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17 High-Demand Jobs in Canada

By Publisher
| Last Updated December 9, 2020

You don't want to find just any job.

You want to explore high-demand jobs in Canada so that you pick a field that has greater potential for job security and high pay.

Thankfully, many of the careers in demand for the next five years offer great earning opportunities since employers will need quality workers due to labour shortages. And with growing retirement rates expected among the baby boomer generation (i.e., born between 1946 and 1965).

So, to help you identify where those career opportunities may exist, we've uncovered 17 of the top jobs in demand in Canada for the next few years. The career areas listed below not only have a high number of expected job openings; they also have an expected shortage of qualified workers to fill them.

Salary, employment outlook, and retirement age information is current as of February 27, 2020 and is based on data from the Government of Canada's Job Bank.


17 High-Demand Jobs in Canada

1. Registered Nurse

Smiling nurseWhen it comes to the most-needed jobs in Canada, nursing may very well top the list. Two major factors are driving the demand for more nurses. The first one is that baby boomers are reaching retirement age. Roughly half of the RN workforce is between about 42 and 65 years old. Plus, a substantial number of RNs retire before the age of 65. (The average retirement age was 62 in 2016.)

The second major factor that's driving nursing demand is Canada's overall aging population. Seniors and elderly people typically have higher health care needs. So, as baby boomers continue to age, it's expected that the demand for medical care will grow, resulting in new jobs.

Ontario nursing associations report that hospitals in the province face about 10,000 vacancies for nursing positions. RNs are also increasingly important in Canada's small, rural towns and remote communities. In areas where there is no or limited access to general physicians and family doctors, RNs often take on roles as primary care providers.

  • Highest-demand provinces and territories: All except Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador, where demand is fair
  • Median hourly wage: $37.60
  • Highest-paying provinces and territories: Nunavut, Northwest Territories, and Yukon
  • Typical entry-level education: Bachelor's degree and registration with a provincial or territorial regulatory authority

2. Truck Driver

The Canadian economy relies on truck drivers, but there may not be enough young adults entering the trucking industry to fill the gap from retiring workers. Roughly half of the truck-driving workforce is between the age of 46 and 65, so many workers will be retiring in the coming decades.

Truck driving is near the top of the list for careers in demand in BC. WorkBC predicts that the province could have about 13,336 truck driver job openings from 2019 to 2029. And that's just one province. Dedicated transport truck drivers are needed almost everywhere to haul commercial goods from coast to coast. It's one of the most important jobs in demand in Canada.

Some areas depend on truck drivers much more than others. For example, residents of remote areas often count on truck drivers to bring them important products like food and clothing.

  • Highest-demand provinces and territories: PEI, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec, BC, and Yukon
  • Median hourly wage: $21.67
  • Highest-paying provinces and territories: Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Alberta
  • Typical entry-level education: Completion of truck driver training; must also obtain appropriate licensing and endorsements

3. College or Vocational Instructor

Teaching at the college and vocational level is another one of the careers in demand in Canada thanks, in large part, to growing retirement rates. During the 2017-to-2026 period, the country could be short about 3,500 instructors. And that number could grow as provincial and federal governments continue to bolster the post-secondary system.

College and vocational instructors teach at public and private institutions that provide academic, technical, and vocational programs. You could teach anything from beauty to criminal justice to culinary arts to design.

You'll find that the education and experience requirements to be a teacher will vary greatly depending on the work setting. An academic-focused institution will likely require you to have a master's degree, whereas a vocational-focused institution may accept a diploma or bachelor's degree if you have extensive and relevant industry experience.

  • Highest-demand provinces and territories: Ontario, Quebec, and BC
  • Median hourly wage: $37.93
  • Highest-paying provinces and territories: Nunavut, Northwest Territories, and Alberta
  • Typical entry-level education: Ranges from diploma (combined with related industry experience) to master's degree

4. Business Management Consultant

In an expanding global marketplace that's becoming increasingly competitive, it's more important than ever for businesses to be lean and productive. To achieve that goal, businesses often hire management consultants to help them. Due to an expected increase in the demand for professional consulting services, combined with workers retiring and transitioning to other positions, management consulting is one of the top jobs in demand in Canada.

