Infographic: Where are all the jobs?

Amanda Shendruk looks at 10-year projections and points to some clues


Much has been written about the plight of the recent university graduate. She is over-educated, underemployed, and staring down an uncertain job market; the promise of a stable position was the last generation’s reality, not hers.

A newly-released report from the American non-profit Center for College Affordability and Productivity suggests almost half of all graduates work in jobs for which they are overqualified.

In Canada, the situation doesn’t seem quite as dire, but during the last year for which there are numbers, 2006, about one in four university-educated workers was in a position that didn’t require a degree. As Chris Sorensen and Charlie Gillis pointed out in “The New Underclass”, this proportion is believed to be even higher now.

But there must be jobs somewhere, right? In 2011, The Canadian Occupational Projection System (administered by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada) developed a detailed, 10-year labour market projections report that focuses on the estimated trends in labour supply and demand between 2011 and 2020.

Broken into occupational groups, the report determines which jobs are projected to have an excess of positions and which will have an excess of workers. The chart below details 20 of the occupations expected to see the greatest worker shortages between now and 2020. Note: They are not the positions where there are the most jobs, but the areas in which the chances of getting a job (due to the number of job openings exceeding the number of job seekers) are greater. Interestingly, only three require university-level education.

While the projections provide hope for some, they also reveal occupations for which the number of job seekers far outweigh the number of positions. To those seeking employment in the following fields (just to name a few): consider becoming a tailor.

  • Management in communication.
  • Managers in art, culture, recreation and sport.
  • Physical science professionals.
  • Athletes, coaches, etc.
  • Machine operators and related works in pulp and paper production, wood processing, and workers in fabric, fur and leather.
  • Machining, metalworking, woodworking and related machine operators.

Explore HRSDC’s list yourself.


Infographic: Where are all the jobs?

  1. Discouraged my kids to go to university. Now they are all trades persons and make a good living. Even my daughter is a journeyman electrician. Apprenticeship is the way to go. You earn while you learn. After 3 or 4 years of training they are not saddled with a load of debt.

    • That’s very practical. There are a handful of university degrees today that are actually worth obtaining (Engineering, Science, Medicine, Law). The rest are basically a complete waste of time.

      And your kids will now have the means and work ethic to go to University if they decide to change careers in the future. And future employers will know they’re employable.

      I can’t tell you the number of people I know who’ve graduated in the last 5 years with degrees in things like Women’s Studies, English, or History that just can’t understand why they can’t find high paying jobs in their field. But these same people couldn’t answer “what kind of job do you think that degree will get you?” when they started the program.

      Teachers and guidance councillors have been lying to students for decades, implying that you just need to get an “education”, and the jobs will come to you. The world has never worked that way, and never will. But that’s what you get for taking advice from a guidance councillor, I suppose. What makes those guys think they know anything at all? Their careers ended up as guidance councillors!

      • Growing up in western europe, the guidance councillors would ask what are you good at and what do you like doing, then giving you ideas of what kind of apprenticeship to pursue. Once you have that under the belt you can always go back to school, or night classes at university and get your degree then. Or take classes, like the ones you mentioned above, as a hobby. In the meantime you are still working and contributing to society

        • Or you could just go to university in the first place.

          Several posts on here are good examples of why Canada needs more educated people.

          • Yeah, we’re a funny country.

            We’ll be laughing when…..wait, no we won’t.

          • Go in the first place = a load of debt. Go later in life =more mature attitude, money to pay for programs, confidence in one’s ability to succeed, focus. I know this because I got my first degree straight out of school and my second degree twenty years later. I had so much more fun and intellectual self-challenge as a mature student.

          • Getting older helps with everything.

  2. Fascinating. It seems like every media person in the country [and most of THEM have degrees] has joined hands to convince Canadians to ignore university, and go into trade. The old ‘be a plumber’ routine.

    Sort of ‘Just ignore Chris Hadfield, be a good little Canadian and remain a hewer of wood and a drawer of water’.

    It would be interesting to find out why knowledge is being discouraged in the um….knowledge economy n’est-ce pas?

    • Did you note the source for this particular information was HRSDC? In other words its based on government research, usually something you are in favour of. The media is just reporting it.

      • I don’t recall ever saying anything, good or bad, about govt research…..I was talking about the huge amount of media stories recently that discourage university attendance. And most of them aren’t ‘reporting’ so much as they are ‘opinion’.

    • Check out the labour NL is importing from Ireland, Romania, Thailand…..tradespeople, like plumbers, welders, carpenters, etc. They have a shortage of 150,000 skilled trades. check out all the major projects they have coming up. Another problem with a lot of the youth is that some wanna start off as managers. Just because someone has a degree in something doesn’t mean they are qualified to manage a project. Practical knoweledge is more important than a degree at most job sites. It also keeps the workers safer, than reading a manual

      • If you want a job go to trade school.

