Traditional Careers that Hold a Strong Future

Stable future employment prospects that can be found in some age-old occupations

Each spring finds thousands of Canadian students graduating from high school and stepping into the adult world. At this tender age, our society asks them to make one of the most difficult decisions of their lives. What will their career choice be, and where will they get the training they need to prepare for it? There is one more vital question that is often overlooked. Will their chosen career be in demand when they finish their training, and will it have long-term value in our ever changing marketplace?

Futurists agree on one growing trend, and that is that the workplace of the future will belong to the swift, nimble, innovative, and well trained. The next generation’s success will depend on how fast they can repackage their skills, as they negotiate the currents in this “Age of Acceleration.” The fastest growing occupations demand competency in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Yet many Canadian students are choosing the arts programs at university, an area of the job market that isn’t sparking much demand. Nevertheless, there are some present day occupations which will maintain their value into the future job market.

Nurses are in demand across Canada and will continue to be into the future. Those who specialize in nutrition and fitness for the elderly will be of particular value. For this a Bachelor’s degree in nursing is required and the present starting salary is around $60,000. Licensed Practical Nurses are and will be in demand, this requires completion of a two year diploma course an accredited institution. Persons who are compassionate, caring, with the ability to handle stress are suited to this profession.

People with managerial skills in construction, home renovation, and the associated trades will find work in many provinces for some time. A good contractor is still difficult to find. This career does see periods of boom and bust, so the future is not as certain as in some of the other professions. This job is for those who are natural leaders and who like to work outside. Due to the complexity of many of the more modern projects, construction firms require more education than in the past. A degree in civil engineering, college courses in construction management, or an apprenticeship in one of the trades are all possible avenues to this line of work.

High technology maintenance will be in demand as technology continues to grow at an exponential rate. A continuing larger workforce will be needed to build and maintain these complex systems. Some of the positions related to this industry will require engineers, electricians, and analysts. Software developers will need a Bachelor’s degree in computer science or in a related field. Salaries begin in the $61,000 range. Information technology jobs are very much in demand with no downside foreseen into the future. Many types of software will be part of our future and the ideal candidate for this job is one who is creative and appreciates good design. The software developer will be researching, designing, developing, implementing and testing different phases of the product.

Another outgrowth of our highly technologized world is the demand for information security analysts. The education needed to pursue this career is a Bachelor’s and often a Master’s degree in computer science. As more data is being amassed, so does the need to secure it. This has been brought home to us by the recent hack into the Democratic National Committee’s system in the United States. Cyber-attacks are seen as the new means to wage war. The analyst is responsible to ensure employer’s networks and systems are secure. The challenges in this line of work continually expand as the number of cyber-attacks increase. The starting wage for this profession is about $64,000.

Market research analysts are essential, because markets are in continual flux. Companies need to stay on top of the competition, as new businesses are entering the market all the time seeking a piece of the action. The analyst also needs know who is purchasing the competitors’ product in order to better understand the target demographic. An analytical mind combined with critical thinking skills are necessary in this career. A bachelor’s degree in market research, marketing, or statistics is required. The starting salary is around $50,000.      

Lawyers will retain their value into the future, but this value will depend on their expertise in the following fields.  Areas of practice that will grow in demand are: immigration law, private industry, corporate law, environmental, and labour law. Another area of expertise which will continue to be critical to litigation support is e-discovery.  These lawyers identify, collect, review, preserve and at times produce electronically stored data. In this digital age, electronically stored information can include e-mail, search history and social media posts. This intersection of information technology and the legal process is invaluable to tech-challenged clients. Median salary expectations start around $72,000 a year. The Law School Admission Council reported a 38 percent decrease in applicants since 2010, so demand for good lawyers will increase. This profession involves a lot of schooling: Bachelor’s degree in pre-law, a first level law degree, and then passing the bar exam.

Teachers, especially high school teachers, will see no shortage of demand in Canada. What is required of people considering this career is that they enjoy youth and want to see them learn and grow. For high school teachers the province and territories that will see the most growth will be Manitoba, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and the Yukon. Elementary teacher will find the greatest demand for their skills in Alberta, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Quebec, and the Yukon. A bachelor’s degree in education is required for this career and the entry level salary is usually $50,000 to $55,000. Fluency in both English and French or in a specific tribal language will add to a teacher’s prospects in many regions.

Human Resources is a field that is rapidly growing and diversifying. Workers in this field will find themselves specializing in many aspects of this profession: hiring and firing, benefits, payroll, recruitment, as well as staff development and training. Human Resource managers often make a very good salary, depending on the size of the firm. The average salary in Canada for an HR generalist is 50,000 a year.

Some other careers that are just now taking shape and will be in demand are geneticists, waste to renewable energy experts, and urban agriculturists. With the proliferation of technology leading the changes in our world, there will continue to be a need for the production and presentation of information. This will create a demand for information specialists such as librarians, accountants, and web developers. We are now witnessing the emergence of all kinds of new careers. Many of them will require the foundational expertise of present day professions, so the trick will be to stay aware of these rapidly developing trends. One such trend is the connectivity of things which is already creating changes in the workplace. The service industries will be affected by artificial intelligence and people are even now being displaced in these jobs. The speed at which these changes occur will be driven by a younger, more entrepreneurial generation, who has grown up networked, wired, and hopefully collaborative. They have arrived just in time.

By: Alison Zenisek