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Top Ten High Demand Jobs

in Canada 2013 


10. Aerospace engineer


Median Salary: $75,004

Change in salary (2006–2012): +11%

Total employees: 8,500

Don’t be fooled by the “space” part. Most aerospace engineers work with planes, not rocket ships. The field includes everything from airplanes to helicopters, missiles and satellites. In Canada, the aerospace sector is dominated by Quebec-based companies, like Bombardier, although Ontario and the West also have significant aerospace clusters.

Money: Aerospace engineering salaries vary heavily. Newcomers who haven’t yet earned their professional engineering certification can expect to start off earning somewhere between $45,000 and $60,000 a year. After 10 years in the field, though, six figure salaries are the norm.

How to qualify: To become an aerospace engineer, you need an engineering degree, full stop. There are no shortcuts. You can get specialist aerospace degrees from Carleton or Ryerson Universities, or try to break into the field with a mechanical engineering degree.

Opportunity: The cyclical aerospace sector is picking up again following a slow decade precipitated by Sept. 11, the rising Canadian dollar and a surge in global competition. Should the tide turn, it can be tricky finding a job in another field: some general engineering firms don’t understand what an aerospace engineer is qualified to do.


9. Chemical engineer


Median Salary: $78,000

Change in salary (2006–2012): +20%

Total employees: 9,200

One of the biggest advantages of being a chemical engineer is that your skills can be applied in a wide range of different industries, from energy to manufacturing to food products and beyond. In their first few years, most chemical engineers do lab work, but after that there’s opportunity to manage a lab, consult for other companies, or start your own business.

How to qualify: You’ll need to have a bachelor of applied science or a chemical engineer degree, says Nadeem Pirani, a chemical engineer working in the aerospace sector in Mississauga, Ont. You’ll also need to have four years of engineering experience working under another professional chemical engineer before you get certified.

Money: Salaries start at $50,000 to $60,000 for a graduate fresh out of university, but can rise quickly with experience—especially if you specialize in an in-demand niche. Academic and pure research positions can fetch up to $235,000.

Opportunity: The job market is quite focused on the growing environmental sector right now, says Pirani, with chemical engineers doing everything from site assessments and soil remediation to waste audits and air-quality modelling.



8. Senior government manager


Median Salary: $95,992

Change in salary (2006–2012): +23%

Total employees: 11,600

Top-level government bureaucrats translate legislation—whether provincial, federal or municipal—into actual practice. Directors, deputy ministers and managers control the non-partisan public servants that make governments work, in fields as diverse as fisheries, advanced education and municipal garbage collection.

How to qualify: To enter the bureaucracy, you usually need a university degree. At the federal level, it helps to be bilingual. A graduate degree—in public administration, or a similar field—can be a good way to jump up several rungs.

Money: Entry-level government workers can earn between $30,000 and $60,000 a year, depending on experience, education and location. By the time employees reach a senior position, though, the money can be impressive. In Ontario, the number of public servants making more than $100,000 a year climbed 11% in 2013 to more than 88,000, and some make $500,000 a year or more.

Outlook: The winds of austerity are blowing across Canada, and the good times for government workers may not last long. Cutbacks are looming in Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and Ottawa. And, as the private sector moves away from defined benefit pensions, the pressure to curb public-sector benefits will likely increase.


7. Real estate & financial manager


Median Salary: $79,872

Change in salary (2006–2012): +15%

Total employees: 22,800

This broad category (as defined by Statistics Canada) covers a broad swath of professions, from real estate agents to underwriters to bond traders—jobs that have surged in recent years due to Canada’s twin booms: housing and commodities. The pace is now slowing in both areas. But in capital markets, which includes research, sales, and trading, the opportunity for an ample salary remains.

How to qualify: Any job in capital markets requires a deep understanding of finance. Those in sales will also need experience working with clients. Many financial institutions offer training programs to recruit graduates with business degrees. Many entrants aim for an edge by obtaining extra qualifications such as the Chartered Financial Analyst designation or an MBA, which help advance you to senior positions more quickly.

Money: Wages have been under a lot of pressure since the financial crisis. Still, employees can expect to break six figures, with salaries for senior positions heading north of $200,000. Performance bonuses can add to total compensation, too. Salaries at large foreign institutions, such as Barclays, are more generous.

Opportunity: Industry consolidation and the rise of high-frequency trading and exchange-traded funds are sparking worries about the future of active investing, but cash is coming back to the markets, and initial public offerings are picking up again. “We expect the pace to continue, which bodes well for employment in the industry,” says Lara Zink, managing director of global equities at RBC Capital Markets.


6. Lawyer

Median Salary: $79,996 

Change in salary (2006–2012): +14%

Total employees: 50,800

Once upon a time, lawyers fell into two groups: criminal and corporate. Today, the profession features a multitude of specializations, from tax and competition law to pensions and intellectual-property law.

How to qualify: Law students are increasingly combining the traditional law school degree with another more specialized degree, such as an MBA, to be able to better apply the law to a specialized niche.

Money: According to Canadian Lawyer’s 2012 salary survey, compensation for law firm associates and in-house counsel ranged from $72,500 to $108,000.

Opportunity: In Ontario, new grads are facing an articling bottleneck—last year, hundreds were unable to get the 10-month apprenticeship they need to become licensed. But the industry is exploring alternative ways for lawyers to get called to the bar. Overall, legal hiring is picking up in Toronto, according to a report by staffing agency Robert Half, especially for those with backgrounds in litigation and corporate law, and energy-sector employment remains high.


