Canadian Occupational Projection System (COPS)

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

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

Over the next 10 years, economic growth is expected to generate about 1.6 million new jobs (160,000 on average every year), which represent an annual average growth rate of 0.9%. The weaker growth, compared to previous decades, will be due to the slower growth in the labour force (see document Macroeconomic Projections).

Employment growth by industry reflects the future trends anticipated in production and labour productivity for each of the 42 industries covered by COPS. The performance of an industry in terms of production is heavily influenced by macroeconomic and demographic factors (consumption, investment, exports, interest rates, exchange rates, import penetration, population growth, population aging, etc.), while the performance in terms of productivity mostly reflects technology adoption and labour quality.

In principle, occupations directly linked to industries that are expected to have strong employment growth will benefit from a positive outlook. The reverse occurs for occupations linked to industries with weak employment growth.

In recent years, there has been an increasing interest in understanding how technology will impact the labour market, as the automation of the production process is expected to accelerate considering the speed of technological developments.

In general, automation affects employment in two different ways. By displacing workers from tasks they were previously performing, labour market disruptions occur over the transition period. But eventually, the increase in real wages resulting from higher productivity leads to the creation of new jobs to produce the goods and services that people want to buy with their extra income.

Historical evidence suggests that technology ended up creating more jobs than it destroyed, as jobs have been reallocated at the industrial and occupational levels. For example, the Canadian economy has evolved from agriculture to manufacturing to services over the past century.

Most experts agree that automation is not expected to destroy a large number of jobs over the next 10-20 years, as specific tasks rather than entire occupations are most likely to be automated. For instance, the introduction of computers sped up some aspects of jobs, enabling workers to do the other tasks better. Rather than destroying occupations, computers redefined them. But this process required workers to learn new skills.

The literature also suggests that industries and occupations involving routine tasks are generally more at risk of being automated and experience lower employment growth than those involving cognitive tasks. Indeed, automation tends to restrain labour demand since an increasing part of production growth is being met by productivity growth.

Figure 1 shows the industries that are projected to post the strongest growth in employment over the projection period. In principle, occupations directly linked to industries that are expected to have strong employment growth will benefit from this positive outlook. The reverse occur for those tied to industries with weak employment growth.

Figure 1: Industries Projected to Have the Strongest Employment Growth, 2017-2026 (average annual growth, in percentage)

Bar figure showing the industries with the strongest employment growth over the projection period 2017-2026. The data is shown on the link following this figure

Source: ESDC , 2017 COPS industrial scenario (projections).

Text version of Figure 1: Industries Projected to Have the Strongest Employment Growth, 2017-2026 (average annual growth, in percentage)

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

Most of the industries projected to post the strongest growth in employment (i.e. above 1.0% annually) are also those projected to post the strongest growth in production. Below are some of the key drivers expected to support output and job creation in those industries:

Figure 2 shows the industries that are projected to post average or moderate growth in employment over the projection period.

Figure 2: Industries Projected to Have Average or Moderate Employment Growth, 2017-2026 (average annual growth, in percentage)

Bar figure showing the industries with the average or moderate employment growth over the projection period 2017-2026. The data is shown on the link following this figure

Source: ESDC , 2017 COPS industrial scenario (projections).

Text version of Figure 2: Industries Projected to Have Average or Moderate Employment Growth, 2017-2026 (average annual growth, in percentage)

Most of the industries projected to post average or moderate growth in employment (i.e. between 0.6% and 1.0% annually) are also those projected to post average or moderate growth in production.

This group includes six manufacturing and six commercial services industries. It also includes elementary and secondary schools; construction; mining; and oil and gas extraction industries. In addition to moderate growth in production, job creation in those industries is expected to be restrained by the following factors:

Figure 3: Industries Projected to Have the Weakest Growth or Declines in Employment, 2017-2026 (average annual growth, in percentage)

Bar figure showing the industries with the weakest growth or declines in employment over the projection period 2017-2026. The data is shown on the link following this figure

Source: ESDC , 2017 COPS industrial scenario (projections).

Text version of Figure 3: Industries Projected to Have the Weakest Growth or Declines in Employment, 2017-2026 (average annual growth, in percentage)

Most of the industries projected to post the weakest growth or declines in employment (i.e. below 0.5% annually) are also those projected to post the weakest growth in production.

