Skills that allow workers to take jobs in multiple industries – rather than being limited to only one – are in hot demand and letting some employees in key positions command top dollar for their expertise.
Human resources giant Randstad notes the COVID-19 pandemic and acute labour shortages throughout much of Canada are creating a new kind of labour market.
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“Job markets are always evolving, but the COVID-19 pandemic pressed the gas pedal on many of those changes,” notes Randstad.
“As a result, employers are looking for candidates with skills that weren’t as relevant prior to 2020. But the coronavirus isn’t the only change agent impacting employer priorities. Economic pressures, evolving customer preferences, highly competitive markets and regulatory requirements also play a core role in the shift we’re seeing.”
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By March this year, job vacancies had already surpassed the record high of one million jobs, to exactly 1,012,900 vacant positions, and the pressure to find workers had led employers to raise salaries by 4.3 per cent year over year.
But not all job hunters are faring as well. Randstad estimates the top job skills sought by employers are:
Although the average weekly earnings of a worker in Canada rose by 0.9 per cent to hit $1,170 in March, some sectors did better than others.
“Of all sectors, utilities recorded the largest year-over-year increase in average weekly earnings in March, up 11.7 per cent to $2,011, followed by finance and insurance, up 12.1 per cent to $1,625, and professional, scientific and technical services which rose eight per cent to $1,633,” notes Statistics Canada.
Across sectors, too, some occupations fared better and are expected to be in greater demand throughout the rest of the year.
1. Software Developer (NOC 2174)
As the people who write, modify, integrate and test computer code for software applications, data processing applications, operating systems-level software and communications software, these information technology pros are in hot demand.
“This is one of the top jobs in part because businesses of all types and sizes need developers to create app solutions, develop or maintain in-house software or help implement cloud or other technologies,” notes Randstad.
“One of the lessons learned during COVID-19 lockdowns in recent years was that technology could make or break a business. Companies that seamlessly transitioned into remote work environments often fared better. Add to that the growing need to rely on data and automation to remain competitive, and it’s no wonder so many businesses are on the hunt for skilled developers.”
In Canada, software developers can earn up to $112,495, based on a standard, 37.5-hour work week, Job Bank data reveals.
2. Controller – Financial Services (NOC 0111)
Controllers run the financial operations and accounting departments of businesses and can earn between $80,000 and $150,000 annually, notes Randstad.
“Larger enterprises typically pay more, and controllers who are able to oversee financial departments or act as executives in accounting arenas typically earn the most,” notes the human resources firm.
3. Plant Manager (NOC 0911)
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the demand for plant managers soared as many skilled employees chose to retire early in order to no longer have to attend typical offices.
Consumer demand, though, didn’t go away and manufacturers needed to continue operating and even boost their efficiency levels and cost savings to stay in the game.
Plant managers who could handle all of that became a hot item. Randstad notes they can make an average of $90,000 to $160,000 annually with the higher salaries going to those with more experience.
4. Computer Applications Manager (NOC 0213)
These are the software experts who manage the teams that lead teams and coach junior analysts. It’s a big job because their teams can be responsible for the tech that runs an entire business.
In Canada, computer applications managers can get paid up to $142,000 per year and Job Bank was already expected there would be 38,100 new jobs created for these managers in the decade ending in 2028.
Since the pandemic, though, the pace of online retail and computerization in the Canadian workplace has only increased and driven the demand for computer application managers even higher.
5. Marketing Director (NOC 0124)
Marketing directors in Canada can earn up to about $131,250 per year based on a standard work week of 37.5 hours, so this is a well-paid job.
But it comes with a lot of responsibility.
“Marketing directors typically have experience in one or more marketing methods, having worked their way up from more basic marketing positions through the years,” notes Randstad. “Part of the reason they’re paid so well is that they’re highly responsible for brand messaging, a factor that can make or break a business.”
These marketing pros oversee their departments, often comprised of several teams, and need to understand all facets of marketing, from the traditional to the digital and even the disruptive technologies, while being able to work effectively with other managers and team members.
6. Sales Manager (NOC 0601)
Business development is a highly-important aspect of any business and so top sales professionals can command salaries of $85,000 to $100,000 even when they are just starting out.
“With experience and a proven track record, they can earn as much as $175,000 annually,” notes Randstad. “They close deals, develop new client relationships and bring revenue in, which is why companies are willing to pay a premium for the best talent.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, assuaging any anxiety customers might have about dealing with a business and building loyalty to brands became critical to the long-term success of businesses. And that plays right to these experts’ strengths.
7. Cloud Architect (NOC 2171)
Cloud architects are the perfect example of how staying in school and developing expertise in an area can lead to big rewards upon graduation.
These are the people who analyze and test computer systems, develop and implement information technology development plans, policies and procedures and give critically-important advice on a range of systems issues.
“These positions pay well because it takes a lot to become a viable candidate,” notes Randstad. “Cloud architects typically have four-year degrees or an equivalent amount of education and experience. Employers may require candidates to hold certifications gained only through rigorous (and possibly expensive) testing.”
The payoff is an annual salary that can hit $117,195 for a standard work week and the security of knowing that there will be jobs available throughout Canada for this work for the foreseeable future. Job Bank gives its highest rating for the prospects of cloud architects in Canada.
8. Electrical Engineer (NOC 2133)
Electrical engineers start off with salaries in the $80,000 to $100,000 range in Canada and can earn up to $132,600 annually based on a standard work week, according to Job Bank.
“Electrical engineers that work in energy and manufacturing tend to enjoy the most competitive pay,” notes Randstad.
“These roles are compensated at such high rates due to the education and experience required and also because of supply and demand factors. A general STEM skills shortage in Canada often drives higher compensation for technical jobs.”
9. Construction Project Manager (NOC 0711)
Employed primarily by residential, commercial and industrial construction firms, construction project managers are in hot demand as the COVID-19 pandemic has driven job growth in this sector.
“Pressures on the housing market and a need for different types of business structures mean more work for construction project teams,” notes Randstad.
Based on a standard work week, Job Bank data suggests these managers can earn up to $131,625 annually.
10. Family Physician (NOC 3112)
Every single region of Canada is screaming for more family doctors and that severe shortage is expected to continue throughout the next decade with less than half as many new physicians being graduated as are needed to fill the available jobs.
At the high end, the average annual salary for a family physician in Canada is $414,390, Job Bank data reveals. Right out of school, these medical professionals earn an average of $83,379 and the median annual salary for them in Canada is $216,864.
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