Science Related Occupations

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1 Science Related Occupations

2 Science-related occupations Defining science-related occupations What is a science-related occupation? There are many different types of jobs that could be considered science-related. In this report, science has been narrowly defined to include natural and applied sciences such as biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering, mathematics, medical science and physics. Occupations related to social sciences such as economics, political science or sociology are excluded from the definition of science-related occupations. Professional and technical occupations in natural and applied sciences clearly have a strong science-related component. As well, health professionals are traditionally viewed as being employed in sciencerelated jobs. In this study, technical and skilled health occupations (e.g., medical technologists, lab technicians, opticians and midwives) are also considered to be science-related since they require some scientific training and use scientific tools and equipment on the job. However, assisting occupations (e.g., dental assistants or nursing aides) were excluded since they do not typically require the use of scientific knowledge, tools or equipment on the job. Scientific research is commonly done at large universities, and also occurs at post-secondary and other educational institutions. Scientific researchers employed by these institutions in a teaching position are clearly working in a science-related occupation. However, the National Occupational Classification System (NOC), which is used to classify occupations, includes teachers and professors in education-related occupations. There is not sufficient information to determine what proportion of these educators could be considered scientists as opposed to social scientists, or educators in other fields such as the arts. Therefore, the definition of science-related occupations used in this report includes the following NOC categories: Professional occupations in natural and applied sciences (NOC 21); Technical occupations related to natural and applied sciences (NOC 22); Professional occupations in health (NOC 31); and Technical and skilled occupations in health (NOC 32) The National Occupational Classification System (NOC) In Canada, the National Occupational Classification system has been developed to categorize about 30,000 different types of jobs into standardized groupings. These groupings are defined based on skill levels and training, as well as the type of work that a job typically involves 1. The listing is periodically reviewed and updated to reflect changes in the labour market (for example, technological developments may lead to new types of jobs being done by workers). The version of NOC currently in use was developed in There are ten major groupings within the NOC system. These range from sales and service occupations to occupations that are unique to certain types of industries (for example, miners and farm operators are employed in occupations that are specific to the mining and agriculture industries). The NOC system is hierarchical, meaning that each major group contains many subgroupings that aggregate up to the main categories. A numerical code is used to show this structure. For example, category 2 (Natural and applied science and related occupations) includes two sub-groups (21 Professional occupations in natural and applied sciences and 22 Technical occupations related to natural and applied sciences), which are further divided into other sub-groupings which are numerically coded to show the hierarchy. NOC code 211 (Physical science professionals) is an aggregation of five sub-categories (2111 to 2115) 1 More information on NOC is available at: AboutNOC.aspx 2

3 3 How many people work in science-related occupations? There were 245,200 British Columbians working in science-related occupations in A total of 75,600 worked in professional occupations in natural and applied sciences, slightly more than the 72,700 employed as health care professionals. Another 64,000 people worked in technical occupations related to natural and applied sciences while 32,800 had jobs in technical and skilled occupations in health. Nearly 140,000 British Columbians worked in professional and technical occupations in natural and applied sciences Professional occupations in natural and applied sciences 75.6 Professional occupations in health Technical occupations related to natural and applied sciences Technical and skilled occupations in health Figure Employment in 2009 ( 000) Science-related occupations account for a significant portion of total employment in the province. In 2009, one in nine BC workers was employed in these occupations, making it the fourth-largest occupational group in the province. The most common occupational group was sales and service occupations, which employed one in every four BC workers. Another 17% of the workforce was employed in business, finance and administrative occupations while 15% worked as trades, transport and equipment operators. One in nine British Columbia workers was employed in a sciencerelated occupation in 2009 Sales and service occupations 601 Business, finance and administrative occupations Trades, transport and equipment operators and related occupations Science-related occupations Management occupations Occupations in social science, education, government service and religion Occupations in art, culture, recreation and sport Occupations unique to processing, manufacturing and utilities Occupations unique to primary industry Other occupations in health 40 Employment in 2009 ( 000) Data Source: Statistics Canada and BC Labour Market Outlook, Figure 2 Which industries employ workers in science-related occupations? Every industry in the province employs at least some workers in sciencerelated occupations, but (based on the latest Census figures) six out of ten jobs in these occupations are in just two industries: health care and social assistance and professional, scientific and technical services. The health care and social assistance industry is the largest employer, providing 35% of all jobs in these occupations. This industry includes hospitals and nursing homes, offices of doctors, dentists, veterinarians and other health care professionals, medical and dental labs and other similar types of establishments. The professional, scientific and technical services industry, which employs 25% of the workers in these occupations, includes engineering, computer and software design, surveying and mapping, environmental consulting, and research and development establishments, all of which employ many workers with science-related skills.