This group is largely composed of manufacturing and non-mineral primary industries that have experienced a stagnation or a declining trend in output and/or employment over the past several years, such as wood products, textiles, clothing, furniture, paper, printing, agriculture, forestry and fishing. Such industries are expected to face similar challenges than those experienced in the last decade, including:

Output and employment growth is also projected to be weak in a number of commercial and non-commercial services industries. The main factors expected to weigh on those industries are:

For more details on the historical and future performance of the 42 industries covered by COPS, including key drivers of GDP, employment and productivity growth, please consult the Industrial Summaries available on the COPS website.

These two effects have impacted the employment growth distribution among high- and low-skill occupations. Figure 3 shows the average annual employment change in high- and low skilled occupations over the periods 1997 to 2006, 2007 to 2016 and 2017 to 2026.

Figure 4: High- and Low-skilled Average Annual Employment Change, 1997-2006, 2007-2016 and 2017-2026

Bar figure showing the high- and low-skilled average annual employment change over the periods 1997-2006, 2007-2016 and 2017-2026. The data is shown on the link following this figure

High-skill group is composed of Management, Skill Levels A and B
Low-skill group is composed of Skill Levels C and D

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

Text version of Figure 4: High- and Low-skilled Average Annual Employment Change, 1997-2006, 2007-2016 and 2017-2026

About 76% of the projected employment growth over the next 10 years is expected to be in high-skill occupations. As a comparison, high-skill occupations accounted for all of new job creation during the preceding decade (106%), while jobs among low skilled occupations declined. This was largely due to the recession that mostly impacted employment in low-skill occupations. However, this projected trend is a continuation of what has been observed over the past 20 years as the Canadian economy became more knowledge-intensive, automatized and with stronger health care needs. High-skill occupations represented 63.4% of total employment in 2016.

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

The strong growth in high-skill occupations is mostly due to strong employment growth in those that usually require university education. Figure 5 shows the distribution of employment growth among skill levels over the projection period 2017 to 2026.

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

Figure 5: Distribution of Expansion Demand by Skill Level, 2017-2026 (in thousands)

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

Source: ESDC 2017 COPS Projections.

Text version of Figure 5: Distribution of Expansion Demand by Skill Level, 2017-2026

In comparison, in 2016, the largest share of employment could be found in occupations that usually require a college education or apprenticeship training (skill level B), followed by those that usually require high school education (skill level C). Occupations that usually require a university education (skill level A), only on-the-job training (skill level D), and management occupations ranked third, fourth and fifth, respectively. This can be observed in Table 1, which shows the employment distribution and projected employment growth by skill level of the period 2017 to 2026.

Table 1: 2016 Employment Distribution and Projected Employment Growth by Skill Level of the Period 2017-2026
  Management Skill Level A (unviersity edcutaion) Skill Level B (college education) Skill Level C (high school education) Skill Level D (on-the-job training)
Employment Growth (AAGR*) 0.5 1.5 0.9 0.5 0.7
2016 Employment Distribution 8.9% 20.1% 34.3% 25.8% 10.8%

*AAGR: Annual Average Growth Rate

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

The faster employment growth in high-skill occupations will result in a slight increase in the share of high-skill occupations within total employment. This can be observed in Figure 6, which shows the distribution of employment by skill level over the periods 2007 to 2016 and 2017 to 2026. Indeed, as about 76% of the employment growth is expected to be in high-skill occupations over the period 2017-2026, the projected proportion of high-skill jobs in total employment is expected to increase to 64.0% on average over the projection period, up from 61.0% of total employment on average over 2007-2016.

Figure 6: Distribution of Employment by Skill Level: 2007-2016 and 2017-2026

Bar figure showing the distribution of employment by skill level over the periods 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 6: Distribution of Employment by Skill Level: 2007-2016 and 2017-2026

The growing demand for healthcare and the structural change towards a more knowledge-based economy are expected to push the demand for high-skill occupations up over the projection period. Indeed, employment growth is expected to be faster among technical and professional services in health and natural and applied sciences occupations.

