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Tools to Help You Understand the Canadian Labour Market

Monday | June 4, 2018 | by Anne Greenwood

Canadian job market for immigrants

Your first step in finding a job in Canada is to understand the country’s labour market and your place in it. Conducting labour market research will help you identify the best job opportunities based on your skills. In a recent webinar, we discussed the importance of labour market information in preparing for a career in Canada and also looked at a few essential research tools. We will review some of those tools here and discuss why the research stage of your job search is so important.

First, we will define “labour market.” The labour market is an interaction between supply (workers) and demand (jobs). To determine the health of the labour market within a specific region, the interaction between the talent supply and the jobs available within that region can be researched. Labour market health is also often specific to a sector; knowing the job numbers and supply of talent within an industry can help to determine which industries are doing well and which are not.

Canada is a large country. What may be a thriving industry in one province may be a faltering one in another.  Employment opportunities and job market trends are unique in each region. It will be up to you to define your place in the job market—from a geographic, skills, and experience perspective.

Importance of Labour Market Research

Your research results will help you to determine where you want to live in Canada, and what type of work you can pursue. Taking time to fully understand the Canadian labour market as it pertains to your sector and your preferred area of relocation will help you make more informed decisions. As a result, the career plan you develop will ensure that your talent will be in demand and valued.

Exploring the labour market within your sector will also determine how your experience, education, and skills compare with those of professionals currently in your field in Canada. This insight will help you to find your place and value in the sector.

Through your research, you may discover alternative job titles that may be more lucrative. Conducting labour market research will reveal many more options for your career in Canada.

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Research Considerations

There are a number of ways to research the Canadian labour market. First, ask yourself: What are your information gaps regarding your profession in Canada?

Start with a meaningful question and then find a tool that will provide you with the most relevant and accurate information.

The great research tools discussed below can help you explore your profession and gather information regarding the following:

  • Common job titles
  • Alternative career paths
  • Wages and compensation
  • Required education
  • Regulation
  • Emerging trends

Research Tools

The National Occupation Classification (NOC) codes provide a framework for labour market information. According to its website, NOC “gathers more than 30,000 occupational titles into 500 unit groups, organized according to skill levels and skill types.” Using the site’s quick search function, you can find the NOC code for your profession. The same NOC codes are used on other Government of Canada labour market sites. This code can be useful for verifying that a role is within your skill set and level.

Each occupation has assigned codes and provides the following information:

  • Main duties and tasks
  • Sample job titles
  • Education/training requirements
  • Experience needed

The NOC system is a valuable starting point for your labour market research. Here you will become familiar with your profession’s common job titles. You will also be able to compare your previous experience with the functions of your desired role in Canada.

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Job Bank, maintained by the Government of Canada, is a database used to explore the outlook of professions for the next five or ten years. Using a rating system of stars, Job Bank ranks the occupations: One star indicates limited opportunities; three stars, a good outlook.

To compare the outlook for your profession in different areas of the country, you can filter this information by region or province. This geographic filtering will help you to determine where in Canada your skills are in highest demand.

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The Labour Force Survey is a monthly report issued by Statistics Canada that provides an overview of Canada’s labour market. The report includes a demographic overview of the job market, provincial summaries, and quarterly updates for the territories.

Canadian media are another great source of labour market information. It is common in Canada for news organizations to cover job and economic growth, new funding, and project announcements that can keep you abreast of the best job prospects in the country.

Next Steps

Relevant, reliable, accessible labour market information will help you establish a meaningful career in Canada. With it, you can ensure that your skills and experience are in demand in your chosen city, and that you will be compensated in line with your market value.

This information will empower you to optimize your job prospects as you plan your future career in Canada.

Watch our on-demand webinar for a full demonstration of how to use the tools discussed in this article to conduct labour market research about your sector in Canada.

Anne Greenwood is the Marketing and Communications Manager at WES Global Talent Bridge Canada.