        If you want an education go to university.

      • What’s the first “problem with a lot of the youth”?

    • Have you ever considered that maybe other peoples opinions are simply more informed than yours? You can tell people they’ll get a good job if they just go to university, but it doesn’t make it so. There are jobs available, it just turns out that for most of them you don’t need to go to university. People shouldn’t be complaining about being unemployed when there are jobs available. And people shouldn’t be surprised when they’re unemployed after getting a degree for which nobody is hiring.

      • Stop trolling, Rick. You are always replying to things that haven’t been said.

      • Rick – to your comment:

        “People shouldn’t be complaining about being unemployed when there are jobs available.”

        Are you looking only at the stats and graphs? Or have you actually tried looking for a job in the last 4 – 5 years? Sure, it appears there are jobs out there but in reality the ads seem nothing more than fishing expeditions. A new type of rudeness has evolved when it comes to applying for these positions via on-line applications. Getting any response is mostly unheard of. This is very discouraging especially when much thought and carefulness is put into the application. In my own case, I have years of practical experience, training and the education and still I am unable to gain any employment. I have applied for everything from server to a same management level position that I was let go from in the ‘great recession’. I have had two job experiences in the last four years, as a seasonal cashier and for an EI make work project that lasted six months. It seems to me there are many like myself that are the new “invisibly unemployed”. It also seems to me that the current government offers only incentives for New Canadians to gain employment in Canada rather than help keep natural born Canadians whose ancestors helped build this country gainfully employed. And finally, it seems to me, there is a lot of HR bias around hiring from gender discrimination and ageism to an unwillingness to help our young adults move into a job they can be proud to go to everyday.

        • Yes, I have looked for a job in the last 4 years, I’ve been in my current position for about a year and a half now.

          Perhaps rather than relying on online applications you should try visiting the place, introduce yourself, etc.

          The government shouldn’t need to provide any incentives for work, the pay check is the incentive.

          And it’s not a business owners job to “help young adults move into a job they can be proud” of, it’s their job to run their business and hire the best possible people to do any given job.

  3. Okay, anybody who thinks that administrative and regulatory occupations don’t require a university education has never seen the difference between a good one and a bad one, and what kind of difference that can make to a company operating smoothly and having a better bottom line.

    Yes, you can substitute enough years of on the job training for that university education and get a good one. But it’s probably about 4 years of on the job training to be equivalent to a single year of university education. And what’s happening in the mean time is the problem. Does the university education teach anything directly relevant to the position? No.. but considering that these are the people who will be the ones seeing the bulk of the problems in the operations of your firm, you want them to be able to do a number of things.

    First they have to be able to see a big enough picture to realize when something is going to be a problem if left unchecked. Then they have to think through it, find some possible solutions, and, just as importantly, be able to present all of their findings in a form that’s intelligible to the person who has the ability to make the changes required. Yeah, you can get a duffer in the position, but then your management team will be busy constantly putting out fires that have grown big enough to be problems at the managerial level.It’s a hell of a lot better, and cheaper, to get these problems dealt with early, and then leave your management team to actually direct the organization to better heights.

    • Seems to be some kind of recent meme downgrading education….I don’t know why, and that’s what makes me curious.

      Doing this is damaging to the economy and the country.

  4. There is only so much room for the Chris Hadfield’s of this world because there is only so much need. For our societies to work, and to work properly, we need a workforce with practical skills as apposed to a workforce wanting to forget about them skills.

    We don’t need more people with degrees in theoretical understandings of how our healthcare system could function better; we need practical nurses and administrators for improving the system.

    We don’t need more people with degrees in theoretical understandings of how statistical lives must be interpreted; we need practical bureaucrats with an understanding of daily life.

    Too many students attending university come out thinking that our world can function properly in the theoretical understanding thereof. It can’t.

    A ‘university-must’ bubble had been created back in the seventies when it was believed that everyone should attend university in order to become ‘something’ in life. But when attending university becomes the norm, then university education ends up being nothing special any longer. When the norm moves upward, the norm has changed but the underlying norms for running a successful society have not changed. The practical jobs are still needed and will be needed for a very long time to come.

    • That is just sooooo bad…..

  5. Municipalities, regional districts and design and engineering firms rely on technologists, technicians and technical specialists in a host of careers. In many situations a 2-year diploma or a certificate program can trump a general arts degree, in launching a sound, rewarding career. And yes, they are in high demand, in BC at least.

    • Fascinating….high demand…..yet we’re having to import thousands of them supposedly.

      And the thing with techs is… changes. Rapidly.