4 4 The third largest employer of workers in science-related occupations is public administration, which provides jobs for about 7% of all employees in these occupations. This includes researchers and analysts in federal and provincial governments (for example, in the management of natural resources such as forests and fisheries, operation of computer systems, building-related occupations such as engineers and inspectors, and other types of research). Most workers are employed in the health care or professional, scientific and technical services industry Health Care and Social Assistance 35% Professional, Scientific and Technical Services Public Administration Manufacturing Information and Cultural Industries Transportation and Warehousing Retail Trade Wholesale Trade 2% Other Goods Other Services 4% 3% 3% 7% 6% 6% Data Source: Statistics Canada, 2006 Census of Canada Figure 3 25% 9% Employment by industry, science-related occupations, 2005 In manufacturing (6%), most of the workers in science-related occupations are engineers or computer systems professionals. The information and cultural service industry (4%) includes broadcasting and film-making. Scientific occupations in this industry are largely related to computer services and software development. In the transportation and warehousing industry (3%), science-related occupations include pilots, flight engineers, deck officers, air traffic controllers and other transportation officers, as well as engineers and computer service professionals. Retail and wholesale trade employ computer service professionals as well as engineers, workers in technical occupations, and some workers in health care professions. The forestry and logging industry primarily hires forest professionals and technologists, while the agriculture industry employs biologists and other science professionals, as does the fishing, hunting and trapping industry. Employment of recent graduates Among recent graduates 2 in selected occupations surveyed in 2009, most had found jobs that were relevant to their education and training. Nearly all (96%) civil engineering technologists were in jobs that matched their skills as were 93% of pharmacists and 91% of computer programmers and interactive media developers (91%). Rates were only slightly lower for civil engineers (89%) and software engineers and designers (88%). Most recent graduates had found work in the province. Where are the jobs located? Just under 11% of all workers in BC are employed in science-related occupations. However, these occupations account for a slightly larger share (just over 11%) of total employment in Mainland/Southwest. Science-related occupations account for a larger-than-average share of total employment in Mainland/Southwest Mainland/Southwest 11.4% Vancouver Island/Coast British Columbia Thompson-Okanagan Cariboo Kootenay North Coast & Nechako Northeast Figure 4 8.3% 9.3% 9.2% 9.2% 9.0% 10.9% 10.9% Science-related occupations as a % of total employment, Baccalaureate Graduate and Diploma, Associate Degree and Certificate Student Outcomes Surveys

5 5 This is, to some extent, due to the fact that some types of facilities (such as those providing specialized health care services) are most likely to be located in population centres where they can provide services to local residents as well as people who come from other parts of the province to use them. Similarly, research facilities are often found in larger centres where it is easier to find skilled workers and there are usually more opportunities to collaborate with researchers and students at post-secondary institutions. Characteristics of workers in science-related occupations A note about the data With the exception of unemployment rates, which are based on model data, the information in this section comes from the Labour Force Survey (LFS). This information is not available at a level of detail that would make it possible to exclude non-science-related health occupations from the totals. It should be noted that the science and health category in some of the charts in this section includes science-related occupations as well as some non-science-related occupations in health. Descriptions of occupational groups in these charts reflect the naming conventions used in the LFS. British Columbia, together with the rest of Canada, entered a recessionary period in late 2008, and weak labour market conditions persisted throughout The unemployment rate, which had been at historic lows, rose to 7.6%, with job losses occurring throughout the economy. Unemployment rates in science-related occupations are lower than average Total, all occupations 7.6 Technical occupations related to natural and applied sciences Professional occupations in natural and applied sciences Science related Technical and skilled occupations in health Professional occupations in health Unemployment rate in 2009 Figure %

