Thinkopolis Report Reveals Analysis of Labour Market

It may be time to reconsider your career choices and even question that four-year arts degree (while this isn’t news, there’s now even more quantifiable evidence to support the notion). Yesterday, Workopolis announced the introduction of its first Thinkoplis report, providing an expert analysis of the Canadian labour market.

Highlighting a different theme with each release, this introductory Thinkopolis report and infographic focused on the skilled trades and labour sector, currently a hot topic for Canadian employment overall. By combining the Labour Force Survey with online job posting data and Workopolis’ own research, it revealed where in particular these workers are in demand, which skills are the most sought after, and how Canadians feel about relocating to where the jobs are.

Skilled Trades: An Enticing Option?
The demand for professionals in the skilled trades in particular has grown steadily over the past year. This shortage of workers is leading to increased wages and more job availability for a wide variety of trades. Canadian business leaders agree there is a general shortage of skilled workers, and it stands to get worse as the baby boomer generation retires. We can see that. After all, unlike our parents’ generation, today’s YPs are opting for prestige, influence, experience and following passion over a higher salary, benefits and stability – even if it means seeing their bank statement go into red or having to take out a second mortgage to launch a new start-up or go back to school. 

Canada is experiencing nearly double the national average unemployment rate, and is entering a market full of more experienced candidates looking to transition out of industries in decline. Naturally, governments are jumping to action to close Canada’s skills gap by encouraging people to consider the trades as a career path. We admit, sometimes the possibility of a steady, high-paying job can sound like an enticing option for a cohort of young workers entering the job market, even if they are deemed “blue collar.” Furthermore, a trades job may be a solution for the young entrepreneur who wants to have a day job that they don’t have to take home with them, so that they may focus on their entrepreneurial endeavours in their free time.


Canadians and Mobility
Which trades are in the most demand? Aspiring construction workers, vehicle repair and maintenance people, electricians and heavy machinery operators, plumbers and pipefitters, welders and ironworkers, carpenters and landscapers. The catch? You may have to go where the work is. This could mean anything from the oil rigs in Alberta or off the coast of Newfoundland to climbing the skyscrapers and condos of Toronto. However, not all of today’s workers show the same enthusiasm for relocating. A recent Workopolis survey shows that only 40 per cent of Canadians are interested in relocating for new opportunities, while 46 per cent indicated they would rather stay where they are.

Skilled Trades & Labour Postings: A Cross-Country Look
Analysis of job search behaviour on Workopolis shows that Canadians from Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick and the Territories are the most likely to look for jobs outside their own province. People from Alberta, British Columbia, and Manitoba are the least likely. When looking at the total number of jobs available in each province, the highest percentage of trades jobs exist in the prairies and in Newfoundland, places where the economies are largely resource-based. Oil and potash reserves mean there is consistent demand for skilled tradespeople, and an ongoing economic boom to fuel construction of new infrastructure and housing. Overall, Ontario has an ample supply of opportunities for tradespeople, but the percentage of trades jobs is lower than other provinces, as the economy is more diversified.   

Top 10 Growing Job Categories
It’s not just the skilled trades that have seen an increase in demand. The findings reveal that other fields are hiring, in everything from health and arts and culture to management and hospitality workers. Here are the top ten: 

Arts and culture
Sales and service

Whatever the case, the report got us thinking about its relevance for YPs and aspiring YPs. Is there still a stigma surrounding blue collar jobs, even when they offer more stability and income than other commonly held YP jobs? Should we be looking toward the trades to close the gap on unemployment? Stay tuned for YP reactions to whether they would opt for a job in the trades if it meant an increase in pay and stability.