With the exception of senior management occupations, growth for management occupations is projected to be about average, but employment in highly skill management positions (for example managers in health, technology and engineering) is expected to register stronger growth. Employment in senior management occupations has declined since 2004, mostly because of the budget deficits reduction initiatives recorded by the various levels of government and because of the financial crisis. This situation is expected to continue at a slower pace over the projection period as austerity measures ease.

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

Finally, occupations related to office and clerical work are expected to also have below average employment growth. This is mostly due to the constant introduction of technologies that continue to transform secretarial work, leading to the specialization of administrative duties.

Table 2: 2-Digit Occupational Groupings by Projected Annual Average Growth Rate, 2017-2026
(average annual growth)
Growth above 1.3% Growth below 0.5%
Professional occupations in health (except Nursing) Workers in natural resources, agriculture and related production
Professional occupations in nursing Middle management occupations in retail and wholesale trade and customer services
Assisting occupations in support of health services Office support occupations
Paraprofessional occupations in legal, social, community and education services Labourers in processing, manufacturing and utilities
Technical occupations in health Distribution, tracking and scheduling co-ordination occupations
Professional occupations in natural and applied sciences Processing and manufacturing machine operators and related production workers
Professional occupations in business and finance Senior management occupations
Professional occupations in law and social, community and government services Middle management occupations in trades, transportation, production and utilities

Note: Annual growth rate for total employment is 0.9%. Boundaries were set at plus and minus 4 percentage points of this growth rate.

Source: ESDC 2017 COPS Projections.

At a more detailed occupational level (4-digit NOC groupings), Table 3 shows the 10 occupations that are expected to have the stronger employment growth over the projection period.

Table 3: Top 10 Occupations with the Strongest Annual Average Employment Growth,2017-2026
NOC Occupations Employment 2016 Growth Rate (2017-2026)
3111 Specialist physicians 58,100 2.8%
3112 General practitioners and family physicians 81,000 2.8%
2172 Database analysts and data administrators 40,500 2.4%
3232* Practitioners of natural healing; Massage therapists; Other technical occupations in therapy and assessment 52,700 2.4%
0213 Computer and information systems managers 79,000 2.2%
3142 Physiotherapists 35,200 2.2%
3413* Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates; Other assisting occupations in support of health services 335,800 2.2%
3012 Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses 353,200 2.2%
3120* Optometrists, chiropractors and other health diagnosing and treating 36,100 2.2%
3011 Nursing co-ordinators and supervisors 20,900 2.0%

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 2016.

Source: ESDC 2017 COPS Projections.

At a more detailed occupational level (4-digit NOC groupings), eight out of the ten occupations with the fastest projected employment growth are in the health sector (NOCs 3111, 3112, 3232, 3142, 3413, 3012, 3120 and 3011). This reflects the fact that the population is aging and with this, the need for healthcare professionals and healthcare related occupations is expected to increase. Another two occupations (NOCs 2172 and 0213) are related to the information and technology sector, mostly due to the strong outlook expected in this growing industry.

On the other hand, some manufacturing, primary and administrative occupations are projected to post the strongest employment declines. Table 4 shows the 10 occupations that are expected to have the strongest employment decline rates over the projection period. Indeed, four (NOC 7380, 9432/9433/9435, 9470 and 9441) out of the top ten occupations that are expected to post declines over the next decade are associated with processing, manufacturing and utilities, largely affected negatively by technological advancements and weaker industrial outlooks. For instance, the increased popularity of digital imaging has come at the expense of printing press operators jobs.

The strongest employment decline is expected to be in banking, insurance and other financial clerks and collectors (NOC 1434). The fast introduction of computerization in the financial sector is largely responsible for this. As a result, this occupation has experienced strong job losses since 2009, a trend that is only expected to moderate over the projection period.

Computerization is also expected to have a strong impact on data entry clerks, and desktop publishing operators and related occupations (NOC 1422*). Machine learning and machine text reading are just some examples of technologies that are negatively impacting job opportunities in this occupation.

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

Finally, the expected employment decline in Administrative assistants (NOC 1241) is due to ongoing office automation, which makes many of those positions redundant. In addition, the specialization of administrative tasks has transferred some of these jobs to more specialized administrative occupations. In fact, occupations related to general office support are also expected to have poor employment growth expectations.

Table 4 presents the top ten occupations with the largest demployment declines over the projection period.

