Highest-paying jobs in Canada
The Canadian workforce got off to a strong start in 2020, with unemployment dipping to a near-record 5.5% with the addition of nearly 35,000 jobs in January. Wages also saw a boost, as the average hourly wage spiked nearly 4.4% over January 2019. Taking a closer look at the robust job market, Stacker compiled a list of the highest-paying jobs in Canada using data from Statistics Canada. Jobs are ranked by average hourly wage as of January 2020 and include the number of people employed in each occupational category.
A majority of the top-paying jobs require the minimum of a college degree, although many tradespeople earn about 10% more than Canada’s average hourly wage of $28.52 by forgoing college and undertaking an apprenticeship. Administrative and financial supervisors is the lone category on the list to eclipse the 1 million employee mark while Canada’s top-paying gig, with an average hourly salary above $61, employs the least at just 54,500.
Alberta offers the top minimum wage at $15 hourly while Saskatchewan pays the least at $11.32 per hour. Ontario, which is home to nearly 40% of Canada’s total population, has a minimum wage of $14 per hour.
Speaking of location, the best opportunity for dozens of Canadian professionals is around major cities including Vancouver, British Columbia; Montreal; Toronto; and Calgary, Alberta. Protests over an oil pipeline that began in December 2019 shut down railways and factories, and are still having a major impact on a number of industries throughout the country.
Included with each slide is information about what jobs fall under the category, what skills or education may be required to obtain work, and what the future of some of the jobs may hold. Continue reading to find the highest-paying jobs in Canada.
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#40. Sales support occupations
- Average hourly wage: $14.94 (47.6% lower than national average)
- Number employed: 653,700
- Occupations in this category include: cashiers, service station attendants, and store shelf stockers
Working in sales support occupations, which include cashiers, telemarketers, and service station attendants, often requires little more than a high school education. Those working as cashiers in the casino industry may need a gaming license while on-the-job training and experience are required to advance to supervisory positions. The job outlook for these professions varies by province, with Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island leading the way for growth among cashiers.
#39. Service support and other service occupations (not elsewhere classified)
- Average hourly wage: $16.61 (41.8% lower than national average)
- Number employed: 904,300
- Occupations in this category include: food counter attendants, janitors, and laundry operators
More than 900,000 people make their living in a service support field, which includes fast-food workers, ticket attendants, and specialized cleaners among other positions. On-the-job training is usually all that’s needed to find employment, although a projected surplus of available workers in the next decade in fields such as fast-food attendants could drive up educational requirements. Tim Hortons, Canada’s largest fast-food chain, employs nearly 100,000 people and recently announced plans to “reclaim its Canadian identity.”
#38. Service supervisors and specialized service occupations
- Average hourly wage: $18.30 (35.8% lower than national average)
- Number employed: 650,000
- Occupations in this category include: food service supervisors, chefs, and barbers
Keeping an eye on workers in the service industry falls to supervisors in fields like food service, hospitality, and customer service. A high school education and experience are usually all that’s required to break into the field, although specialized professions like barbers, chefs, butchers, and bakers may need additional certifications or training. Additionally, hairstylists and cooks were among the top 10 professions to seek Red Seal Certification, which allows skills to be recognized when moving between provinces.
#37. Laborers in processing, manufacturing and utilities
- Average hourly wage: $18.88 (33.8% lower than national average)
- Number employed: 114,800
- Occupations in this category include: laborers in mineral and metal processing, metal fabrication, and textile processing
While automation and tariffs have pushed down the demand for these laborers, increased construction activities have helped the job market remain steady. Those in mineral and metal processing can see upward mobility to machine or process operator with additional experience. Canada’s textile processing has been around for more than 150 years, and is focused primarily in Ontario and Quebec.
#36. Service representatives and other customer and personal services occupations
- Average hourly wage: $19.17 (32.8% lower than national average)
- Number employed: 828,000
- Occupations in this category include: bartenders, travel counselors, and outdoor sport and recreational guides
Waiters, waitresses, bartenders, and hosts and hostesses make up a large percentage of Canada’s 828,000 service representatives. Workers in this field scored a victory in 2019, with British Columbia passing legislation preventing employers from keeping a portion of tips, pushing the average hourly wage up. As a result, the job prospects for wait staff are looking up in British Columbia, along with Ontario, Nova Scotia, and the territory of Nunavut.
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#35. Sales representatives and salespeople—wholesale and retail trade
- Average hourly wage: $19.95 (30% lower than national average)
- Number employed: 826,100
- Occupations in this category include: wholesale sales and account representatives, retail salespeople
Retail salespeople’s jobs in typical work settings have suffered a decline, but have been offset somewhat by the legalization of marijuana, which created more than 6,000 jobs in 2019. A high school diploma is usually all that’s needed to break into retail sales; working as an account representative, which can include wholesale sales of food, tobacco, or petroleum, may require a college degree. In February, Home Depot announced a plan to hire 5,500 seasonal and full-time workers across Canada.
#34. Workers in natural resources, agriculture, and related production
- Average hourly wage: $20.23 (29.1% lower than national average)
- Number employed: 111,900
- Occupations in this category include: underground mine service and support workers, logging chain saw and skidder operators, and nursery and greenhouse workers
Working as a hunter/trapper or as a deckhand on a fishing vessel has no educational requirements, while careers in logging or agriculture can take a college degree and on-the-job training. Canada’s mining industry is one of the largest in the world, with the country ranked in the top five for production of 14 metals and minerals. The country is also the fourth-largest producer and exporter of oil in the world, with a large majority of extracting activity occurring on the oil sands of Alberta.
#33. Other installers, repairers and servicers, and material handlers
- Average hourly wage: $21.10 (26% lower than national average)
- Number employed: 269,800
- Occupations in this category include: residential and commercial installers and servicers, pest controllers, and material handlers
Repairing bikes and musical instruments, installing the nation’s sprinklers and swimming pools, and maintaining gas and water lines falls to these 269,800 individuals. Canada is the world’s 12th-largest export economy, and 50,000 dockworker jobs are projected to be added over the next decade. Pest control workers are also in demand in early 2020, after 31 office buildings in Ontario were found to have bed bugs.
#32. Assisting occupations in support of health services
- Average hourly wage: $21.59 (24.3% lower than national average)
- Number employed: 364,000
- Occupations in this category include: dental assistants, nurse aides
Canada’s health care industry is the fastest-growing job market in Canada, accounting for nearly 20% of new hires from 2014–2019. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced plans for a pharmacare program in 2019 that would further the need for these professionals. Some dental assistants and hygienists have strayed from the typical dentist’s office, setting up their own practices for cleanings, X-rays, and fluoride treatments.
#31. Processing and manufacturing machine operators and related production workers
- Average hourly wage: $21.99 (22.9% lower than national average)
- Number employed: 296,900
- Occupations in this category include: foundry workers, machining tool operators, and sawmill machine operators
Machine operators and laborers in the mining, chemical, textile, and paper fields are among the nearly 300,000 workers in this profession. A college degree and years of experience may be required to obtain a position as a machine operator. While manufacturing was declining in the final months of 2019, railway blockades in protest of an oil pipeline in February have forced factory shutdowns and layoffs across the industry.
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