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For apprentices: Where will the trades jobs be in Canada?

If you’re looking at trades for your career, becoming an apprentice is an important first step (check out Red Seal Recruiting’s handy Apprenticeship FAQ page), you’re likely going to have other questions:

  • Who’s hiring trades jobs over the next 30 years?
  • And in what industry?
  • What if there is a recession? Will I lose my job?
Risks and opportunities when choosing a skilled trade

When setting out on a career, it’s important to understand the risks and follow potential opportunities.
If you look back over the past 10 years, you can see some patterns. These patterns can help you make a better choice about your career.

Trades jobs have done better

First the good news.Trades jobs have done better than other occupations.
Between 2000 and 2005, employment grew much faster in apprenticeable occupations than in all other occupations combined (11.1% versus 8.8%).

How did the recession affect trades jobs?

About five years ago, Canada had a recession. This downturn resulted in trades jobs being lost in 2008. The downturn in employment had the greatest impact on welders (-28.2%), exterior finishing trades (-20.8%), machinists (-17.2%), carpenters (-16.3%) and heavy equipment and crane operators, including drillers (-15.6%).

What skilled trades did well during the recession?

On the other hand, plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitter jobs increased (by about 6.9%!) during the recession.
So it pays to choose your trade carefully.

What does the future hold?

The past few years have shown us:

  • People employed in apprenticeable occupations were more likely to be working full time (91% to 89%) than those employed in other occupations.
  • The recovery has been good for workers in apprenticeable occupations over the past few years; employment growth in those occupations was 3.3%, compared with 2.0% for workers in other occupations.

Who’s hiring? Employers with fewer than 20 employees and employers with more than 500 employees.

Lots of trades jobs in the pipe for young apprentices

However, the number of people under age 25 employed in apprenticeable occupations continued to decrease (-11,500 or -2.4%)
That’s right: young people are not choosing trades, and since our workforce is growing older, it is going to lead to a serious labour shortage.