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 : Computer programmers and interactive media developers (2174)

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
  • Computer programmers and interactive media developers (2174)
Skill Type
Natural and applied sciences and related occupations
Skill Level
Occupations usually require university education.
Employment in 2018
167,900
Median Age of workers in 2018
38.9 years old
Estimated Median Age of Retirement in 2018
61 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 increased at a pace that was higher than the average of all occupations. The unemployment rate increased slightly, but remained around its own historical low norms and well below the national average in 2018. Finally, as the number of job vacancies increased significantly and the number of unemployed workers remained somewhat stable, the number of unemployed workers per job vacancy was substantially below the national average over the same period. Hence, the 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 Computer programmers and interactive media developers are expected to total 64,200, while the number of job seekers (arising from school leavers, immigration and mobility) is expected to total 75,800 .

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. Retirements and job growth are expected to account for the majority of job openings. Employment is projected to grow at a rate higher than the national average. As a result, job creation will represent half of all openings, a proportion that is above the average of all occupations (about 27% of openings). Most of these workers are employed in the industries of computer systems design and related services; finance, insurance, real estate and leasing services; and telecommunications, information and culture services industries. Demand for workers in this occupation is expected to be supported by technological changes. Indeed, rapid innovation will continue, inducing Canadian firms to adapt quickly and upgrade their IT infrastructure to remain digitally safe and competitive. In addition, new technologies such as artificial intelligence, 3D printing and Blockchain will continue to emerge, thereby supporting the demand for workers in this occupation. The stronger penetration of newer technologies in the telecommunications, information and culture services industry such as virtual and augmented reality as well as 5G mobile will also provide job opportunities for computer programmers and interactive media developers. Retirements will also account for a significant proportion of job openings (about 39%). Most workers in this occupational group are younger than average, but retire at a similar age than workers in other occupations. Therefore, the share of workers who are retiring and who will need to be replaced is expected to be lower than the average.

With regard to labour supply, the number of school leavers in computer science is projected to continue to be high since this field of study remains attractive to young people. Immigration will continue to be a major contributor to job seekers, as this occupational group is very popular among newcomers. The skills typically required in this occupation are usually standard worldwide and not unique to the Canadian labour market. As a result, there are lower barriers for immigrants to become computer programmers and interactive media developers. In addition, foreigners in this occupational group coming from countries with a free trade agreement with Canada might be eligible to work in Canada, simplifying their entry and permanency in the country. Conversely, a significant number of workers are expected to leave this occupation for other related occupations, in particular to seek jobs in information and technology related occupations such as software engineers and designers (2173) and user support technicians (NOC 2282). As a result, the shortage conditions observed in recent years is not expected to disappear over the projection period.

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: 32,100 50%
Retirements: 24,700 38%
Other Replacement Demand: 3,300 5%
Emigration: 4,000 6%
Projected Job Openings: 64,200 100%
This table contains data related to Projected Job Seekers.
Level Share
School Leavers: 71,000 94%
Immigration: 23,600 31%
Other: -18,800 -25%
Projected Job Seekers: 75,800 100%
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