Canadian Occupational Projection System (COPS)

Job Seekers (2015-2024)

The previous COPS projections for the period 2013-2022 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.

The 2011 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 are individuals who enter the labour market from the school system, the immigration and other sources:

The last two components (i.e. net re-entrants and student workers) are negligible and are left out of this report as their inclusion has little impact on the results. In particular, student workers are left out because the annual number of students working remain relatively stable (the number of students starting to work is similar to the number of working students graduating and therefore becoming school leavers).

Job Seekers from the Education System (School Leavers)

Over the projection period (2015-2024), it is expected that the number of school leavers entering the labour market will increase, mainly at the post-secondary education (PSE) level (see Figure 1 below).

Figure 1: School Leavers by Education Level, 1990-2024

Bar figure showing the annual school leavers by education level over the period 1990-2024. The data is shown on the link following this figure

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

Text Version of Figure 1: School Leavers by Education Level, 1990-2024

Figure 1 shows that on average, there were 465,000 school leavers per year over the period 2005 to 2014. This is expected to increase to an annual average of 503,000 school leavers over the projection period. Over the same period, the number of school leavers with:

Over the 2015-2024 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) in the total working age population (15-64) is expected to decline from 20.1% in 2014 to 18.9% in 2024. 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 2024. 

Figure 2: Populations Aged 15 to 19 and 20 to 29 and their Shares in the Total Working Age Population (15-64), 1990-2024

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 1990-2024. The data is shown on the link following this figure

Source: Statistics Canada (historical) and ESDC 2015 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), 1990-2024

However, the annual average population of this youth group (aged 20-29) is still expected to be 5.1% higher over the projection period than during the previous ten years (2005-2014). 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.

On the other side, the 10-year average population of younger youth (aged 15-19) is expected to slightly decline from 2.16 (2005-2014) to 2.0 million (2015-2024).  Hence the number of school leavers with less than PSE will be slightly lower than in the past.

In addition to a larger source population for PSE, the increase in PSE school leavers also results from 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 2024.

Figure 3: Enrolment Rates by Level of Education (as Percentage of Source Population), 1990-2024

Line figure showing the annual enrolment rates by level of education as percentage of source population over the period 1990-2024. The data is shown on the link following this figure

Source: Statistics Canada (historical) and ESDC 2015 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), 1990-2024

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 2024.

Figure 4: Number of Enrolments by Level of Education, 1990-2024

Area figure showing the annual enrolments by level of education over the period 1990-2024. The data is shown on the link following this figure

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

Text version of Figure 4: Number of Enrolments by Level of Education, 1990-2024

Due to a larger older youth population (20-29) and higher enrolment rates, the level of enrolments in all PSE programs is projected to increase by 8.5% over the period 2015 to 2024 (from about 1.38 million in 2014 to about 1.50 million in 2024). More specifically, the number of enrolments in:

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, 1990-2024

Line figure showing the annual school leavers with a college education and the population aged 18 to 24 over the period 1990-2024. The data is shown on the link following this figure

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

Text version of Figure 5: School Leavers with a College Education, 1990-2024

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 12.5%, from 162 thousand in 2014 to 183 thousand in 2024 (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, 1990-2024

Line figure showing the annual school leavers with a university education and the population aged 18 to 34 over the period 1990-2024. The data is shown on the link following this figure

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

Text version of Figure 6: School Leavers with a University Education, 1990-2024

In spite of a slight decrease in the source population aged 18 to 34, the number of school leavers with university education is expected to increase by 8.7%, from 183 thousand in 2014 to 199 thousand in 2024 (see Figure 6). This can be explained by the increased number of university enrolments and the good labour market conditions for individuals with this level of education.

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 during the period 2012 to 2015.

Meanwhile, the number of school leavers with less than PSE joining the labour market is projected to decline. Figure 7 shows the historical and projection estimates of these school leavers.

Figure 7: School Leavers with High School Diploma and High School Dropouts 1990-2024

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 1990-2024. The data is shown on the link following this figure

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

Text version of Figure 7: School Leavers with High School Diploma and High School Dropouts 1990-2024

The total cumulative number of school leavers with less than PSE is expected to be 1.34 million over the projection period, which is 9.5% lower than in the previous ten years (1.48M for the period 2005 to 2014). This results from a smaller increase in the number of those who complete only high school and a larger decrease in the number of those who drop out of high school.