Table 4: Top 10 Occupations with the Largest Annual Average Employment Decline Rates, 2017-2026
NOC Occupations Employment 2016 Growth Rate (2017-2026)
1434* Banking, insurance and other financial clerks; Collectors 38,500 -2.7%
1241 Administrative assistants 187,800 -1.8%
1422* Data entry clerks; Desktop publishing operators and related 33,700 -1.8%
9470* Printing equipment operators and related occupations 16,000 -1.8%
7380* Printing press operators and other trades and related occupations, not else classified 21,100 -1.7%
8260* Fishing vessel masters and fishermen/women 10,800 -1.7%
1411 General office support workers 135,300 -1.7%
8440 Other workers in fishing and trapping and hunting occupations 2,600 -1.5%
9441* Textile fibre and yarn, hide and pelt processing machine operators and workers; Weavers, knitters and other fabric making occupations; Fabric, fur and leather cutters; Inspectors and graders, textile, fabric, fur and leather products manufacturing 6,600 -1.2%
9432* Pulp mill; Papermaking and finishing; Paper converting machine operators 13,600 -1.2%

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.

Job Openings in Existing Positions (Replacement Demand)

Economic growth is not the only source of job openings. Replacement demand is the other major source of job openings. These openings are vacancies created by the following factors:

Figure 7 shows these sources of replacement demand over the periods 1997 to 2006, 2007 to 2016 and 2017 to 2026. This figure shows that indeed retirements represent an increasingly important source of replacement demand.

Figure 7: Sources of Replacement Demand over the Periods 1997-2006, 2007-2016 and 2017-2026 (in thousands)

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

Note: Historical retirements are constructed using data from the Longitudinal Administrative Database (LAD). Retirement is defined as a complete and permanent withdrawal from the labour market.

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

Text version of Figure 7: Sources of Replacement Demand over the Periods 1997-2006, 2007-2016 and 2017-2026 (in thousands)

Retirement growth and employment growth were comparable prior to 2007, but the former started outpacing the latter as of 2007. As a result, the overall retirement rate, expressed as the number of retirees per employed worker, grew from 1.3% in 2006 to 1.9% in 2016. This can be seen in Figure 8, which shows the overall retirement rate and indexed growth of retirements and employment over the period 1998 to 2026 and using 2005 as the base index year (2005=100).

This overall retirement rate is expected to surpass and remain above 2.0% in the early 2020s. Accordingly, an acceleration in the number of retirees is expected over the coming decade, with even larger numbers beyond the projection horizon (2026). The annual average number of retirements is projected to rise from 290,000 a year over the period 2007-2016, to an average of 390,000 a year over the projection period.

As a result, retirements are expected to account not only for the largest , but also an increasing source of the replacement demand and the total job openings.

Figure 8: Overall Retirement Rate and Indexed Growth of Retirements and Employment (2005=100), 1998-2026

Line figure showing the overall annual retirement rate and the indexed growth of retirements and employment (base 2005=100)  over the period 1998-2026 . The data is shown on the link following this figure

Note: Historical retirements are constructed using data from the Longitudinal Administrative Database (LAD). Retirement is defined as a complete and permanent withdrawal from the labour market.

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

Text version of Figure 8: Overall Retirement Rate and Indexed Growth of Retirements and Employment (2005=100), 1998-2026

This expected continued rise in the number of retirements and the overall retirement rates is explained by the aging of the Canadian population. This can be seen in Figure 9, which shows the share of the population of peopled that are over 50 years old and their retirement rate over the period 1990 to 2026.

As more and more members of the baby boom generation reach retirement age, the proportion of the population that are 50 years old or older is expected to continue to increase. Additionally, the upward trend in the retirement rates of these workers are expected to slowly continue, reaching 6.3% over the projection period, from 5.5% recorded over the period 2007 to 2016.

Figure 9: Share of the Population Aged 50 and Over and their Retirement Rate, 1990-2026

Line figure showing the annual share of the population aged 50 and over and the annual retirement rate over the period 1990-2026 . The data is shown on the link following this figure

Note: Historical retirements are constructed using data from the Longitudinal Administrative Database (LAD). Retirement is defined as a complete and permanent withdrawal from the labour market.