      • Tech changes – Emily, do you know of any profession or occupation that doesn’t? Two words: lifelong learning.

        • Yes, but no one here wants to do ANY learning, much less the life-long kind.

          That’s why they’re keen on trade school, and apprenticeships, instead of university. Fast, cheap…..

          Unless of course there are too many apprentices available…and then they’re screwed.

          But they want a ‘job’…..not a career….. with the least possible effort….and what they see as a comfy salary…for life.

          Hey, it’s their life….but they shouldn’t be promoting this to everyone else….especially young people….. as the only good thing to do.

          As to tech….it changes faster than say…. plumbing

          • Fair enough. Just please consider that some of the “trades” promotion is over discouragement from gold plated dreams driven by some Guidance Councillors.

            Inevitably the pendulum will shift in a few years and wholesale promotion of business degrees and physicists will resume.
            One downfall of trades that often is overlooked is that you must remain physically able to perform your duties to remain in those fields.

          • LOL I was in high school when ‘guidance counsellors’ became the new ‘in’ thing…..I remember asking one for some brochures on what was necessary for a BA in journalism. Instead I was told, as a female in the sixties, that if I learned how to bake bread and change a diaper that was all that would be required of me in life….!

            So I have no great opinion of them….I have always assumed they’ve improved since then though….but apparently not.

            Yeah, people forget that physical jobs take a physical toll….retirement times should be staggered depending on the job.

  6. Emily. need ti be filled. .. university degrees are a dime a dozen… do are mbas etc… my 2 cents to the youth is to use your hands more. ..

    • Well, if you want to be a robot, that’s your choice…..but university degrees save you from that.

      Use your hands? No, use your brain.

      • Why do you have such disdain for tradespeople?

        I have three university degrees and have worked in offices for over 20 years. My husband is an electrician. My work is by far more robotic than his. He needs to figure out, on a daily basis, how to not get electrocuted and to correctly install and manage electrical controls. My biggest worry is how to avoid messing up a formula on a spreadsheet. His education included advanced physics and theoretical math – a bit more involved than my arts degrees.

        At any rate, I have met hundreds of people during my university studies, and I can safely say that the majority of them are total morons. They were not interested in ‘higher learning’, but in some misguided dream of getting a ‘great job’ and pleasing their parents.

        • I don’t.

          But we need far more than trade if we want to have an economy and move ahead.

          If you think most university grads are total morons….my guess is you never saw a university.

          • I’ve been reading your posts Emily, and I’m intrigued. I’d like to know how university graduates make jobs? I think you put the horse before the cart. Please explain.

          • All the advances we have today came from educated people….the more educated people there are, and the higher the level of their education….the richer society becomes.

            Illiterate, or uneducated people don’t discover stem cells, or invent laptops, eliminate diseases, or send robots to Mars.

          • I yet to hear huge advances in our society made by fresh new grads. Innovation does not need educated people and educated people solely do not lift economies. Innovation requires MOTIVATED and EXPERIENCED people. Some of these may have a university degree but also have had tens of thousands of hours in their field, therefore its the experience that differentiates them from just being educated. I still don’t understand how university degrees make jobs. Can you explain how having an education has a direct correlation with job creation? Something is missing is it not?

          • Yes, something is missing.

            Your IQ

          • I really thought there would be some intellect displayed, at least on my behalf, but you didn’t give me a chance. What I do see is a whore of a mouth that has been ravaged too many times

          • You wouldn’t recognize intellect. You’re too busy being a smartass. I already explained how jobs are created by education….and I said nothing whatever about experience.

  7. I am so grateful for my university education. It taught to think critically and back up my opinion with facts, to extracurricular activities that led me to leadership positions, and made some of the best friends and contacts a person could have. The investment was worth it. But university education today is ~$3k-$4k more expensive per year than it was when I went, and we need to consider that it is highly valuable as a society instead of punishing those who want further education. One doesn’t need a degree or diploma to enhance pne’s job/career skill set, and not every company offers quality internal education.

    Ask why there is such a demand for trades? Why is there this massive development of i.e. properties, usage of our natural resources? Is that wise? I’m not giving an opinion on that, but it’s important to know our drive and values as a country.

    Lastly, how many Boomers are still in the workforce? If they’re still working, I would imagine they’re either about to retire and – hopefully – sharing their knowledge with the company productively, or taking up more than one position (i.e. retired and getting their main pension and working on contract – sometimes for the same company). This might seem valuable to a company now, but Boomers WILL leave eventually and if the company hasn’t spent time developing younger staff, they will be left without the leaders of tomorrow they will need to thrive.

    • I also note that lack of mention of IT jobs/careers, which seem to be plentiful today.