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 only slightly by 6.7% over the projection period, from 104 thousand in 2014 to 111 thousand in 2024.

The number of school leavers with less than high school education is expected to decrease by 20.0%, from 35 thousand in 2014 to about 28 thousand in 2024. This is explained by the shrinking source population of youth aged 15-19 and lower high school drop out rates. High-school dropout rates are 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 2015 to 2024. 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 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 8: Historical and Projected Distribution of School Leavers by Education Level

Figure 8 shows that school leavers with college and university education accounted for 68.1% of the total number of school leavers over the period 2005 to 2014 (3.17 million compared to 1.48 million with lower education attainment). This share is projected to increase to 73.3% (3.69 million compared to 1.34 million for non-PSE) over the coming decade.

The number of school leavers with high school or some post-secondary education is expected to remain essentially flat at around 1.06 million over the projection period. However, those with less than high school are projected to decline by about 34.4%, from 424 thousand over the period 2005 to 2014 to 278 thousand over the period 2015 to 2024.

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 2024. In fact, the share of the labour force with a postsecondary education is projected to increase to 64.9% in 2024, from 62.3% in 2014. 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 smaller than the one registered during the previous ten years, when it grew by 8.1 percentage points, from 55.7% in 2005 to 62.3% in 2014.

Figure 9: Share of the Labour Force (15+) with a Post-Secondary Education, 1990-2024

Bar figure showing the annual share of the labour force that are 15 years and older with a post-secondary education over the period 1990-2024. The data is shown on the link following this figure

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

Text version of Figure 9: Share of the Labour Force (15+) with a Post-secondary Education, 1990-2024

More specifically, the projected labour force growth will be highest among university graduates (1.3% average annual growth rate over the period 2015 to 2024) and college graduates (average annual growth rate of 0.9%).

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 less than high school is projected to decline over the coming decade at a rate of 0.4% average annual growth rate. Finally, labour force growth among those with high school is projected to see minimal changes.

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 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 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 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: Projected Distribution of School Leavers by Education Level

Although Canadian school leavers are projected to be more educated (73.3% with PSE), only 56.9% 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.

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 skill 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 the projections).

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 2015 to 2024.

Table 1: Top 10 Occupations Where the Largest Number of School Leavers are Expected to Look for Work, 2015-2024
NOC Occupations Share in Total School Leavers Average Annual School Leavers as % of 2014 Employment Employment Size
(% of Total 2014 Employment)
6421 Retail Salespersons 4.9% 4.4% 3.1%
6611 Cashiers 3.3% 4.6% 2.1%
6711 Food counter attendants, kitchen helpers and related support occupations 3.3% 4.7% 2.0%
6513 Food and beverage servers 2.3% 5.5% 1.2%
3012 Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses 2.2% 3.8% 1.7%
4032 Elementary school and kindergarten teachers 2.0% 3.6% 1.6%
6622 Store shelf stockers, clerks and order fillers 1.7% 4.3% 1.1%
5250* Athletes, Coaches, Referees And Related Occupations 1.6% 6.0% 0.8%
6322 Cooks 1.6% 4.2% 1.1%
7610* Trades helpers and labourers 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 2014.

Source: ESDC 2015 COPS Projections.

Occupations where the largest number of school leavers are expected to seek work are usually occupations with larger employment size. Out of the 10 occupations with the largest number of school leavers over the projection period, 6 are in the service industry. 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.

Job Seekers from Immigration (New Immigrants)

In the projection, annual immigration is assumed to represent slightly more than 0.75% of the Canadian population, in line with past experience. 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 2024.