Many people start preparing by earning a business-related degree and then gain experience by working in a variety of different industries and positions. But management consultants can also benefit from having training in areas like technology or travel, tourism, and hospitality, depending on the areas in which they want to specialize.

  • Highest-demand provinces and territories: BC, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, PEI, Quebec, and Saskatchewan
  • Median hourly wage: $36.55
  • Highest-paying provinces and territories: Alberta, Saskatchewan, and BC
  • Typical entry-level education: Business-related diploma or bachelor's degree, combined with relevant industry experience

5. Welder

Welding is one of the jobs in high demand, largely due to new job growth rather than retirement rates. The welding workforce is a little younger than many others, so the current retirement rate in welding isn't as high as in many other career fields.

Due to ongoing advancements in the manufacturing sector, welders with high-level skills are likely to enjoy better job opportunities than those with only basic abilities. Welders who possess fitting skills can use a variety of techniques (like FCAW, GMAW, GTAW, and SMAW) and can read plans and blueprints are expected to be in the highest demand.

  • Highest-demand provinces and territories: BC and PEI
  • Median hourly wage: $25.00
  • Highest-paying provinces and territories: Alberta, Newfoundland and Labrador, and BC
  • Typical entry-level education: Completion of vocational training or an apprenticeship program; trade certification may also be required

6. Licensed Practical Nurse

Licensed practical nursing is among the most in-demand jobs in Canada for the same reasons as registered nursing. An aging population is placing more demands on the health care system, and a retiring workforce is creating a need to replace workers.

Although the licensed practical nurse (LPN) workforce is younger than the RN one, a growing number of retirements is still expected in the coming years.

  • Highest-demand provinces and territories: BC, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI, Quebec, and Alberta
  • Median hourly wage: $26.30
  • Highest-paying provinces and territories: Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Manitoba
  • Typical entry-level education: Diploma and registration with a provincial or territorial regulatory authority

7. Occupational or Physiotherapy Assistant

Careers in Demand in CanadaOverall, the senior and elderly population is living longer. And many of those Canadians want to enjoy healthy lifestyles for as long as possible. Occupational and physiotherapy assistants often play a part in making that happen. Additionally, hospitals have moved toward outpatient care models to free up beds, so they frequently offer occupational therapy and physiotherapy services as a part of that strategy.

Occupational therapists, physiotherapists, and their assistants perform important work that helps people manage movement, mobility, and life-skills issues resulting from injuries, diseases, and other physical or mental conditions. You could help people live more comfortably, improve their mobility, or even extend the time they can live more independently. It's a good vocational field to consider because occupational therapy and physiotherapy assisting are regarded as future careers in demand. As the population ages, the need for such services is only expected to increase.

  • Highest-demand provinces and territories: New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta, BC, and Saskatchewan
  • Median hourly wage: $23
  • Highest-paying provinces and territories: Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Alberta
  • Typical entry-level education: Diploma

8. Software Engineer or Designer

Software engineering and software design are some of the top technical careers in demand. Almost 21,000 jobs are expected to be created in software engineering between 2017 and 2026. Some of those openings will be due to the need to replace workers who move into management, sales, or higher-level engineering positions. But most of them will be due to new job creation.

Anticipated growth in the computer, telecommunications, and mobile technology sectors is expected to fuel the demand for software engineers and developers. Additionally, growth in sectors like machinery and equipment manufacturing could further drive the demand. As a result, you may be able to pursue many potential opportunities in a high-tech career related to the design and development of software systems and applications.

