Canadian Occupational Projection System (COPS)

Search for Occupational Projection Summaries (2017-2026)

Note: The projections were developed for 292 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 : Social and community service workers (4212)

Occupational Outlook
BALANCE: Labour demand and labour supply are expected to be broadly in line for this occupation group over the 2017-2026 period at the national level. The section below contains more detailed information regarding the outlook for this occupational group.
Occupations in this Group
  • Social and community service workers (4212)
Skill Type
Occupations in education, law and social, community and government services
Skill Level
Occupations usually require college or vocational education or apprenticeship training.
Employment in 2016
Median Age of workers in 2016
39.4 years old
Estimated Median Age of Retirement in 2016
63 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 (2017-2026) 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 2017-2026. 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 2014-2016 period, employment in this occupational group decreased slightly. The unemployment rate marginally increased to 5.1% in 2016, which remains below the national average of 7.0%. The average hourly wage, in real terms, went somewhat down over the period of interest. Despite some signs of labour surplus in key labour market indicators, analysis of additional indicators suggested that the number of job seekers was sufficient to fill the job openings in this occupational group over the 2014-2016 period.

For Social and community service workers, over the period 2017-2026, new job openings (arising from expansion demand and replacement demand) are expected to total 51,600, while 54,500 new job seekers (arising from school leavers, immigration and mobility) are expected to be available to fill them.

As job openings and job seekers are projected to be at relatively similar levels over the 2017-2026 period, the balance between labour supply and demand seen in recent years is expected to continue over the projection period. Job openings are projected to arise from both employment growth and retirements. Given the major needs in the social services sector, job creation is projected to be above the average of all occupations, but still below the growth recorded in this occupational grouping over the 2007-2016 period. Over the projection period, employment growth in this occupation is expected to be fueled by the public's greater awareness of social issues such as population aging, mental health and violence over the projection period. However, this strong growth is projected to be dampened by the fact that demand for social and community service workers also depends on the level of public spending, which will be restrained due to budget constraints that many governments are facing. Although the number of retirements is expected to be high, the retirement rate is projected to be similar to the average for all occupations. With regard to labour supply, school leavers are expected to account for almost 90% of job seekers. This occupational grouping is very popular among school leavers, which is a reflection of the high enrolment rate in social work programs in colleges and universities. Immigration is anticipated to represent about 10% of job seekers. Finally, a number of workers are projected to seek employment in other occupations looking for career opportunities, notably as social workers (NOC 4152) or managers in social, community and correctional services (NOC 0423).

Projection of Cumulative Job Openings and Job Seekers over the Period of 2017-2026

This table contains data related to Projected Job Openings.
Level Share
Expansion Demand: 23,600 46%
Retirements: 22,700 44%
Other Replacement Demand: 2,900 6%
Emigration: 2,300 4%
Projected Job Openings: 51,600 100%
This table contains data related to Projected Job Seekers.
Level Share
School Leavers: 50,900 93%
Immigration: 7,000 13%
Other: -3,400 -6%
Projected Job Seekers: 54,500 100%
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