Figure 12: Annual Immigration Levels and Rates, 1996-2024

Line figure showing the annual immigration levels and rates over the period 1996-2024. The data is shown on the link following this figure

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

Text version of Figure 12: Annual Immigration Levels and Rates, 1996-2024

Indeed, Figure 12 shows that over the period 2005 to 2014, 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, representing about 255,000 new immigrants each year. However, only a fraction of this total entered the labour market as this number includes children and adults who did not join the labour force once in Canada. Indeed, new immigrants represented, on average, an annual addition of approximately 111,000 new labour market entrants over the period 2005 to 2014.

A growth rate based on historical trend of the immigration proportion is used to project the total number of new immigrants arriving in Canada each year.

As a result, new immigrants are expected to increase the Canadian population by close to 2.8 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.

Over the projection period, annual population growth averages about 344 thousand per year, compared with 342 thousand over the previous 10-year period.

Figure 13: Population Growth by Component, Annual Averages Over: 1995-2004, 2005-2014 and 2015-2024

Bar figure showing the annual average population growth by component (natural increase and net immigration) 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 13: Population Growth by Component, Annual Averages Over: 1995-2004, 2005-2014 and 2015-2024

The share of population growth stemming from net immigration is expected to increase slightly to 63% over the period 2015 to 2024. As a comparison, this share was about 62% for the period 2005 to 2014 and about 56% for the period 1995 to 2004.

Figure 14 shows the annual average contribution of new immigrants and domestic supply to total labour force growth over the periods of 1995 to 2004, 2005 to 2014 and 2015 to 2024. 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 is expected to account 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 1995-2004, 2005-2014 and 2015-2024

Bar figure showing the annual average contribution of new immigrants and domestic supply to the total labour force growth 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 14: Contribution of New Immigrants and Domestic Supply to Total Labour Force Growth: Annual Averages Over 1995-2004, 2005-2014 and 2015-2024

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 93% of the annual net growth of the labour force over the projection period, up from 57% 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.

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 National household survey and the change in the share of immigrants in each occupation in the Labour Force Survey for the period 2006 to 2014. Recent changes to immigration policies, such as the "expression of interest" approach for the skilled immigrants program, are not considered in the projections because no historical data have been collected yet. Moreover, immigrants from this program represent a relatively small share of total.

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).

Table 2: Top 10 Occupations Where the Largest Number of New Immigrants are Expected to Look for Work, 2015-2024
NOC Occupations New Immigrants % of 2014 Employment
6421 Retail Salespersons 46,000 8.2%
6711 Food counter attendants, kitchen helpers and related support occupations 39,000 11.1%
6731 Light duty cleaners 36,000 15.7%
3413* Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates & Other assisting occupations in support of health services 30,000 11.0%
6611 Cashiers 3,000 7.6%
6322 Cooks 26,000 13.7%
4214 Early childhood educators and assistants 23,000 9.6%
4411 Home child care providers 21,000 41.8%
3012 Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses 21,000 6.9%
0621 Retail and wholesale trade managers 19,000 6.4%

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, the highest concentration of immigrants is expected to be mainly in occupations usually requiring PSE. Table 3 shows the top 10 occupations where the largest share of new immigrants are expected to seek work over the period 2015 to 2024. Indeed, six out of the ten occupations projected to have the highest share of new immigrants relative to their 2014 employment over the period 2015 to 2024 are in occupations requiring post-secondary education. Three of those occupations are engineering occupations. Four of these ten occupations had a large proportion of female workers, as more than 50% of their employment were women in 2014.

Table 3: Top 10 Occupations Where the Largest Share of New Immigrants are Expected to Seek Work, 2015-2024
NOC Occupations New Immigrants % of 2014 Employment
4411 Home child care providers 21,000 41.8%
8611* Harvesting labourers; Aquaculture and marine harvest labourers & Logging and forestry labourers 3,000 28.4%
9616* Labourers in textile processing & Other labourers in processing, manu. and utilities 10,000 24.7%
2147 Computer engineers (except software engineers and designers) 5,000 21.0%
9617* Labourers in food, beverage and related prod. processing & Labourers in fish and seafood processing 10,000 20.4%
2141 Industrial and manufacturing engineers & Metallurgical and materials engineers 3,000 18.7%
6332 Bakers 8,000 18.1%
6321 Chefs 11,000 17.9%
2133 Electrical and electronics engineers 6,000 17.3%
5125 Translators, terminologists and interpreters 3,000 16.9%

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, occupations where the smallest share of new immigrants are projected to seek work are mostly related to the trades sector and primary industries. This might be explained by the fact that primary activity is mostly in rural areas and immigrants tend to settle mostly in large urban centres and by the fact that some of these occupations are small in terms of employment size. Table 4 shows the top 10 occupations where the smallest share of new immigrants are expected to seek work over the period 2015 to 2024.

