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
3 (7%) of these 42 occupations are expected to face surplus conditions
  • The employment size of these occupations represent about 4% of total employment of all occupations projected to be in surplus.
  • 2 are related to the health sector, including the one with the largest concentration of female workers, and 1 to clerical operations. 2 are low-skilled occupations.
20 (22%) of these 91 occupations are expected to face surplus conditions
  • The employment size of these occupations represent about 34% of total employment of all occupations projected to be in surplus.
  • 13 are high-skilled, 12 are related to trades, 7 to the primary sector and 1 is an operator occupation in manufacturing

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

Table 6 shows that:

Annex 1 - Projected Labour Market Conditions by Skill Level

Table 7: Projected Labour Market Conditions for Management Occupations, 4-digit Occupational Groupings, 2017-2026
Management Occupations Shortage Balance Surplus Total
Number of Occupations 0 27 2 29
Employment in Base Year (2016) 0 1,574,800 39,800 1,614,500
Share of Total Employment in 2016 0% 8.7% 0.2% 8.9%

Source: ESDC 2017 COPS Projections.

Overall, the management skill level is projected to be in balance over the 2017-2026 period. In 2016, this skill level, which includes 29 occupations, employed about 1.6 million workers (8.9% of total employment). Over the projection period, we expect similar numbers of job openings (646,200) and job seekers (631,100) in this skill level. The main source of job seekers for these occupations is vertical mobility (72.0%) as experienced workers from other skill levels seek to fill vacant management positions.

The majority of the occupations (27 out of 29) within this skill level are expected to face balanced conditions over the projection period (Table 6). Those occupations employed about 1.6 million workers in 2016 (8.7% of total employment).

However, imbalances are projected for two occupations within this skill level. Over the period 2017-2026, two management occupations are expected to face surplus conditions over the projection period. Employment in these occupations represented about 39,800 workers or 0.2% of total employment in 2016. No occupations are expected to face shortage conditions over the projection period.

Table 8: Projected Labour Market Conditions for Occupations Usually Requiring University Education (Skill Level A), 4-digit Occupational Groupings, 2017-2026
Occupations usually requiring university education (Skill level A) Shortage Balance Surplus Total
Number of Occupations 15 40 4 59
Employment in Base Year (2016) 1,069,500 2,472,300 94,200 3,636,000
Share of Total Employment in 2016 5.9% 13.7% 0.5% 20.1%

Source: ESDC 2017 COPS Projections.

Overall, the skill level A (i.e. occupations usually requiring university education) is projected to be in balance over the 2017-2026 period. In 2016, this skill level, which includes 59 occupations, employed about 3.6 million workers (20.1% of total employment). Over the projection period, we expect about 1,470,000 job openings and 1,424,900 job seekers in this skill level. However, this difference is not large enough to expect labour shortage conditions in the broad grouping of occupations usually requiring university education.

The majority of the occupations (40 out of 59) within this skill level are expected to face balanced conditions over the projection period (Table 7). Those occupations employed 2.5 million workers in 2016 (13.7% of total employment).

However, imbalances are projected for several occupations within this skill level. Over the 2017-2026 period, 15 occupations are projected to face shortage conditions. Employment in those occupations represented about 1.1 million workers in 2016 (5.9% of total employment).

On the other hand, four occupations in this skill level, accounting for 94,200 workers in 2016, are expected to face surplus conditions over the projection period. Employment in these occupations represented 0.5% of total employment in 2016.

Table 9: Projected Labour Market Conditions for Occupations Usually Requiring College Education or Apprenticeship Training (Skill Level B), 4-digit Occupational Groupings, 2017-2026
Occupations usually requiring college education or apprenticeship training (Skill level B) Shortage Balance Surplus Total
Number of Occupations 9 91 20 120
Employment in Base Year (2016) 369,700 4,875,600 960,400 6,205,700
Share of Total Employment in 2016 2.0% 27.0% 5.3% 34.3%

Source: ESDC 2017 COPS Projections.

Overall, the skill level B (occupations usually requiring college education or apprenticeship training) is projected to face balanced labour market conditions over the period 2017-2026. In 2016, this skill level, which includes 120 occupations, employed about 6.2 million workers (34.3% of total employment). Over the projection period, we expect similar numbers of job openings (2,173,500) and job seekers (2,195,800) in this skill level.

The majority of the occupations (91 out of 120) within this skill level are expected to face balanced conditions over the projection period (Table 9). Those occupations employed 4.9 million workers in 2016 (27.0% of total employment).

However, imbalances are projected for several occupations within this skill level. Over the period 2017-2026, nine occupations are projected to face shortage conditions. Employment in those occupations represented 369,700 workers in 2016 (2.0% of total employment).

On the other hand, 20 occupations in this skill level, accounting for 960,400 workers in 2016, are expected to face surplus conditions over the projection period. Employment in these occupations represented 5.3% of total employment in 2016.

Table 10: Projected Labour Market Conditions for Occupations Usually Requiring High School Education (Skill Level C), 4-digit Occupational Groupings, 2017-2026
Occupations usually requiring high school education (Skill Level C) Shortage Balance Surplus Total
Number of Occupations 1 52 11 64
Employment in Base Year (2016) 304,000 3,899,700 468,400 4,672,100
Share of Total Employment in 2016 1.7% 21.6% 2.6% 25.8%

Source: ESDC 2017 COPS Projections.

Overall, the skill level C (occupations usually requiring secondary school) is projected to face balanced labour market conditions over the period 2017-2026. In 2016, this skill level, which includes 64 occupations, employed about 4.7 million workers (25.8% of total employment). Over the projection period, we expect similar numbers of job openings (1,488,900) and job seekers (1,468,900) in this skill level.

The majority of the occupations (52 out of 64) within this skill level are expected to face balanced conditions over the projection period (Table 9). Those occupations employed about 3.9 million workers in 2016 (21.6% of total employment).

However, imbalances are projected for several occupations within this skill level. Over the period 2017-2026, one occupations is projected to face shortage conditions. Employment in this occupation represented 304,000 workers in 2016 (1.7% of total employment).

On the other hand, 11 occupations in this skill level, accounting for about 468,400 workers in 2016, are expected to face surplus conditions over the projection period. Employment in these occupations represented 2.6% of total employment in 2016.

Table 11: Projected Labour Market Conditions for Occupations Usually Requiring On-the-Job Training (Skill Level D), 4-digit Occupational Groupings, 2017-2026.
Occupation usually requiring on-the-job training (Skill Level D) Shortage Balance Surplus Total
Number of Occupations 0 15 5 20
Employment in Base Year (2016) 0 1,333,300 620,000 1,953,300
Share of Total Employment in 2016 0% 7.4% 3.4% 10.8%

Source: ESDC 2017 COPS Projections.

Overall, the skill level D (occupations usually requiring on-the-job training) is projected to face balanced labour market conditions over the period 2017-2026. In 2016, this skill level, which includes 20 occupations, employed about 2.0 million workers (10.8% of total employment). Over the projection period, we expect similar numbers of job openings (566,400) and job seekers (597,500) in this skill level.

Over the period 2017-2026, 15 out of 20 occupation in this skill level, are expected to face balanced conditions (Table 10). Employment in these occupations represented 1.3 million workers (7.4% of total employment) in 2016.

No occupation in this skill level is projected to face shortage conditions.

On the other hand, five occupations within this skill level are expected to face surplus conditions. Those occupations employed 620,000 workers in 2016 (3.4% of total employment).

Date modified: