Canadian Occupational Projection System (COPS)

Search for Occupational Projection Summaries (2019-2028)

The current COPS projections were completed in 2019, well before the 2020 COVID-19 outbreak that resulted in exceptional and abrupt economic and labour market disruptions in Canada as well as abroad. However, the focus of the COPS projections is on long-term trends in occupational labour markets, not on short-term developments. At the moment, these long-term trends are not expected to be affected markedly by the COVID-19 outbreak as its impacts are generally foreseen to be temporary.

Note: The projections were developed for 293 occupational groupings that cover the entire workforce, using the 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC). For additional information on these groupings, please visit the COPS Occupational Groupings' Definition. For more information about the methodology used to assess each occupation, please click here.

Search Result : Welders and related machine operators (7237)

Occupational Outlook
SHORTAGE: This occupational group is expected to face labour shortage conditions over the period of 2019-2028 at the national level. The section below contains more detailed information regarding the outlook for this occupational group.
Occupations in this Group
  • Welders and related machine operators (7237)
Skill Type
Trades, transport and equipment operators and related occupations
Skill Level
Occupations usually require college or vocational education or apprenticeship training.
Employment in 2018
87,900
Median Age of workers in 2018
39.9 years old
Estimated Median Age of Retirement in 2018
64 years old

In order to determine the expected outlook of an occupation, the magnitude of the difference between the projected total numbers of new job seekers and job openings over the whole projection period (2019-2028) is analyzed in conjunction with an assessment of labour market conditions in recent years. The intention is to determine if recent labour market conditions (surplus, balance or shortage) are expected to persist or change over the period 2019-2028. For instance, if the analysis of key labour market indicators suggests that the number of job seekers was insufficient to fill the job openings (a shortage of workers) in an occupational group in recent years, the projections are used to assess if this situation will continue over the projection period or if the occupation will move towards balanced conditions.

Over the 2016-2018 period, employment in this occupational group declined. However, these job losses seem to be a result of lack of labour. In fact, the number of jobless workers declined substantially, by more than half, leading to a decline in the occupation's unemployment rate to reach a near historical low of 7.5% in 2018. In addition, demand has increased, as evidenced by the surge of unfilled vacancies, which almost doubled since 2016. Indeed, the job vacancy rate (number of job vacancies as a proportion of the total demand, that is, job vacancies plus employment) is significantly higher than the average for all occupations. Finally, all this resulted in having a substantially lower number of unemployed workers to fill vacancies. Hence, analysis of key labour market indicators suggests that the number of job openings exceeded substantially the number of job seekers in this occupational group over the 2016-2018 period.

Over the period 2019-2028, the number of job openings (arising from expansion demand and replacement demand) for Welders and related machine operators are expected to total 23,200, while the number of job seekers (arising from school leavers, immigration and mobility) is expected to total 25,100 .

As job openings and job seekers are projected to be relatively similar over the 2019-2028 period, the labour shortage conditions seen in recent years are expected to continue over the projection period. Employment growth and retirements are projected to account for most of the job openings over the projection period. Employment growth is expected to be below the average growth for all occupations, accounting for only about 16% of all new job openings in the occupation. Growth in this occupational group is strongly dependent on the economic activity in the construction and some manufacturing industries. Workers that are employed by the construction industry can expect less robust non-residential investment than in the past, particularly in the energy sectors. On the positive side, workers could benefit from the federal government's infrastructure program ($186 billion over 12 years), which is expected to support the construction of public engineering structures and institutional buildings, which includes investment on transportation and public transit systems. For those in the manufacturing industry, a return to growth will create new opportunities in this occupation. The Canadian dollar is expected to remain competitive over the next few years, keeping foreign demand for fabricated metal products strong. Capacity constraints of Canadian manufacturers are expected to lead to a growing need to invest in machinery and equipment over the next 10 years, and this will continue to support demand for fabricated metal products. Additionally, ageing infrastructure will drive the need for maintenance and/or replacement demand of older facilities. Retirements are expected to represent about two-thirds of these job openings, a proportion that is higher than that for other occupations (about 59% of job openings). Workers in this occupational group are generally younger than the average and tend to retire at a later age than those in other occupations, resulting in a retirement rate that is substantially below the average rate for all occupations.

With regard to labour supply, most of the job seekers are expected to come from the school system over the projection period, largely from apprenticeship programs. New immigrants are also expected to account for a large number of new job seekers. However, a sizeable number of workers, representing almost half of job seekers, are projected to look for newer opportunities in other occupations, for example as contractors and supervisors in machining, metal forming, shaping and erecting trades and related occupations, or as equipment operators.

Projection of Cumulative Job Openings and Job Seekers over the Period of 2019-2028

This table contains data related to Projected Job Openings.
Level Share
Expansion Demand: 3,800 16%
Retirements: 15,400 66%
Other Replacement Demand: 2,000 9%
Emigration: 2,000 9%
Projected Job Openings: 23,200 100%
This table contains data related to Projected Job Seekers.
Level Share
School Leavers: 36,100 144%
Immigration: 9,500 38%
Other: -20,400 -81%
Projected Job Seekers: 25,100 100%
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