6 6 As a whole, the number of people working in science-related occupations declined in 2009, but this was largely due to job losses in natural and applied sciences. Employment in health-related occupations was more stable. Regardless of where the economy is in the business cycle, workers in science-related occupations are less likely to experience unemployment than those in other types of jobs. In 2009, when BC s unemployment rate averaged 7.6%, the jobless rate remained low in professional (4.8%) and technical and skilled (5.2%) health-related occupations. It was also well below average in professional (6.7%) and technical (6.9%) occupations related to natural and applied sciences. The jobless rate for all sciencerelated occupations was 6.0% in Most workers in natural and applied science occupations are men; in health occupations, most jobs are held by women Natural and applied sciences and related occupations Total, all occupations Science and health Professional occuptations in health, nurse supervisors and registered nurses Technical, assisting and related occupations in health Data Source: Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey Figure 6 17% 28% 49% 52% 9.2% Males as a % of total employment, 2009 There is a clear dichotomy within this group when it comes to the malefemale composition of the workforce. Men make up just over half (52% in 2009) of all workers in the province. However, they hold more than three-quarters (77%) of the jobs in natural and applied sciences and related occupations. At the other end of the spectrum, the vast majority of workers in health-related occupations are female. Seventy-two percent of health care professionals are women, and they make up an even larger share (83%) of those working in technical, assisting and related occupations in health. 77% Although men outnumber women three to one in the natural and applied science professions, there are some types of professions where women are better represented. Census data for 2005 indicates that 37% of mathematicians, statisticians and actuaries were female, as were 41% of those working in technical occupations in the physical sciences. However, just 10% of engineers were women, and they made up a similarly small percentage of those employed in technical occupations related to engineering. Full-time work is common in science and health occupations Natural and applied sciences and related occupations Science and health Professional occuptations in health, nurse supervisors and registered nurses Total, all occupations Technical, assisting and related occupations in health Data Source: Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey Figure 7 73% 84% 81% 78% Percent employed full-time, 2009 Workers in science-related occupations are more likely to be employed full-time than other British Columbians. Ninety-three percent of those employed in natural and applied science-related occupations held full-time jobs in This compares to just 78% of all workers in the province. Health care professionals were also highly likely (81%) to have full-time employment. However, this type of work arrangement was somewhat less common for workers in technical, assisting and related occupations in health (73%). The earnings of workers in science-related occupations reflect the fact that most of them are highly-trained, skilled workers who are employed full-time. In 2009, the average worker in BC earned $801 per week. Those employed in natural and applied sciences and related occupations took 93%

7 home an average of $1,199 per week while health care professionals earned an average of $1,134 per week. However, weekly wages in technical, assisting and related occupations ($779) were slightly below the average for all occupations in the province. Workers in assisting occupations (which are non-science-related) make up about 54% of total employment in this group. These workers are usually not as highly skilled as technical workers, and that is reflected in their relative pay scales. At the same time, full-time employment is less common in this group, and with fewer hours spent on the job, weekly earnings are commensurately lower. and wages are relatively high Natural and applied sciences and related occupations Professional occuptations in health, nurse supervisors and registered nurses Science and health Total, all occupations Technical, assisting and related occupations in health Data Source: Statistics Canada and BC Stats Based on Labour Force Survey data Figure 8 Average weekly wages in ,134 1,077 1,199 Labour Market Outlook About the Labour Market Outlook The information presented in this section comes from the BC Labour Market Outlook , which is based on a model of the demand for and supply of labour by occupation and region. The model is used to help identify occupations that may be facing potential labour shortages. More information about the model and a report summarizing its results is available at: Factors influencing the demand for, and supply of, labour In order to forecast likely trends in the demand for and supply of labour, it is necessary to consider a wide variety of factors. These include expected changes in regional, provincial, national and international economic conditions since the demand for labour rises and falls with the state of the economy. During expansionary periods, employers are more likely to increase their workforce in order to meet increased demand for their products. However, during economic contractions, some employers may hesitate to lay off workers, partly because the cost of training new workers in the future may be high. In addition, some collective agreements limit the ability of employers to reduce the size of their workforce. This means that when economic conditions pick up and the demand for their products expands, these employers may have excess labour capacity that they can draw on before they begin hiring new workers. Economic conditions are not the only factors that influence labour market demand. In an ageing society, the need for health care workers is more likely to be related to factors such as the general age and health of the population. The need for health care services usually increases with age. With the baby boom population nearing or already in retirement, it is likely that the demand for many of the services provided by people working in health-related occupations will increase. In other words, both demographic and economic factors must be considered when forecasting the demand for labour. There are also many factors that influence the supply of available labour. These include changes in the size of the population as a result of net international and inter-provincial migration, as well as births and deaths. 7

