The national average unemployment rate has hovered around the 7% mark for months now, making it seem at first glance as though the labour market has remained stagnant. But as always, an average number masks the details. There are numerous industries and regions with much lower unemployment than the average and other fields and areas with much higher rates.

The Canadian economy ended 2012 on a high note, adding roughly 60,000 new jobs in November and another 40,000 in December.  Year over year, employment in Canada was up by 1.8% or roughly 312,000 full time jobs. This left the overall unemployment rate at its lowest level since the start of the recession. The Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey for January 2013 is due out tomorrow morning, so we’ll find out then if the hot hiring streak continued into 2013.

(All signs look good – a recent Workopolis survey of top level Canadian executives revealed that one third of companies plan to grow their workforce this year.)

In anticipation of tomorrow’s Stats Can updated job numbers, our friends at Robert Half have written a report detailing 20 fields where candidates are in demand and the unemployment rates are less than half the national average.  Workers in these industries often receive multiple job offers, causing employers to offer competitive salary and benefits packages in order to attract the talent they need.

46% of executives surveyed for this report said that it is challenging to find skilled professionals today, a 7% increase over the last few months of 2012.

Twenty fields with low unemployment and increasing salaries:

Social Science & Government Occupations (1.9% unemployment rate)

Paralegal and related occupations

Lawyers and Quebec notaries


Management Occupations (2.3% unemployment)

Financial managers

Business services managers

Sales/marketing/advertising managers

Business, Finance & Administration Occupations (3.0% unemployment)

Financial auditors/accountants

Financial and investment analysts

Executive assistants


Data entry clerks

Customer service representatives

Administrative clerks

Legal secretaries

Natural and Applied Sciences and Related Occupations (2.7% unemployment)

Information systems analysts

Database analysts

Computer programmers

Web designers/developers

Computer network technicians

User support technicians

Source: A Tale of Two Job Markets, Robert Half


Peter Harris

Peter Harris on Twitter