17 Great Careers in Demand: Prepare Yourself for a Fabulous Future
Published | Last updated
You don't want to find just any job. You want to explore careers in demand so that you pick a field that has greater potential for job security and high pay. Well, guess what? That's more than possible. After all, many of the in-demand jobs in Canada for the next five years offer great earning opportunities since employers need to attract and retain quality workers due to anticipated labour shortages. And with growing retirement rates expected among the baby boomer generation (i.e., among people born between the years of about 1946 and 1965), now is an excellent time for you to set out on a new career path.
Baby boomers make up Canada's largest demographic group, and they are starting to retire. In fact, in 2018, the baby boomer generation made up almost 26 percent of the population. And by 2024, one in five Canadians will be 65 or older.1 As a result, many fantastic job opportunities could become available for younger Canadians like you who have all or most of their careers still ahead of them.
So, in order to help you identify where those career opportunities may exist, we've uncovered 17 of the top careers 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.
Total projected job openings are for the period from 2017 to 2026.2 For each career, you'll also discover the highest-demand provinces and territories (up to 2020), the median pay, and the highest-paying provinces based on 2016-2017 wage data.3
When 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. As a result, it's expected that more and more nurses who are a part of that generation will soon be retiring from their jobs. In 2016, the median age of registered nurses (RNs) in Canada was almost 42. So 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 median retirement age was 62 in 2016.)2
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 than those in the younger generations. So, as baby boomers continue to age, it's expected that the demand for medical care will grow, resulting in a number of new jobs. In fact, from 2017 to 2026, there could be a shortage of about 13,200 registered nurses across the country.2
RNs are needed in every province and territory. For example, Ontario nursing associations report that hospitals in that province face about 10,000 vacancies for nursing positions.4 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. So this job is certainly an option that can offer a lot of opportunity in almost every corner of the country.
Total job openings—157,100
Highest-demand provinces and territories—Good for most except in Nunavut, Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, where demand is fair
Median hourly wage—$37
Highest-paying provinces and territories—Nunavut, Northwest Territories, and the Yukon
Typical entry-level education—Bachelor's degree and registration with a provincial or territorial regulatory authority
The Canadian economy relies on truck drivers, but there may not be enough young adults entering the trucking industry in order to fill the gap from retiring workers. In 2016, the median age of transport truck drivers was almost 46 years old. So approximately half of the truck-driving workforce is between the age of 46 and 65. That means a substantial number of workers will be retiring in the coming decades. It's why the country could be short almost 11,500 truckers during the period from 2017 to 2026.2
Truck driving is near the top of the list for careers in demand in BC. From 2018 to 2028, it's estimated that the province could have about 9,170 truck driver job openings.5 And that's just one province. Canada is a large country. 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.
All Canadians' lives are affected by truck drivers. However, some areas depend on truck drivers much more than others. For example, some parts of the country are very remote. Residents in those areas often count on truck drivers to bring them important products like food and clothing. So, by becoming a truck driver, you can take on an essential role in helping to keep the country thriving and connected.
Total job openings—114,700
Highest-demand provinces and territories—PEI, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec, and the Yukon
Median hourly wage—$21
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
Instructing at the college and vocational level is another one of the careers in demand in Canada thanks, in large part, to growing retirement rates among the current workforce. According to 2016 data, half of the workforce is over the age of 46, and many instructors retire around 64 years old. During the 2017-to-2026 period, the country could be short about 3,500 instructors.2 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 as long as you have extensive and relevant industry experience. So it's important to identify your career goals early on to be sure that you are pursuing the best education and work experience opportunities.
Total job openings—42,600
Highest-demand provinces and territories—BC, Northwest Territories, Quebec, and the Yukon
Median hourly wage—$36.66
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
In an expanding global marketplace that's becoming increasingly competitive, it's more important than ever for businesses to be lean and productive. In order 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.
The number of retirements in this sector is expected to be higher than average through 2026.2 That's great news for someone like you who would like to work as a business management consultant. And there are several ways that you can prepare to do so. Many people start out 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. So you really could have a lot of options.
Total job openings—39,900
Highest-demand provinces and territories—BC, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, PEI, Quebec, and Saskatchewan
Median hourly wage—$36.06
Highest-paying provinces and territories—Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario
Typical entry-level education—Business-related diploma or bachelor's degree, combined with relevant industry experience
Welding is one of the jobs in high demand, largely due to new job growth rather than retirement rates. After all, the welding workforce is a little younger than many others. (The median age of welders in 2016 was almost 39 years old.)2 So the retirement rate in welding isn't quite as high as in many other career fields.
Due to ongoing advancements in the manufacturing sector, welders who have 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.
Total job openings—24,000
Highest-demand provinces and territories—Fair demand in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, PEI, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, and BC
Median hourly wage—$24.75
Highest-paying provinces and territories—Alberta, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Saskatchewan
Typical entry-level education—Completion of vocational training or an apprenticeship program; trade certification may also be required
Licensed practical nursing is up near the top of the list of the most in-demand jobs in the country—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. In fact, from 2017 to 2026, about 4,300 LPN jobs could go unfilled across the country due to a labour shortage.2 So, if you want to make a difference and play an important role in the delivery of high-quality health care, then becoming an LPN could be an incredible opportunity.