8 8 With an ageing population, retirements and changing labour force participation rates may also be factors. As well, some workers change occupations when they move to new jobs, or simply because they are seeking new opportunities. In some occupations which require a high degree of training, the supply of labour is affected by the availability of training programs as well as changes in the number of students registered in and graduating from these programs. These are just some of the many factors that can influence the available supply of labour. Measuring changes in labour market supply and demand A commonly used measure of labour market conditions is the unemployment rate, which shows the relationship between labour supply and demand. The unemployment rate is calculated as the percentage of the available supply of workers that is either unable to find work, or temporarily without employment. Even when labour market conditions are robust, there will always be some people who are unemployed for example, when they are in transition between jobs or when there is a mismatch between the skills they have and those that potential employers are seeking. It is possible to determine the extent to which labour supply falls short of meeting labour demand by looking at the gap between the normal and actual rate of unemployment. About the normal rate of unemployment There are many different reasons why workers may be unemployed. Some are unemployed because of changing economic conditions. Others are temporarily unemployed because they are moving from one job to another; this type of unemployment is called frictional unemployment. Sometimes the skills needed by employers do not match those of people looking for work leaving some (at least temporarily) unemployed; this is called structural unemployment. Finally, unemployment can occur as a result of the seasonal nature of some occupations; this kind of unemployment is called seasonal unemployment. The sum of frictional, structural and seasonal unemployment is considered normal (also commonly referred to as natural ) unemployment. The number of those normally unemployed as a percentage of the total labour force is called the normal rate of unemployment. For the province as a whole, the unemployment rate is forecast to fall below its normal value in Unemployment rate (%), all occupations 1, Figure 9 Outlook Normal rate

9 9 Figure 9 compares the expected unemployment rate in all occupations to the normal rate of unemployment (which is currently about 5.5%, but is expected to rise to 5.8% by 2019). It shows that in the short run, the supply of labour 3 is expected to significantly exceed the demand for workers 4 and as a result the unemployment rate is forecast to remain above its usual value. However, over the longer term, the demand for workers is expected to grow faster than the supply, and starting in 2016, it is expected that the unemployment rate will fall below its normal value, meaning that the province will be approaching a situation in which labour shortages could be problematic since those who are without work are most likely to be either between jobs, or unemployed because their skills do not match the needs of employers who are hiring. The supply of labour is expected to match the demand for workers in science-related occupations by Labour market outlook, science-related occupations (thousands) Supply of labour Figure 10 Demand for labour 3 The number of people either working, or looking for work in these occupations 4 The number of people working in these occupations, plus those in transition between jobs At present, the supply of available labour exceeds the demand for workers in science-related occupations. However as the economy begins to gain momentum, and some of the demographic and other factors mentioned previously come into play, it is expected that the gap will narrow, so that by 2019, demand and supply will be virtually balanced. This means that people looking for work in these occupations should be able to find jobs, while employers should be able to find workers to fill vacant positions. Unemployment rates are forecast to remain lower than in other occupations Unemployment rate (%) Figure 11 All occupations Science-related occupations It should be noted that a rapid rise in the demand for workers is the reason why the labour supply gap is expected to close. Employment in science-related occupations is forecast to increase 26% by 2019, well above the 19% increase anticipated for the economy as a whole. The supply of available workers with these skills is forecast to expand 23% over the same period, and it is expected that unemployment rates will remain well below the average for all workers in the province. The following sections present an overview of trends in science-related occupations.