Table 4: Top 10 Occupations Where the Smallest Share of New Immigrants are Expected to Seek Work, 2015-2024
NOC Occupations New Immigrants % of 2014 Employment
7201 Contractors and supervisors, machining, metal forming, shaping and erecting trades and related occupations 200 1.2%
6511 Maîtres d'hôtel and hosts/hostesses 600 1.1%
7301*

Contractors and supervisors, mechanic trades & Supervisors, printing and related occs.

800 1.1%
1243 Medical administrative assistants 400 0.1%
8410* Mine service workers and operators in oil and gas drilling 200 0.9%
7203 Contractors and supervisors, pipefitting trades 100 0.8%
8241 Logging machinary operators 100 0.7%
7304* Supervisors, railway transport operations & Supervisors, motor transport and other ground transit operators 200 0.5%
8211 Supervisors, logging and forestry 0 0.0%
8440* Other workers in fishing and trapping and hunting occupations 0 0.0%

Note 1: Occupations with a star are groupings of 4-digit occupations (including 3-digit occupations which are considered as groups of 4-digit occupations).
Note 2: Occupations in bold are those where at least 50% of their workers were women in 2014.

Source: ESDC 2015 COPS Projections.

Job Seekers from Occupational Mobility

The labour market is in constant flux and new inflows of workers do not capture the extent to which certain occupations are actually staffed. For many occupations, workers from other occupations are an important source of job seekers (in addition to school leavers and immigrants). In the projections, inter-occupational mobility is based on past mobility patterns as well as actual and expected future labour demand and supply. This is used to determine possible pools of workers, natural career progression paths and to anticipate future labour market needs.

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 2014 employment by skill level over the period 2015 to 2024. Many workers in lower-skill occupations seek jobs in higher-skill ones, usually better paid occupations. In the coming decade, over 514,000 workers are expected to move up the skill ladder away from lower-skill occupations (in skill levels C and D). Several of them are workers with a college or university education who start working in a lower-skill level occupation, before seeking work in a new position that better reflects their qualifications.

Conversely, for those working in skill level B (usually requiring college education), net mobility is expected to represent over 130,000 workers over the coming decade. More specifically, although many workers from skill levels C and D are expected to move into an occupation of skill level B, part of this inflow of workers will be offset by those leaving this skill level for an occupation of a higher skill level (skill level A or management level). Similarly, for skill level A, net mobility is expected to be low, representing just over 21,000 workers over the period 2015 to 2024, as the number of workers coming from lower skilled level occupations is expected to be offset by workers getting promoted into management occupations.

Management occupations are the largest recipients of net mobility flows, as experienced workers from other skill levels seek to fill vacant management positions. In fact, mobility will represent the greatest source of job seekers for management occupations. Around 55% of the supply for management occupations, representing more than 359,000 new managers, is expected to come from occupations in lower skill levels over the coming decade.

Figure 15: Projected Number of People Moving Between Skill Levels as a Percentage Share of Base-year Employment for Each Skill Level (2015-2024)

Bar figure showing the projected cumulative number of people moving between skill levels, in thousands and as a percentage share of the 2014 employment for each skill level over the period 2015-2024. The data is shown on the link following this figure

Source: ESDC 2015 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 (2015-2024)

Total Job Seekers

Figure 16 shows the sources of total new job seekers over the periods 1995 to 2004, 2005 to 2014 and 2015 to 2024. Even though new immigrants are expected to account for the majority of the net growth in the labour force over the next decade, they will continue to 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 1995-2004, 2005-2014 and 2015-2024

Bar figure showing the sources of cumulative new job seekers 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 16: Sources of New Job Seekers: Totals Over 1995-2004, 2005-2014 and 2015-2024

In fact, the number of young people coming out of Canada’s education system (whether with an incomplete high school certificate or a post-secondary education), 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 still be a key place for addressing problems of mismatch between job openings and job seekers.

