February 19, 2015 12:58 pm
Updated: February 19, 2015 1:07 pm

Canada’s hot jobs, and ones to avoid – experts offer their top picks

If you are looking for a job, there are careers growing in demand and others becoming more scarce. Experts offer advice on what fields and skills are in demand.

AP Photo/Paul Sancya

If you’re looking for a job, the odds aren’t exactly in your favour this year. With an economy inching toward recession and employers more likely to choose layoffs over hiring, economists at the Conference Board of Canada said in their latest report that job seekers will have to wait until 2016 for real employment opportunities to arise.

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READ MORE: Uncertainty hangs thick over Canada’s job market this year

The country added 35,000 jobs in January, according to Statistics Canada, but the increase was largely due to part-time work. Meanwhile, the percentage of Canadians who aren’t working is at historic highs, with many dropping out of the job search altogether.

But it’s not all doom and gloom, according to some experts, and if you’re able to adapt, there are jobs for people across the country.

“In Canada right now, most industries are stable,” said Nathan Laurie, president of Jobpostings.ca, a company that works to connect students and recent graduates to meaningful careers.

We spoke to experts on industries Canadians should look to for work — and ones to avoid — in their job search.

Fields that are booming

When it comes to areas that are experiencing growth, science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields top the list.

Laurie said anyone with a computer science, math or engineering degree will find lots of opportunity on the job market. “Those degrees can apply to industries across the board — finance, e-commerce, IT — there are lots of roles for those types of positions,” Laurie said.

Laurie said areas including web development, design, robotics and big data are also seeing a lot of growth.

Health care jobs and careers focused on our aging population will also experience growth in the coming years.

“Occupations and industries that provide services and support to the aging population will certainly be growing over the next decade,” said Sean Lyons, associate professor in the College of Business and Economics at the University of Guelph.

If you’re a good communicator and like working with people, Laurie also recommends a job in sales. “I think a lot of people don’t understand all different positions within sales that are out there,” he said, adding that if you follow your passion it might still lead you to an opportunity in sales.

Jobs becoming scarce

The drop in oil prices means the once-booming oil and gas industry is taking a hit.

“We’ve seen some of our [oil and gas] clients cut jobs across the board,” said Laurie. “We’ve also heard that some companies are reducing the number of jobs they’re hiring for. So that’s going to be a much tighter market now, companies are letting people go, rather than hiring.”

Jobs in manufacturing will continue to become scarcer and scarcer over the next decade, said Haldenby, “Especially here in Canada where we’ll likely see a rapid upswing in automation through advanced robotics, smart systems, and sophisticated design tools that seem to do more and more of the heavy lifting for us.”

READ MORE: For Ontario workers, is the steady job an endangered species?

“Just about anything that you might be puzzled by a human tackling today — for safety, economic, or efficiency reasons — is going to be the job of an automated robotic system in the near future,” he said.

Much like how our aging population will lead to growth in health care industries, occupations focused on youth are going to be “hit hard by Canada’s age demographics in the foreseeable future,” said Lyons.

Given the recent headlines of Target Canada closing, putting more than 17,500 employees out of work, retail might not sound like the best career move at the moment. Target joins Mexx, Jacob, Sony, Smart Set and other chains that are closing or going bankrupt across the country.

While the retail market is in tough at the moment, Laurie thinks this situation is temporary. “I personally feel there’s lots of opportunity in [the] retail sector, especially in tech and innovation side,” he said. On the flip side, the current retail closures present an opportunity for retailers who will have a large pool of highly qualified workers to select from.

On the heels of Target liquidating its 133 Canadian stores, Home Depot announced it would hire more than 2,600 people in Ontario, ramping up to its busy spring season.

Brushing up on your soft skills

While keeping on top of industry trends is one important method for navigating today’s job market, job seekers should also take a close look at the skills section of their resume. All of the experts we spoke to emphasized the importance of obtaining and developing certain skills, rather than focusing entirely on specific jobs. Continue reading here for the skills that will travel with you from job to job throughout your working life.

READ MORE: Searching for a job? Make sure you have these skills on your resume

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