5. School principal & administrator


Median Salary: $90,001

Change in salary (2006–2012): +25%

 Total employees: 32,300

These are the principals and vice-principals who see your kids at the office when they’re caught texting in class. This group also includes the deans and senior administrators of the universities Junior will one day make it to (if he could only stop texting).

How to qualify: Once they have spent some time in front of the classroom, teachers aiming for an admin position head back to class themselves—for a master of education degree or additional specialist and principal’s training, which varies depending on the province.

Money: Vice-principals start around $97,000 per year, and principals can go up to $115,000. As management, however, school administrators’ benefits are often worse than those of the unionized teachers they lead.

Opportunity: There will be nearly 7,000 available school administration jobs across the country each year through 2015—thousands more than there are candidates. Recent cuts to education in Ontario have slightly shrunk the prospects for elementary and secondary VPs in that province, however.


4. Electrical & telecommunications contractor


Median Salary: $72,800

Change in salary (2006–2012): +28%

Total employees: 20,600

For most contractors, success relies on the strength of the construction industry. Although 2012 wasn’t a great year for building, Bill Strain expects 2013 to be stronger. “The whole industry’s starting to gear up again,” says the president of Villa Electric in Surrey, B.C.

How to qualify: Contractors start by becoming certified electricians (a four-year apprenticeship that combines on-the-job training with classroom work). Strong math skills are a must. After that, you can start your own company or work your way up through an existing one.

Money: A typical journeyman electrician’s wage ranges from $30 to $38 an hour. Contractors are business owners, so their salaries vary. The owner of a successful one- or two-man operation can pull in around $70,000 to $80,000 a year.

Opportunity: Canada is expected to face a shortage of skilled tradespeople as many approach retirement. The average electrician is close to 50 years old, says Strain. “A huge amount of people will be leaving the industry.” That translates to high demand for workers, especially in provinces seeing lots of new construction, like Alberta.



3. Petroleum engineer

Median Salary: $93,516

Change in salary (2006–2012): +17%

Total employees: 11,900

Petroleum engineering encompasses three sub-specialties of the oil and gas sector: drilling, production and reservoir engineering. The job requires a detailed understanding of chemical systems, geological formations and computer modelling.

How to qualify: After completing an engineering degree, the majority of petroleum engineers receive technical and soft-skills training when they begin their careers with integrated oil and gas companies, service firms or in consulting outfits. Co-op programs may give job candidates an edge, since employers value hands-on learning.

Money: According to a survey by the Society of Petroleum Engineers, total compensation rose 9.3% last year. While the median salary is $93,000, it’s not uncommon to make $230,000 or more.

Opportunity: Following the intense skills shortages of the mid-2000s, Canadian demand for petroleum engineers is expected to slow somewhat, according to Engineers Canada. Global demand, however, is robust, especially in the U.S., with the continuing shale oil boom, and as many as 40% of the world’s petroleum engineers are expected to retire within a decade. Growing areas of demand: skills geared to unconventional sources, such as deep water, enhanced or improved oil recovery and heavy oil.


2. Head nurse & heath-care manager


Median Salary: $74,880

Change in salary (2006–2012): +24%

Total employees: 25,600

By 2020, about 20% of Canadians will be over age 65, which means positions in nursing and health-care management—a wide swath of jobs that ranges from research lab managers to nursing-home administrators—can only grow.

How to qualify: For nursing specializations, such as head nurse and nursing supervisor, the obvious price of entry is a four-year nursing degree, followed by clinical experience and, increasingly, management training (an MBA or master of health administration). Most laboratory managers have a degree in science and subsequent training at a college, university or technical institute, although business management degrees are becoming increasingly valued.

Money: Salaries typically range from about $85,000 to $105,000, and some receive premiums for postsecondary education or working evenings and weekends.

Opportunity: Ottawa projects a 30% shortage of nursing supervisors (and nurses overall) by 2020. On the technical side of health management, one of the biggest areas of growth is genetic testing. Reports suggest that by 2017 genetic laboratory budgets will consume up to two-thirds of total laboratory budgets, with the rise of personalized medicine.


1.      Oil & gas drilling supervisor


Median Salary: $74,880

Change in salary  (2006–2012): +39%

Total employees: 16,100

With oil and gas production surging over the past few years,  it’s no surprise this job ranked as our No. 1 career. According to the Canadian  Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors, there are currently about 1,200  rig managers across Canada, and demand is skyrocketing. Rig supervisors  typically oversee two to three crews (of four to six people), which operate oil  drilling rigs around the clock.

How to qualify: Formal education isn’t critical—experience is. Supervisors typically work their  way through the various drilling crew jobs, beginning as “roughnecks” and  progressing up to drilling operator. Various safety certificates and some  management training may also be required, and some may also obtain a petroleum  engineering technology degree.

Money: Rig  managers generally earn a day rate of about $1,000, which can drive annual  income up to the $175,000 to $250,000 range in Alberta, where supervisors  average 180 days in the field.

Opportunity: Oil and  gas production levels vary. While most forecasts project steady growth for  2013, some observers note that the picture is muddied by the high dollar, low  crude prices, booming U.S. natural gas production and ongoing uncertainty  around major pipeline projects. Despite that, the Alberta government projects  2.6% average annual growth in this profession until 2016.


 Courtesy - Canadian Business.