10 What s included in this grouping? Professional occupations in natural and applied sciences include: Physical science professionals (NOC 211) Life science professionals (NOC 212) Civil, mechanical, electrical and chemical engineers (NOC 213) Other engineers (NOC 214) Architects, urban planners and land surveyors (NOC 215) Mathematicians, statisticians and actuaries (NOC 216) Computer and information systems professionals (NOC 217) How many people work in these occupations? About half of the nearly 76,000 people employed in professional occupations in natural and applied science occupations were working as computer and information systems professionals in These were primarily information systems analysts and consultants and computer programmers and interactive media developers. Civil, mechanical, electrical and chemical engineers made up 20% of the workers in this group. Civil engineers are the most prominent occupational sub-group. One in eleven (9%) workers in professional occupations in natural and applied science were in other types of engineering professions. These were primarily computer engineers, with smaller numbers of industrial and manufacturing and other types of engineers. Most life science professionals were either biologists or forestry professionals, although a small number worked in agriculture-related fields. Architects are the dominant profession in the architects, urban planners and land surveyors group. Most physical science professionals are either geologists, geochemists and geophysicists or chemists. Physicists, astronomers and meteorologists make up a relatively small percentage of total employment in this occupational group. Half of the people working in this group are employed as computer and information systems professionals Computer and infromation systems professionals Civil, mechanical, electrical and chemical engineers Other engineers Life science professionals Architects, urban planners and land surveyors Physical science professionals Mathematicians, statisticians and actuaries 5% 1% 9% 8% 8% 20% Distribution of employment in professional occupations in natural & applied sciences, 2009 Figure 12 50% 10

11 Which industries employ workers in these occupations? Based on Census 2006 figures, one out of every two people working in professional occupations in natural and applied science is employed in the professional, scientific and technical services industry. Many of them are computer and information service professionals or engineers. Public administration (9%) and manufacturing (8%) also employ significant numbers of workers in these professions, as do information and cultural industries (8%). One out of two workers in these occupations is employed in the professional, scientific and technical services industry Professionnal, Scientific and Technical Services 50% Public Administration Manufacturing Information and Cultural Industries Wholesale Trade Finance and Insurance Educational Services Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting Other goods Other services 9% 8% 8% 3% 3% 3% 2% 6% 8% Employment by industry, professional occupations in natural and applied sciences, 2005 Data Source: Statistics Canada 2006 Census of Canada Figure 13 Where are the jobs located? Professionals in natural and applied sciences are most likely to be located in Mainland/Southwest (which is home to 74% of all workers in these occupations) or Vancouver Island/Coast (where 14% are located). Mainland/Southwest, in particular, has a higher-than-average share of workers in these occupations. Its share of total employment in all occupations is 62%. Province-wide, 31% of all workers in science-related occupations are employed as professionals in natural and applied sciences. In Mainland/ Southwest, where many engineering firms and research facilities are located, they make up 35% of all workers in science-related occupations. Their share of total employment in science-related occupations is 26% in Vancouver Island/Coast. In other parts of the province, these professions account for 18-19% of all workers in science-related occupations. In Mainland/Southwest, 35% of workers in science-related occupations are professionals in natural and applied sciences Mainland/Southwest 35% British Columbia Vancouver Island/Coast North Coast & Nechako Cariboo Thompson-Okanagan Northeast Kootenay 19% 19% 19% 19% 18% 26% 31% Professional occupations in natural & applied sciences as a % of employment in science-related occupations, 2009 Figure 14 11

12 Labour Market Outlook At present, the unemployment rate in professional occupations in natural and applied sciences is well above its normal rate of about 3%. This is, in large part, a reflection of current conditions in the provincial economy. The unemployment rate in natural and applied science professions is expected to remain slightly higher than normal Unemployment rate, professional occupations in natural & applied sciences (%) Figure 15 Normal rate Outlook During the next nine years, it is expected that unemployment rates will decline and by 2019, the unemployment rate should have returned to close to its long-term average. Although the jobless rate is expected to be higher than normal during the period up to 2019, it is forecast to remain significantly lower than in other occupations. Employment growth in this occupational group (+25%) is forecast to outpace total job growth in the province (+19%), and by 2019 the excess supply of labour is expected to have been greatly reduced, as the supply of available workers is forecast to expand by 21% during the same period. The labour market for professional workers in natural and applied sciences is expected to be balanced by Labour market outlook, professional occupations in natural & applied sciences (thousands) Figure 16 Supply of labour Demand for labour 12

