When you are dropping an average of $6,500 a year on an undergraduate degree or more than $7,000 on a graduate diploma, you want to know there is a job at the end of that long and demanding study tunnel. So, what 10 career paths are the most likely to land you a job?
CourseCompare checked in with Annie (Yazhuo) Pan, an expert in this field. Pan, who is a research officer at the Center for Industrial Relations and Human Resources at the University of Toronto, says it’s not surprising that some of the most in-demand jobs are a direct result of the pandemic. The pandemic has, after all, completely up-ended how business is done. Nor does Pan think that will change after the pandemic has run its course.
In other words, these are safe-bet courses of study that will definitely lead to a job.
“The pandemic changed a lot of things. How people work. How people run a business,” says Pan. If more people are working from home, businesses need more people to help employees work online, she explains.
Here are the 10 most in-demand careers in Canada ranked by the University of Toronto’s Center for Industrial Relations and Human Resources, plus what those jobs pay per year and where you can go to learn job-ready skills today.
No. 1: IT and Support Desk Specialists
IT support specialists give advice and help to anyone who uses a computer in a business or organization.
With more employees working from home, most often on their own equipment, in this pandemic IT specialists are more in demand than ever.
As Pan points out, no one can afford to have employees losing Zoom conference calls with potential clients or not being as productive as possible from home.
And Pan doesn’t expect the demand for this job classification to drop off after the pandemic. The trend to working from home will continue, she predicts.
The average salary per year for IT and support desk specialists in Canada is $49,525.
Explore Courses: IT (Information Technology) and Computer Systems
No. 2: Administrative Assistants
Administrative assistants are the go-to personnel when managers need help to organize staff and their workload.
And like IT specialists, they are more in demand now than ever as a result of the pandemic.
“Companies need human resources to facilitate working from home and to schedule meetings,” Pan explains.
This, too, is a job with ongoing growth opportunities. The end of the pandemic won’t spell the end of the growing need for admin assistants.
On average, administrative assistants earn $55,054 per year in Canada.
No. 3: Cyber Security Specialists
Cyber security specialists protect information on computer networks, cloud servers, mobile devices, and payment software. They analyse and predict where risks are and, most importantly, develop strategies to prevent data breaches.
With more people working from home, more information — from employee information to meeting details — has to be posted online, Pan says. “People are worried about security.”
Expect job growth to surge as the trend to work from home continues even after the pandemic.
The average pay per year for cyber security specialists in Canada is $87,728.
Explore Courses: Cyber security, cloud computing and computer programming.
No. 4: Web Developers
The move made by consumers to online purchasing may have been spurred by the pandemic, but it won’t stop after the pandemic ends, Pan predicts.
As a result, companies need web developers to create user-friendly websites and other digital products that allow consumers and organizations of every kind to transact online.
Average pay per year for a web developer in Canada is $67,432.
Explore Courses: Web development, mobile app development, full-stack development
No. 5: Mobile Application Developers
Again, this is associated with the trend to online sales. After all, someone has to create software applications that run on a mobile device for on-the-go consumers who have turned to online shopping because of the pandemic, and will continue with it after the pandemic because of its convenience.
The average salary for mobile app developers in Canada is $77,632 per year.
Explore Courses: Mobile app development, UX/UI design
No. 6: Big Data Scientists and Data Analysts
In an era of online sales and search activities, data scientists are transforming the retail, telecommunications, agriculture, and trucking industries, to name a few. They enable organizations to collect and analyze massive data sets, which can be used to improve everything from manufacturing efficiency to sales and retention.
Average pay per year for data analysts and data scientists ranges from $71,613 to $82,713.
Explore Courses: Data science, data analytics, data engineering, data visualization
No. 7: Digital Marketing Specialists
It only makes sense that what follows the shift to online purchases is a sea-change in how businesses market to people. So, businesses will need experts in digital marketing if they are going to be able to identify and target a market, create a brand image, and execute a measurable marketing strategy across an ever-expanding menu of digital platforms and technologies.
Digital marketing specialists will need to balance creativity and analytical thinking as they develop digital strategies designed to move audiences into action — on social media, search engines, email, live chat, Google Ads and more.
The average salary for a digital marketer in Canada is $51,774.
Explore Courses: Digital marketing, social media marketing, SEO/SEM, copywriting
No. 8: Logistics/Transportation Managers
The trend to online purchasing was big before the pandemic. Now it is huge. And someone needs to make sure customers receive their orders. Logistics/transportation managers do that by co-ordinating all transportation issues within an organization.
Since the trend to online purchasing shows no sign of dying, this will remain an in-demand job for the foreseeable future.
The average pay per year for a logistics/transportation manager is $65,495 to $105,187.
No. 9: Early Education Workers
Parents, especially mothers, have had to leave the workforce in droves because they couldn’t afford or access child-care during the pandemic.
As a result, the federal government is investing $30 billion in early childhood education over the next five years to provide parents with affordable, accessible, quality day care. That is sure to creating a boom in jobs for early childhood educators that will continue to grow as the population grows.
“It’s the only way they (the government) can help mothers and fathers go back to the job market and pay taxes,” says Pan.
The average pay per year for an ECE (Early Childhood Educator) is $49,517.
No. 10: Health Care Support Workers for Seniors
While it’s not necessarily related to the pandemic, the aging of Canada’s population has created a demand for staff to take care of seniors. That demand is not going to change.
Indeed, the job vacancy rate for health care workers, in general, rose to 4.7 per cent in the last quarter of 2020, according to Statistics Canada. “That is one of the highest rates among all (job) sectors.”
And the federal agency expects the ongoing need for health care workers will continue.
Average pay per year for health care support workers across Canada is $47,183.
Explore Courses: Personal support work (PSW), nursing, practical nursing, pharmacy technician, pharmacy assistant
How to Pivot into an In-demand Job
The pandemic-induced surge in demand for some jobs, however, does not hold true for other high-demand jobs that require few skills, such as customer service representatives.
The increase in those jobs is a temporary blip, Pan predicts. People will lose those jobs to automation over the next 10 to 20 years, she says. “But high-skill jobs will be in demand for the long term.”
So how to choose your career?
Research, research, research.
First, check the labour market outcomes by fields of study that are published by Statistics Canada.
Then, check the essential skills that are required for each occupation at Job Bank Canada.
Next, Pan suggests students study LinkedIn’s job pages for more information on each occupation they are considering. Look at the education and experience companies are saying they need on job postings, she advises.
Finally, CourseCompare can help students decide which educational pathway(s) will best help them break into the industry — and career — of their choice. It can also help connect learners with recent graduates for an inside look at what training and day-to-day work entail.
Consider, for example, whether a university or college offers a co-op program, Pan advises. That will lead to the one thing classroom or online training by itself may not: connections in the industry you want to work in who can help you land a high-demand job.