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

Text version of Figure 9: Share of the Population Aged 50 and Over and their Retirement Rate, 1990-2026

However, retirements are not evenly distributed amongst occupations. Indeed, high-skill occupations, which represented 63.4% of employment in 2016, are expected to represent 64.7% of the job openings generated by retirements. Figure 10 and Table 5 display the distribution of the projected number of retirements and rates by skill level over the projection period.

Except for management occupations and those usually requiring only on-the-job training (skill level D), these proportions reflect the relative employment distribution between skill levels. Hence, the majority of the retirements are projected to be in the skill levels that have the largest proportions of employment. That is, they are expected to be in larger quantities in occupations usually requiring college education or apprenticeship certificate (skill level B) and in those usually requiring high school education (skill level C).

Retirements will generate a disproportionately larger number of openings in management occupations as these workers tend to be significantly older than average, but tend to retire just at a slightly older age. On the other hand, workers in occupations that usually require only on-the-job training tend to be younger than average and tend to retire at a similar age, translated into a lower volume of retirements.

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

Figure 10: Distribution of Retirements by Skill Level, 2017-2026

Bar figure showing the distribution of cumualtive retirements by skill level , 2017-2026 over the projection period 2017-2026. The data is shown on on of cumualtive retirements by skill level , 2017-2026 over the projection period 2017-2026. The data is shown on the link following this the link following this figure

Source: ESDC 2017 COPS Projections.

Text version of Figure 10: Distribution of Retirements by Skill Level , 2017-2026

Table 5: Projected Cumulative Retirements and Retirement Rates by Skill Level, 2017-2026
  Management Skill Level A (unviersity edcutaion) Skill Level B (college education) Skill Level C (high school education) Skill Level D (on-the-job training)
Average Annual Retirement Rate 2.9% 1.9% 2.0% 2.2% 1.6%
10-year Retirements 481,900 742,400 1,296,200 1,040,800 334,100

Source: ESDC 2017 COPS Projections.

Nevertheless, the distribution of retirements by skill level is projected to remain relatively stable over the period 2017-2026 when compared to the preceding decade. This can be seen in Figure 11, which displays the distribution of retirements by skill level over the periods 2007 to 2016 and 2017 to 2026.

Figure 11: Distribution of Retirements by Skill Level, 2007-2016 and 2017-2026

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

Note: Historical retirements are constructed using data from the Longitudinal Administrative Database (LAD). Retirement is defined as a complete and permanent withdrawal from the labour market.

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

Text version of Figure 11: Distribution of Retirements by Skill Level, 2007-2016 and 2017-2026

Table 6 shows the 10 occupations that are expected to have the largest number of retirements over the projection period. Similarly, at the detailed occupational level (4-digit NOC groupings), occupations with the largest projected need to replace retirees are mostly due to their employment size.

In fact, half of the top ten occupations have retirement rates that are similar to the average. However, retail and wholesale trade managers (NOC 0621), administrative officers (NOC 1221), janitors, caretakers and building superintendents (NOC 6733), and general office support workers (1411) have higher than average retirement rates. On the other hand, the occupation of retail salespersons (NOC 6421) is expected to have a below average retirement rate.

Table 6: Top 10 Occupations with the Largest Number of Retirements, 2017-2026
NOC Occupations Total Retirements Retirement Rate
0621 Retail and wholesale trade managers 96,600 3.1%
6421 Retail salespersons 82,800 1.5%
1221 Administrative officers 74,800 3.0%
3012 Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses 68,600 1.9%
3413* Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates; Other assisting occupations in support of health services 68,100 2.0%
7511 Transport truck drivers 68,000 2.1%
6731 Light duty cleaners 62,500 2.5%
6733 Janitors, caretakers and building superintendents 49,300 2.4%
6411 Sales and account representatives – wholesale trade 57,600 2.0%
1411 General office support workers 56,100 4.1%

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 2016.

Source: ESDC 2017 COPS Projections.