Total job openings—32,400
Highest-demand provinces and territories—BC, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, PEI, Quebec, and Alberta
Median hourly wage—$26
Highest-paying provinces and territories—Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Manitoba
Typical entry-level education—Diploma and registration with a provincial or territorial regulatory authority
Overall, 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 in order 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 take on a critical role that helps people live more comfortably, improve or maintain their mobility, or even extend the time in which they are able to live more independently. It's a good vocational field to consider because occupational and physiotherapy assisting is regarded as one of the future careers in demand. As the population ages, the need for such services is only expected to increase.
(Note that, when looking at total job openings, occupational and physiotherapy assistants are included in a larger occupational category that includes other therapeutic assistants such as audiology technicians, massage therapists, and speech therapy aides.)
Total job openings—25,800
Highest-demand provinces and territories—BC and Saskatchewan
Median hourly wage—$23
Highest-paying provinces and territories—BC, Quebec, and Alberta
Are you trying to figure out what technical careers are in demand? Well, software engineering and design is definitely one of them. Almost 21,000 jobs are expected to be created in software engineering between 2017 and 2026.2 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 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 a lot of potential opportunities in a high-tech career related to the design and development of software systems and applications.
Total job openings—20,700
Highest-demand provinces and territories—Saskatchewan, PEI, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Quebec
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. The aerospace engineering labour pool could be short an incredible 3,900 workers during the period from 2017 to 2026.2 Along with industry growth, jobs could also open up 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. So now may 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.
Total job openings—17,000
Highest-demand provinces and territories—Nova Scotia and Quebec
Median hourly wage—$43.23
Highest-paying provinces and territories—Quebec, Ontario, and BC
Typical entry-level education—Bachelor's degree and possibly provincial or territorial licensing
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.2 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.
Total job openings—14,500 (includes power system electricians)
Highest-demand provinces and territories—Nova Scotia
Median hourly wage—$33.16
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 the country. As of 2016, the median age of pilots was almost 45 years old. Since many workers retire by the age of 61, it's expected that a number of jobs will soon become available. From 2017 to 2026, up to 4,500 positions may not get filled due to a lack of skilled workers.2 (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.
(Note that, when looking at total job openings, pilots are categorized in a larger air transportation occupational group that includes engineers and officers from the marine and rail sectors.)
Total job openings—14,200
Highest-demand provinces and territories—BC, Alberta, Nunavut, Quebec, and the Yukon
Median hourly wage—$37.50
Highest-paying provinces and territories—Ontario, Quebec, and Alberta
Typical entry-level education—Completion of pilot training; must also obtain appropriate pilot licensing
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. In fact, 43 percent of the 15,000 job openings for pharmacists between 2017 and 2026 will come from retirements.3
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.
Total job openings—15,000
Highest-demand provinces and territories—PEI, New Brunswick, Manitoba, Alberta, BC, and Nunavut
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
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. In fact, government projections show that as many as 1,100 jobs may go unfilled between 2017 and 2026 due to a shortage of trained psychologists.3
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.
Total job openings—16,500
Highest-demand provinces and territories—Good in all provinces except Newfoundland and Labrador, where it is fair. (Demand has not been determined in the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut.)
Median hourly wage—$39.56
Highest-paying provinces and territories—Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Quebec
Typical entry-level education—Master's or doctoral degree
As factories and other industrial facilities update and retrofit their piping systems, start new industrial construction projects, and upgrade their sprinkler systems, steamfitters and pipefitters should continue to enjoy 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 may 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.
Total job openings—7,100
Highest-demand provinces and territories—Fair demand in Nova Scotia, Ontario, New Brunswick, Manitoba, and BC
Median hourly wage—$36
Highest-paying provinces and territories—Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Manitoba
Typical entry-level education— Completion of vocational training or an apprenticeship program; trade certification may also be required
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.6 And considering that half of the construction estimator workforce is over the age of 43 and many estimators retire by the time they are 64 years old, it's no wonder that 4,200 jobs could become available due to retirements from 2017 to 2026.2
Companies are recognizing the growing importance of having effective cost controls in place in order to manage their bottom lines. And that's exactly what construction estimators help them do. By taking on one of the high-demand professions in Canada, 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.
Total job openings—6,400
Highest-demand provinces and territories—BC, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec
Median hourly wage—$29.81
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
The animal health care workforce is a little younger than many others. In 2016, the median age of animal health workers was about 33 years old.2 So 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 2017 alone, Canadians collectively spent more than $8.2 billion on their pets.7 So now may be an excellent time for you to join the animal care field and put your passion for animals to work.
Total job openings—5,500
Highest-demand provinces and territories—Fair in all provinces and territories for which forecasts are available
Median hourly wage—$17.31
Highest-paying provinces and territories—Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba
Typical entry-level education—Diploma; registration with a national, provincial, or territorial association may be required
17. Dispensing Optician
A 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. And that could lead to a labour shortage of 600 dispensing opticians.2
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.
Total job openings—5,700
Highest-demand provinces and territories—Manitoba, Quebec, and BC
Median hourly wage—$24.00
Highest-paying provinces and territories—Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, and Manitoba
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 training. So have all of your important education questions answered by contacting a school near you. To get started, simply enter your zip code into the program finder below!