15 Great Careers in Demand: Prepare Yourself for a Fabulous Future

Careers in Demand in CanadaYou 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 high-demand jobs in Canada 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 2015, the baby boomer generation made up 27 percent of the population. At that point, only 18 percent of baby boomers had reached the age of 65.1 That means the retirement surge has barely started. 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 15 of the top careers in demand. 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 2015 to 2024.2 For each career, you'll also discover the highest-demand provinces and territories (up to 2018), the median pay, and the highest-paying provinces based on 2014-2015 wage data.3

15 High-Demand Jobs in Canada

1. Registered Nurse

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 2014, the median age of registered nurses (RNs) in Canada was almost 43. So roughly half of the RN workforce is between about 43 and 65 years old. Plus, a substantial number of RNs retire before the age of 65.2

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 2015 to 2024, there could be a shortage of 25,000 registered nurses across the country.2

RNs are needed in every province and territory. For instance, registered nursing easily ranks as one of the top careers in demand in Ontario. During the five-year period from 2015 to 2020, there could be almost 5,000 RN job openings in that province alone.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—139,700
  • Highest-demand provinces and territories—Strong for all except New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Saskatchewan, where demand is moderate
  • Median hourly wage—$36
  • 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 in order to fill the gap from retiring workers. In 2014, the median age of transport truck drivers was almost 47 years old. So approximately half of the truck-driving workforce is between the age of 47 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 27,000 truckers during the period from 2015 to 2024.2

Truck driving is near the top of the list for careers in demand in BC. From 2015 to 2025, it's estimated that the province could have almost 15,000 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—135,900
  • Highest-demand provinces—BC, New Brunswick, PEI, and Nova Scotia
  • Median hourly wage—$20.40
  • Highest-paying provinces—Alberta, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Saskatchewan
  • 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 2014 data, half of the workforce is over the age of 47, and many instructors retire around 62 years old. During the 2015-to-2024 period, the country could be short more than 6,000 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—57,100
  • Highest-demand provinces and territories—BC, Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Ontario, and Yukon
  • Median hourly wage—$34.50
  • Highest-paying provinces and territories—Ontario, Northwest Territories, and Newfoundland and Labrador
  • 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. 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.

During the time span from 2015 to 2024, there could be a labour gap of 5,000 workers in the business consulting workforce.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—49,300
  • Highest-demand provinces and territories—BC, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nunavut, Ontario, PEI, Quebec, and Saskatchewan
  • Median hourly wage—$33
  • Highest-paying provinces—Alberta, BC, and Quebec
  • 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. After all, the welding workforce is a little younger than many others. (The median age of welders in 2014 was 39 years old.) So the retirement rate in welding isn't quite as high as in many other career fields. But growth in the manufacturing and fabrication sectors is expected to drive the demand for welding professionals. That's because more than 55 percent of welders work in the manufacturing sector, and another 20 percent work in the fabricated metal products industry.6

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—30,800
  • Highest-demand provinces and territories—BC
  • Median hourly wage—$23.17
  • Highest-paying provinces and territories—Northwest Territories, Alberta, and Saskatchewan
  • 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 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 2015 to 2024, more than 4,000 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—25,900
  • Highest-demand provinces and territories—Alberta, BC, New Brunswick, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Ontario, PEI, Saskatchewan, and Quebec
  • Median hourly wage—$25
  • Highest-paying provinces—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 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—18,700
  • Highest-demand provinces—Alberta, BC, Nova Scotia, and Quebec
  • Median hourly wage—$19
  • Highest-paying provinces—BC, Quebec, and New Brunswick
  • Typical entry-level education—Diploma

8. Software Engineer or Designer

Are you trying to figure out what technical careers are in demand? Well, software engineering and design is definitely one of them. In fact, from 2015 to 2024, it's expected that the field will have more job openings than qualified workers to fill them. More than 400 jobs could be left vacant.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—18,600
  • Highest-demand provinces—BC, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Quebec
  • Median hourly wage—$42.31
  • Highest-paying provinces—Ontario, Alberta, 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 2,900 workers during the period from 2015 to 2024.2 That's largely due to the anticipated growth in the aerospace manufacturing sector, which employs 72 percent of aerospace engineers.6 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—14,300
  • Highest-demand provinces—Quebec; moderate demand in Ontario and the Lower Mainland region of BC
  • Median hourly wage—$38.46
  • Highest-paying provinces—Ontario, Alberta, and Quebec
  • 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 2015 to 2024, up to 2,300 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.

Almost half of all industrial electricians work in the manufacturing sector.6 Since growth is expected in several manufacturing sub-sectors, 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—12,500 (includes power system electricians)
  • Highest-demand provinces—BC, Northwest Territories, and Nova Scotia
  • Median hourly wage—$33
  • Highest-paying provinces—Alberta, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Saskatchewan
  • 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 2014, the median age of pilots was 44 years old. Since many workers retire by the age of 60, it's expected that a number of jobs will soon become available. From 2015 to 2024, up to 3,800 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—11,400
  • Highest-demand provinces and territories—Manitoba, New Brunswick, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut
  • Median hourly wage—$38.46
  • Highest-paying provinces and territories—Alberta, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories, and Nova Scotia
  • Typical entry-level education—Completion of pilot training; must also obtain appropriate pilot licensing

12. Steamfitter or Pipefitter

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—9,800
  • Highest-demand provinces—Moderate demand in Nova Scotia, and Ontario
  • Median hourly wage—$34
  • Highest-paying provinces—Manitoba, BC, and Saskatchewan
  • Typical entry-level education— Completion of vocational training or an apprenticeship program; trade certification may also be required

13. Construction Estimator

It's expected that new construction projects will grow in number across Canada, along with construction expansions and renovations. In fact, the construction industry reported a record number of jobs—many of them high-paying jobs—in 2013, and the industry is expected to keep growing.6 Considering that half of the construction estimator workforce is over the age of 41 and many estimators retire by the time they are 60 years old, it's no wonder that a labour shortage of 1,200 workers could exist from 2015 to 2024.2

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—6,600
  • Highest-demand provinces—BC, Ontario, and Quebec
  • Median hourly wage—$30
  • Highest-paying provinces—Saskatchewan, Alberta, and BC
  • Typical entry-level education—Certificate or diploma; Canadian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (CIQS) certification may be required

14. Veterinary Technician or Assistant

Careers in Demand in CanadaThe animal health care workforce is a little younger than many others. In 2014, the median age of animal health workers was almost 40 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. Additionally, a growing number of people are owning pets. In fact, during the period from 1997 to 2013, household spending on veterinary services increased at a faster rate than household spending as a whole.6 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—5,700
  • Highest-demand provinces—Quebec; Moderate demand in BC, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Saskatchewan
  • Median hourly wage—$18
  • Highest-paying provinces—Quebec, New Brunswick, and Ontario
  • Typical entry-level education—Diploma; registration with a national, provincial, or territorial association may be required

15. 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 almost 1,000 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—2,500
  • Highest-demand provinces—BC and Quebec
  • Median hourly wage—$23
  • Highest-paying provinces—New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, 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 careers in demand, 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!

1 The Globe and Mail, "Boom, Bust, and Economic Headaches," website last visited on November 14, 2016.

2 Canadian Occupational Projection System (COPS), website last visited on November 14, 2016.

3 Government of Canada, Job Bank, website last visited on January 24, 2017.

4 Career Builder, "What Are the Top Jobs in Ontario Right Now?," website last visited on November 14, 2016.

5 WorkBC, B.C.'s Top Occupations, website last visited on November 14, 2016.

6 Government of Canada, Service Canada, website last visited on July 11, 2017.