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

Table 7: Top 10 Occupations with the Highest Retirement Rates, 2017-2026
NOC Occupations Total Retirements Retirement Rate
1513 Couriers, messengers and door-to-door distributors 11,300 5.2%
0430* Managers in public protection services 2,100 5.1%
0010* Legislators and senior management 22,100 4.4%
0422 School principals and administrators of elementary and secondary education 10,600 4.2%
1411 General office support workers 56,100 4.1%
0421 Administrators - post-secondary education and vocational training 5,600 4.1%
9432 Pulp mill machine operators 5,500 4.1%
1511 Mail, postal and related workers 12,500 4.0%
9441 Textile fibre and yarn, hide and pelt processing machine operators and workers 2,600 3.9%
0311 Managers in health care 11,400 3.8%

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: ESDC 2017 COPS Projections.

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

Table 8: Top 10 Occupations with the Lowest Retirement Rates, 2017-2026
NOC Occupations Total Retirements Retirement Rate
6511 Maîtres d'hôtel and hosts/hostesses 2,700 0.4%
4012 Post-secondary teaching and research assistants 4,000 0.5%
6512 Bartenders 2,800 0.6%
3213 Animal health technologists and veterinary technicians 1,300 0.7%
6513 Food and beverage servers 13,600 0.7%
5250* Athletes, coaches, referees and related occupations 10,800 0.7%
5222* Film/video camera operator; Graphic arts technicians; Broadcast technicians; Audio/video recording technicians; Other tech. / co-ordating occupations in motion picture broadcasting, arts; Support occupations in motion pict.ure, broadcasting, photography and the performing arts 3,700 0.7%
6711 Food counter attendants, kitchen helpers and related support occs. 29,700 0.8%
5241 Graphic designers and illustrators 6,900 0.8%
8410 Underground mine service and support workers / oil and gas well drilling related workers and service operators 900 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: ESDC 2017 COPS Projections.

Total Job Openings

Figure 12 shows the total job openings from expansion demand and replacement demand over the periods 1997 to 2006, 2007 to 2016 and 2017 to 2026. This figure shows that replacement demand is projected to represent nearly three quarters of all projected job openings over the coming decade.

A total of 6.3 million job openings (those due to economic growth plus those due to replacement needs) are expected over the projection period 2017-2026. About 1.6 million are projected to be new positions as a result of increasing economic activity (expansion demand or employment growth), while over 4.7 million from existing positions due to replacement needs (retirements will account for 3.9 million of the 4.7 million positions being vacated).

As a result, replacement demand (mainly from retirements) is expected to represent about 74% of all projected job openings over the period 2017-2026. Over the past two decades, replacement demand generated about 57% of all job openings.

Figure 12: Job Openings from Expansion Demand and Replacement Demand over the Periods 1997-2006, 2007-2016 and 2017-2026

Bar figure showing the cumulative job openings from expansion demand and replacement demand 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 12: Job Openings from Expansion Demand and Replacement Demand over the Periods 1997-2006, 2007-2016 and 2017-2026

At the skill level, Figure 13 shows the total job openings from expansion and replacement demand by skill level over the period 2017 to 2026. At the skill level, more than two-thirds (or about 4.3 million) of the job openings are expected to be in occupations that usually require postsecondary education (university, college or vocational) or in management occupations. In fact, 76% of new jobs created by economic expansion are projected to be in occupations generally requiring postsecondary education or in management, whereas 64.6% of job openings due to replacement are in these occupational groups, for a combined average of 67.6% (around 4.3 million).

Given that 76% of all new jobs are expected to be in high-skill occupations over the period 2017-2026, the proportion of high-skill jobs in total employment will continue to rise in the coming decade. Indeed, the share of high-skill occupations out of total employment has grown from 59.0% in 2006 to 63.4% in 2016, and it is expected to reach 64.4% of employment in 2026.

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

Figure 13: 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.

Text version of Figure 13: Job Openings from Expansion and Replacement Demand by Skill Level, 2017-2026

At the more detailed occupational level, Table 9 shows the 10 occupations with the largest number of job openings over the projection period. Occupations that are projected to have the largest number of job openings are as a result of their large employment size, resulting in relatively large replacement needs. Indeed, employment in those 10 occupations (10 out of 292 occupations) accounted for about 23% of total employment in 2016. They can be summarized as follows:

Finally, women represented more than 50% of employment in 2016 in seven of these ten occupations.