13 What s included in this grouping? Technical occupations in natural and applied science include: Technical occupations in physical sciences (NOC 221); Technical occupations in life sciences (NOC 222); Technical occupations in civil, mechanical and industrial engineering (NOC 223); Technical occupations in electronics and electrical engineering (NOC 224); Technical occupations in architecture, drafting, surveying and mapping (NOC 225); Other technical inspectors and regulatory offices (NOC 226); Transportation officers and controllers (NOC 227); and Technical occupations in computer and information systems (NOC 228) How many people work in these occupations? There were 64,000 people working in technical occupations in natural and applied sciences in One in five (21%) was employed in a technical occupation in computer and information systems. Most worked as either user support or computer network technicians. Another 20% worked in technical occupations in electronics and electrical engineering. Most of them were employed as electronic service technicians, with a much smaller number working as electrical and electronic engineering technicians or as industrial and aircraft instrument technicians and mechanics. One in eight (13%) jobs were in technical occupations in architecture, drafting, surveying and mapping. About half of these workers were employed as drafting technologists and technicians, while other occupations included mapping, architectural technology, industrial design and land survey technology. Technical occupations in life sciences (12%) include forestry, landscape and horticulture and biological technologists, as well as conservation and fishery officers and agricultural and fish products inspectors. Of the 10% employed as transportation officers and controllers, nearly half were air pilots, flight engineers and flying instructors. Others worked as deck officers and engineers in water transport or as air, railway and marine traffic controllers. Four out of ten workers are in occupations related to computer and engineering technology Technical occupations in computer and information systems 21% Technical occupations in electronics and electrical engineering Technical occupations in architecture, drafting, surveying and mapping Technical occupations in life sciences Transportation officers and controllers Technical occupations in civil, mechanical and industrial engineering Other technical inspectors and regulatroy officers Technical occupations in physical sciences 6% 10% 9% 8% 13% 12% 20% Distribution of employment in technical occupations in natural & applied sciences, 2009 Figure 17 Technical occupations in civil, mechanical and industrial engineering (9%) include construction estimators, and engineering technologists and technicians. Other technical inspectors and regulatory officers (8%) include public and environmental health and occupational health and safety inspectors, as well as construction and engineering inspectors. Technical occupations in physical sciences (6%) include chemical, geological and meteorological technicians. 13

14 Which industries employ workers in these occupations? Both goods and service industries are key employers of workers in technical occupations related to natural and applied sciences. Based on the most recent Census, one in four workers was employed in the professional, scientific and technical services industry. Public administration (12%) employs conservation and other life science technicians, as well as inspectors and regulatory officers. Transportation and warehousing (11%) employs almost all of the people who work as transportation officers and controllers. One in ten technical workers in natural and applied sciences works in the manufacturing industry. Workers in these occupations are employed in a wide variety of industries, but one in four works in the professional, scientific and technical services industry Professionnal, Scientific and Technical Services 25% Public Administration Transportation and Warehousing Manufacturing Administrative and Support, Waste Management and Remediation Services Information and Cultural Industries Construction Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting Data Source: Statistics Canada 2006 Census of Canada Figure 18 Other goods Other services 5% 5% 5% 5% 3% 12% 11% 10% 19% Employment by industry, technical occupations in natural & applied sciences, 2005 Where are the jobs located? The wide range of industries that employ workers in this occupation is reflected in the distribution of jobs across the province. While most of the professional workers are located in the population centres, the demand for workers in technical occupations is more widespread across the regions. In Northeast, workers in technical occupations in natural and applied sciences make up nearly half (43%) of all those employed in science-related occupations. In North Coast and Nechako, they comprise 35% of all workers in science-related occupations. Their share of the total workforce in all science-related occupations is much lower in Mainland/ Southwest and Vancouver Island/Coast. In Northeast, nearly half of all workers in science-related occupations are in technical occupations in natural and applied sciences North Coast & Nechako Thompson-Okanagan Vancouver Island/Coast British Columbia Mainland/Southwest Northeast 43% Cariboo Kootenay 29% 28% 27% 27% 26% 25% 35% Technical occupations in natural & applied sciences as a % of employment in science-related occupations, 2009 Figure 19 14

15 Labour Market Outlook What is the outlook for this occupational group? At present, the jobless rate in this occupational group is well above the normal level as employers in most industries have felt the effects of a downturn in the economy. The normal unemployment rate is just over 3%. In 2009, it was more than double that amount (6.9%). However, the jobless rate is expected to decline to 3.3% by The unemployment rate in this occupational group is forecast to decline to near-normal rates by Unemployment rate, technical occupations in natural & applied sciences (%) Figure 20 Normal rate Outlook Despite the current slowdown, it is expected that the demand for workers in these occupations will grow faster than the supply, and by 2019, the excess supply of labour will have virtually disappeared. Employment is forecast to increase by 22%, well above the 17% expansion in the supply of available labour over this period. The demand for labour is expected to increase more than the supply of available workers Labour market outlook, technical occupations in natural & applied sciences (thousands) Supply of labour Demand for labour Figure 21 15