  • Highest-demand provinces and territories: Saskatchewan, PEI, New Brunswick, Quebec, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and BC
  • Median hourly wage: $43.27
  • Highest-paying provinces and territories: Alberta, Ontario, and Manitoba
  • Typical entry-level education: Bachelor's degree

9. Aerospace Engineer

If you are searching for high-paying careers in demand, then aerospace engineering could be what you're looking for. Along with industry growth, jobs could also open due to workers retiring, being promoted, and moving on to other positions.

As Canada's fleets of aircraft age and tighter environmental and security regulations come into place, it's expected that the demand for updated aircraft will increase. This could be a great time for you to join the aerospace engineering industry. As the brains behind aerospace systems, vehicles, and their components, you could have responsibilities related to research, design, development, installation, testing, and maintenance.

  • Highest-demand provinces and territories: Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Quebec
  • Median hourly wage: $39.42
  • Highest-paying provinces and territories: Quebec, Ontario, and Nova Scotia
  • Typical entry-level education: Bachelor's degree and possibly provincial or territorial licensing

10. Industrial Electrician

Electricians enjoy some of the best jobs in the skilled trades. Industrial electricians, in particular, are in high demand. In fact, from 2017 to 2026, up to 1,200 industrial electrician jobs could go unfilled because of a lack of qualified workers. That's due to a combination of workers retiring, taking promotions, and moving on to other electrician positions and different careers.

As mining, gas operations, and manufacturing become more automated, more industries rely on industrial electricians. That could be beneficial for people like you who want to begin industrial electrician careers. You can prepare to take on the important job of installing, testing, maintaining, and repairing industrial machines and equipment.

  • Highest-demand provinces and territories: Nova Scotia, PEI, and Ontario
  • Median hourly wage: $33.19
  • Highest-paying provinces and territories: Saskatchewan, Alberta, and BC
  • Typical entry-level education: Completion of vocational training or an apprenticeship program; trade certification may also be required

11. Aircraft Pilot

Join the ranks of air pilots in Canada who enjoy some of the highest-paying, in-demand jobs in Canada for the future. From 2017 to 2026, up to 4,500 positions may not get filled due to a lack of skilled workers. (That estimate includes pilots as well as air traffic, marine, and railway controllers.)

There are many opportunities to work as a pilot in Canada. Many pilots work for small, medium, and large commercial airlines flying domestically and internationally. Others choose to work as helicopter pilots. And some work as bush pilots, transporting people and delivering goods to Canada's most remote locations. So, aside from private and commercial airlines, there are also opportunities available in the adventure travel, mining, logging, firefighting, and medical sectors.

  • Highest-demand provinces and territories: Quebec, Manitoba, Alberta, BC, and Yukon
  • Median hourly wage: $38.81
  • Typical entry-level education: Completion of pilot training; must also obtain appropriate pilot licensing

12. Pharmacist

As the aging population requires more pharmaceutical help to stay healthy, and an increasing number of retail stores offer pharmacy services (many on a 24-hour basis), the demand for qualified pharmacists in Canada will continue to grow. Another factor driving demand is the fact that many workers in this field are set to retire in the coming years.

Pharmacists are drug experts who play a critical role in patient education. They supervise the dispensing of medications and counsel patients on the use of each drug. Their role has expanded in recent years, with some provinces allowing pharmacists to renew prescriptions or even prescribe certain medications. This is a field with enormous potential in Canada over the next few years.

  • Highest-demand provinces and territories: New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and BC
  • Median hourly wage: $50.31
  • Highest-paying provinces and territories: Quebec, Alberta, and Manitoba
  • Typical entry-level education: Bachelor's degree and registration with a provincial or territorial regulatory authority

13. Psychologist

With more attention being paid to issues of mental health and wellness in all sectors of the population, psychologists will have one of the most in-demand jobs in Canada for the next five years.

By entering this in-demand career, you could offer counselling and therapy to people struggling with depression, anxiety, and other chronic neurological conditions. You could also choose from a wide range of specialties, including child psychology, behavioural psychology, or cognitive psychology.