Table 9: Top 10 Occupations with the Largest Number of Job Openings, 2017-2026
NOC Occupations Employment (2016) Job Openings (2017-2026)
3012 Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses 312,800 157,100
3413* Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates; Other assisting occupations in support of health services 297,300 155,400
6421 Retail salespersons 543,700 120,500
1221 Administrative officers 228,900 118,100
7511 Transport truck drivers 304,000 114,700
0621 Retail and wholesale trade managers 318,100 101,900
6731 Light duty cleaners 237,400 101,800
6411 Sales and account representatives - wholesale trade (non-technical) 273,300 101,300
4032 Elementary school and kindergarten teachers 299,000 100,300
2171 Information systems analysts and consultants 196,200 100,100

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.

To assess the size of labour demand in each occupation, the ratio of the projected number of cumulative job openings to the actual level of employment in 2016 was used. Table 10 shows the 10 occupations with the highest ratios of job openings over the projection period. According to this indicator, nine out of ten occupations with the largest ratios of job openings to employment are projected to be in management and health occupations. This is not surprising as these occupations are expected to experience strong employment growth (expansion demand) and/or have an old workforce and a low retirement age (replacement demand).

Table 10: Top 10 Occupations with the Highest Ratios of Job Openings, 2017-2026
NOC Occupations Employment (2016) Job Openings (2017-2026) over 2016 Employment
0632 Accommodation service managers 61,200 61.3%
3112 General practitioners and family physicians 69,000 60.9%
0423 Managers in social, community and correctional services 41,500 60.5%
0430* Managers in public protection services 4,000 60.0%
3011 Nursing co-ordinators and supervisors 31,100 58.8%
3111 Specialist physicians 49,500 58.8%
4151 Psychologists 29,000 56.9%
3232* Practitioners of natural healing; Massage therapists; and Other technical occupations in therapy and assessment 46,200 55.8%
1222 Executive assistants 34,000 55.0%
0112 Human resources managers 28,900 54.0%

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 2016.

Source: ESDC 2017 COPS Projections.

On the other hand, occupations that are expected to face the lowest ratios of job openings over the projection period are related to the primary sector, as well as in sales and services and office related occupations. Table 11 shows the 10 occupations with the smallest ratios of job openings over the projection period. Retirement pressures for those occupations are low as workers are generally younger. Also, employment growth for many of those occupations over the projection period is expected to be below average or negative, heavily impacted by technology advancement.

Table 11: Top 10 Occupations with the Smallest Ratios of Job Openings, 2017-2026
NOC Occupations Employment (2016) Job Openings (2017-2026) over 2016 Employment
1434* Banking, insurance and other financial clerks; Collectors 46,300 -0.2%
6621 Service station attendants 15,500 8.4%
8432 Nursery and greenhouse workers 12,200 9.0%
6512 Bartenders 42,700 9.8%
1241 Administrative assistants 204,000 10.4%
7380* Printing press operators and other trades and related occupations 23,500 11.1%
9470* Printing equipment operators and related occupations 17,500 11.4%
8440* Other workers in fishing and trapping and hunting occupations 2,700 14.8%
8611* Harvesting labourers; Aquaculture and marine harvest labourers; Logging and forestry labourers 13,000 13.8%
1422 Data entry clerks; Desktop publishing operators and related 37,500 14.1%

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 2016.

Source: ESDC 2017 COPS Projections.

Women accounted for more than 50% of the employment in 2016 in seven of the ten occupations with the largest ratios of job openings, but only in five with the lowest. This is also reflected in occupations with a substantially high concentration of female employment (where at least 80% of the employment were women in 2016).

In 2016, 42 occupations had a significantly high concentration of female workers, a number lower than the 91 with a substantially elevated proportion of males.

Total projected job openings among occupations with a significant concentration of female workers are expected to account for about 37% of their total 2016 employment. This is largely because 23 these occupations (54.8%) are projected to have ratios above the average of 35.1%. The larger employment size among these occupations, the relatively stronger job creation and their generally higher proportion of retirements, explain this. Those related to health as well as education, law and social, community and government represent the large majority of the occupations.

In comparison, job openings will represent about 34.1% of the 2016 employment among occupations with a substantially higher concentration of males. Only 31 (or 34.1%) of these occupations are expected to have above average job openings ratios. Those related to trades, transport and equipment operators, natural and applied sciences, management and manufacturing account for the majority of these occupations.

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