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 : Administrative assistants (1241)

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
  • Administrative assistants (1241)
Skill Type
Business, finance and administration occupations
Skill Level
Occupations usually require college or vocational education or apprenticeship training.
Employment in 2016
Median Age of workers in 2016
46.9 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 2014-2015 period, this occupational group experienced a drop in employment, which led, in 2015, to its lowest employment level on record. The drop in employment in recent years follows a significant decline in employment that began in the early 1990s attributable to the introduction of new technologies that significantly changed the nature of secretarial work and led to the specialization of administrative duties. The unemployment rate, however, remained stable over the same period, although at a higher level than the period before the 2008-2009 recession. In 2015, the unemployment rate was 6.4% compared to the national average of 6.9% for that year. Finally, the average hourly wage also remained mostly stable over the period. Hence, analysis of key labour market indicators suggests that the number of job seekers was sufficient to fill the job openings in this occupational group over the 2014-2015 period.

For Administrative assistants, over the period 2017-2026, new job openings (arising from expansion demand and replacement demand) are expected to total 21,200, while 17,900 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. All of the job openings are projected to arise from replacement demand, specifically the need to replace those who retire. Indeed, significant job losses are expected over the projection period, a continuation of the losses observed in the last decade. The decline in employment that began in the early 1990s is expected to continue over the projection period as technological developments and the reorganization of administrative work will continue to reduce the demand for workers in this occupational group. Retirements will thus represent almost all new job opportunities over the projection period, even though the retirement rate in this occupation is expected to be similar to the average for all occupations. With regard to labour supply, school leavers and immigrants will account for all the job seekers. Even though the number of new job seekers will be high over the 2017-2026 period, a large number of workers are expected to leave this group for similar occupations in search of better employment prospects, which will help compensate for the job losses. A significant part of the outward mobility will also be workers whose responsibilities will change or whose work will become more specialized due to technological developments, which means they will keep their job, but will be classified under a different occupational group.

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: -34,600 -163%
Retirements: 46,200 218%
Other Replacement Demand: 6,600 31%
Emigration: 2,900 14%
Projected Job Openings: 21,200 100%
This table contains data related to Projected Job Seekers.
Level Share
School Leavers: 22,600 126%
Immigration: 17,200 96%
Other: -22,000 -123%
Projected Job Seekers: 17,900 100%
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