  • Highest-demand provinces and territories: PEI, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and BC
  • Median hourly wage: $40.00
  • Highest-paying provinces and territories: Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Nova Scotia
  • Typical entry-level education: Master's or doctoral degree

14. Steamfitter or Pipefitter

Factories and other industrial facilities update and retrofit their piping systems, start new industrial construction projects, and upgrade their sprinkler systems. These ongoing projects ensure steamfitting and pipefitting continue to be in-demand jobs. Some employers report that it's difficult to find qualified workers right now. Plus, it's expected that the ongoing retirements of steamfitters and pipefitters will add to the hiring difficulties already being experienced.

Now could be an ideal time for you to learn the trade so that you can work with sprinkler systems and piping systems that carry all kinds of substances, including chemicals, fuel, steam, and water. Your responsibilities could include laying out, fabricating, assembling, maintaining, troubleshooting, and repairing a variety of systems.

  • Highest-demand provinces and territories: Ontario
  • Median hourly wage: $36
  • Highest-paying provinces and territories: Saskatchewan, Alberta, and PEI
  • Typical entry-level education: Completion of vocational training or an apprenticeship program; trade certification may also be required

15. Construction Estimator

BuildForce Canada predicts that although the record growth of recent years may slow down, new construction projects in Canada are expected to continue at a moderate rate across the country. That means continued opportunities for cost estimators.

Companies are recognizing the growing importance of having effective cost controls in place to manage their bottom lines. And that's what construction estimators help them do. By taking on one of Canada's high-demand professions, you can assess costs and prepare estimates and budgets for a variety of construction projects related to areas like architectural, electrical, mechanical, structural, and civil engineering.

  • Highest-demand provinces and territories: BC, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Quebec
  • Median hourly wage: $31.25
  • Highest-paying provinces and territories: BC, Alberta, and Saskatchewan
  • Typical entry-level education: Certificate or diploma; Canadian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (CIQS) certification may be required

16. Veterinary Technician or Assistant

Careers in Demand in CanadaThe animal health care workforce is a little younger than many others. In 2016, the median age of animal health workers was 33 years old. A lot of employment growth in the field will be due to new job creation in addition to a small number of workers retiring and others leaving for different positions.

People love their pets. Canadians are willing to spend more money on them than ever before in order to ensure that they are healthy and well cared for. In 2018 alone, Canadians collectively spent more than $8.8 billion on their pets. So now may be an excellent time for you to join the animal care field and put your passion for animals to work.

  • Highest-demand provinces and territories: Quebec, Ontario, and BC
  • Median hourly wage: $18
  • Highest-paying provinces and territories: Alberta, PEI, and Manitoba
  • Typical entry-level education: Diploma; registration with a national, provincial, or territorial association may be required

17. Dispensing Optician

Growing demand for optical products has directly resulted in an increased need for dispensing opticians. Plus, the marketplace is highly competitive, so optometrists and optical clinics and stores find it important to have knowledgeable and friendly dispensing opticians who can help them attract and retain customers. It's also anticipated that, because of a growing and aging population, the demand for eyewear will increase.

As a dispensing optician, you could work in eye care offices, clinics, and retail outlets while assisting clients with their prescription eyewear and contact lenses. Your duties may include selecting, ordering, and fitting those products as well as mounting lenses into frames. Such tasks were often assigned to administrative assistants in the past, but growing recognition of the importance of properly trained dispensing opticians has changed that, which has helped increase the demand.

  • Highest-demand provinces and territories: Nova Scotia, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and BC
  • Median hourly wage: $24.00
  • Highest-paying provinces and territories: Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia
  • Typical entry-level education: Diploma and licensing from a provincial or territorial regulatory body

Start Preparing to Pursue High-Demand Jobs in Canada

Now that you have discovered some of the in-demand jobs in Canada for the next five years, you may be thinking about what kind of training you need to start preparing for a job that you'll love. For many of the careers listed above, you may be surprised at how quickly you can complete your program. So have all of your important education questions answered by contacting a school near you. To get started, simply enter your postal code into the program finder below!