    • All the boomers are still in the workforce….it was from 1946 to 1965

  8. Is it really a surprise to anyone that the lowest paid jobs will be the least attractive to Canadians? I believe this is why we import vegetable pickers…by 2020 jobs at the top of this list will be at the bottom of the pay scale, if they aren’t already.

  9. How about using both brain and hands, Emily. You’ll be glad of that
    plumber when your toilet is blocked on a sunday evening. And do you
    make your own clothes, furniture, house, car., do all your own
    maintenance, Do you go to the dental hygienist, massage therapist, and
    so on. My son in law has a college diploma but discovered he love working with his hands, he became a red-seal carpenter. Guess what, he’s educated and employed and happy. I have two degrees and did many different jobs in my life ending up as a teacher in the NWT. It really ticks me off when people think “trades are for dummies”, we cannot exist without them. I suggest everyone who thinks Skilled Trades equals pick and shovel, Check out Skills The range is enormous.

    • LOL oh enough of the blocked toilet emergencies….you’d think this was a major crisis in Canada.

      We need people to pick up our garbage too….can’t exist without them. We just don’t confuse them with doctors.

      • I am discussed by all the trash talk from some people here! University educated and Trades educated bickering back and forth about who and what is more important or needed. Where is your education now? It’s not showing so brightly here and quite frankly doesn’t impress those who want a trade, or a university education! Personally I believe there is a place in this world for both the trades education and the university education, and its ridiculous for both sides to believe lesser of either education. I have four children who contribute to this world in everything that they do and one isn’t less, or more important than the other. In-fact, one of my children is university educated with a GPA of 4.0 graduated with Honors in Human Resources, and she cannot find a job! She has been searching for two years! I have two others that are high school educated, of those two children one is the owner of a successful business, the other has a high paid job and is a supervisor for the company he works for. Another who is a high school graduate and only semi-collage educated, he is both a very skilled mechanic, and he is in the landscaping trade (making a minimal amount of money for the hard labor he does), but he makes people happy by fixing their broken down vehicles, and with the beauty he creates for them in landscaping their yards and company grounds, and most importantly he is happy! Personally, I don’t see a doctor being needed or being anymore important than the garbage man! Although the doctor is far more respected by the world, both the doctor and the garbage man both have their importance in this world. The doctor can save a life, this is true, but in a way so does the garbage man; by controlling the waste we produce which can and has been known to spread disease especially if it’s not disposed of and maintained in a controlled area, hence the garbage mans job! Everyone needs to get a grip here. Stop believing your more important then the next guy, whether university educated or trades educated, no matter who you are / or what you do; you are needed and should be respected as an individual with something to offer the world.

        • Most long-winded justification of being anti-education I’ve ever heard.

          • Emily, maybe so, by your standards, but I see a pattern here with you. When you can’t dispute, or interject intelligently you instead result to insults, is that what your education taught you? Narrow mindedness? You seem to have a disregard for any opinion other then your own? I Do Not advocate anti-education. I am very proud of my daughter and her choice to educate herself by way of a university, but it is a fact that she hasn’t found a job through her higher education, YET, but that doesn’t mean she won’t either (I believe she will) and that her education will contribute to her efforts in attaining that job. I simply stated what has happened in our family. I simply stated that both trade and university educated are just as important as the other. I simply stated that bickering back and forth really isn’t making a positive impact here. Its sad that you didn’t understand this.

          • Oh enough with the crap about ‘Emily’. I’m not the topic.

            What’s sad is that you have confused open debate with ‘bickering’….that means you don’t like anyone disagreeing with you.

          • While its true that this is not a topic about ‘Emily’.. you commented back, and with insult instead of a debate about how I see things here. Slinging insults is not a debate, is is simply an insult. I don’t mind a disagreement about what you, or I believe. Its okay if you believe your smarter then me, I don’t even mind that, but there simply isn’t place for insults in any debate.

          • If you see disagreement as an insult, then YOU have the problem, not me.

            Trade is not the same as university.

          • Well then I guess we do agree on something here then, I must have a problem, and that is, let me get this right, actually your comment was only a disagreement?… (Most long-winded justification of being anti-eduation I’ve ever heard.) That wasn’t meant to be an insult? That was in fact, just debate about the way I think? If not, I debate then that you could have simply intervened by saying the latter. It is proven that (Trade is not the same as university.) with statistics. My problem is, even an implied insult is not an opinion or debate, period. But, somehow my thinking that one is just as important as the other, and has its place in the work field upsets you. What I saw here on this forum initially was debate, and as I read the entire, it turn into bickering about who is right and who is wrong, with insults flung among each other as well. I intervened with my opinion. Lets just sum this up as … we agree to disagree at this point. And that’s okay.