Note: In Figure 16, the category "Other" 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 negligible in the past, but started to gain importance in recent years, and will continue over the projection period.

Figure 17 shows the total new job seekers by skill level over the period 2015 to 2014. A total of 5.8 million job seekers (from the school system, immigration and other sources) are expected to enter the labour market over the projection period.

Figure 17: Job Seekers by Skill Level, 2015-2024

Bar figure showing the cumulative job seekers from school leavers, immigrants, mobility and others, 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 17: Job Seekers by Skill Level, 2015-2024

Figure 17 shows that two-thirds (65.4% - around 3.8 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-skill 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, among the top 10 occupations projected to have the largest proportion of new job seekers (projected number of job seekers as a proportion employment in 2014 in the occupation), seven occupations are in the Management area, where mobility plays a large role (see Table 5).

Two occupations are related to the information and technology sector (Computer and information systems managers and Computer engineers, except software engineers and designers). These jobs are usually well paid and workers face less barriers to move among industries and jobs.

Table 5: Top 10 Occupations With the Largest Proportion of New Job Seekers , 2015-2024
NOC Occupations Employment 2014 New Job Seekers as a % of 2014 Employment
0311 Managers in health care 29,000 65%
0423 Managers in social, community and correctional services 33,000 58%
2261* Non-destructive testers and inspection technician; Engineering inspectors and regulatory officers & Inspectors in public and environmental health and occupational health and safety 5,000 57%
0422 School principals and administrators of elementary and secondary education 28,000 55%
0213 Computer and information systems managers 55,000 54%
0010* Legislators and senior management 57,000 54%
0211* Engineering managers & Architecture and science managers 37,000 52%
2147 Computer engineers (except software engineers and designers) 23,000 50%
1121 Human resources professionals 80,000 48%
0112 Human resources managers 36,000 48%

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.

Table 6 below shows that the occupations with the largest number of new job seekers are usually large occupations in terms of employment size (Table 6). In fact, employment in those 10 occupations (out of 292 occupations) accounted for about 17.1% of total employment in 2014. Among these 10 occupations, four are in education and health occupations as these jobs are typically well paid.

Table 6: Top 10 Occupations With the Largest Number of New Job Seekers , 2015-2024
NOC Occupations Employment 2014 New Job Seekers
3413* Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates & Other assisting occupations in support of health services 276,000 126,000
3012 Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses 298,000 114,000
7511 Transport truck drivers 317,000 109,000
6421 Retail salespersons 554,000 106,000
1221 Administrative officers 242,000 100,000
4032 Elementary school and kindergarten teachers 285,000 98,000
6711 Food counter attendants, kitchen helpers and related support occupations 351,000 88,000
6411 Sales and account representatives - wholesale trade (non-technical) 252,000 86,000
4214 Early childhood educators and assistants 236,000 86,000
6731 Light duty cleaners 231,000 85,000

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, 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), six are related to the service sector (see Table 7). This is largely due to reduced job prospects in the related industries. Also, eight of these ten are classified as usually requiring only high-school education or on the job-training. The other two typically require college education. 

Table 7: Top 10 Occupations With the Smallest Proportion of New Job Seekers , 2015-2024
NOC Occupations Employment 2014 New Job Seekers as a % of 2014 Employment
6513 Food and beverage servers 210,000 16%
5243* Theatre, fashion, exhibit and other creative designers & Artisans and craftspersons; Patternmakers - textile, leather and fur products 22,000 15%
6522 Pursers and flight attendants 11,000 15%
8432 Nursery and greenhouse workers 17,000 15%
8611* Harvesting labourers; Aquaculture and marine harvest labourers & Logging and forestry labourers 12,000 14%
6521 Travel counsellors 21,000 11%
1241 Administrative assistants 113,000 9%
6623 Other sales related occupations 36,000 8%
6512 Bartenders 35,000 5%
6621 Service station attendants 16,000 1%

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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