16 Professional What s included in this grouping? Professional occupations in health include: Physicians, dentists and veterinarians (NOC 311); Optometrists, chiropractors and other health diagnosing and treating professionals (NOC 312); Pharmacists, dieticians and nutritionists (NOC 313); Therapy and assessment professionals (NOC 314); and Nurse supervisors and registered nurses (NOC 315) How many people work in these occupations? In 2009, there were 72,700 people working as health care professionals in BC. More than half (58%) of them were nurse supervisors or registered nurses. Physicians, dentists and veterinarians made up 24% of all workers in this occupational group. Most of them were physicians. Six out of ten workers are in nursing professions Nurse supervisors and registered nurses 58% Physicians, dentists and veterinarians Therapy and assessment professionals Pharmacists, dieticians and nutritionists Optometrists, chiropractors and other diagnosing and treating professionals 9% 7% 2% Figure 22 24% Distribution of employment in professional occupations in health, 2009 Another 9% worked as therapy and assessment professionals, an occupation which includes physiotherapists as well as occupational therapists, audiologists and speech-language pathologists. Pharmacists, dieticians and nutritionists (7%) and optometrists, chiropractors and other health professionals (2%) are also included in this occupational group. Which industries employ workers in these occupations? Nine out of ten workers were employed in the health care and social assistance industry Health Care and Social Assistance 90% Retail Trade Professional, Scientific and Technical Services Educational Services Public Administration Other goods and services 5% 2% 1% 1% 1% Data Source: Statistics Canada 2006 Census of Canada Figure 23 Employment by industry, professional occupations in health, 2005 Census data for 2006 suggest that virtually all (90%) of the people working in this occupational group are employed in the health care and social assistance industry. Other industries providing jobs to health care professionals include retail trade (for example, optometrists work in the optical departments of some large stores) and professional, scientific and technical services, an industry which includes establishments engaged in scientific research and development. 16

17 Where are the jobs located? Province-wide, professional occupations in health make up about 30% of total employment in science-related occupations, but this ratio varies among regions. For example, in Northeast, many of the science-related jobs are in technical occupations in natural and applied sciences, so health professionals account for a smaller share of the workforce in this occupational group. In most regions, health care professionals make up about a third of total employment in science-related occupations Thompson-Okanagan Vancouver Island/Coast North Coast & Nechako British Columbia Mainland/Southwest Cariboo 35% Kootenay Northeast Figure 24 24% 28% 30% 30% 33% 32% 35% Professional occupations in health as a % of employment in science-related occupations, 2009 Similarly, Mainland/Southwest has a large concentration of workers in professional occupations in natural and applied sciences, so health professionals represent a smaller share of total science-related employment in that region. However, in the rest of the province, health care professionals account for roughly a third of total employment in science-related occupations. Labour Market Outlook The labour market outlook for health care professionals reflects provincial demographic factors. With more people reaching retirement age, demand for health care services will continue to climb. Although the unemployment rate in 2009 (4.8%) was well above the normal rate (3.0%) for these occupations, labour market supply issues are expected to begin to emerge during the next decade. By 2019, the unemployment rate for health care professionals will drop below normal Unemployment rate, health care professionals (%) Figure 25 Normal rate Outlook as the supply of available workers is exceeded by demand Labour market outlook, professional occupations in health (thousands) Figure 26 Supply of labour Demand for labour 17

18 Technical and skilled occupations in health What s included in this grouping? This grouping includes the following occupations: Medical technologists and technicians (NOC 321); Technical occupations in dental health care (NOC 322); and Other technical occupations in health care (NOC 323) How many people work in these occupations? In 2009, there were 32,800 people employed in technical and skilled occupations in health. Nearly half of them worked in technical occupations licenced practical nurses, ambulance attendants and paramedics, technical occupations in therapy and assessment, midwives and opticians. Nearly half of the workers in this occupational group are in technical occupations such as licenced practical nursing Other technical occupations in health care (except dental) 49% Medical technologiests and technicians (except dental health) Technical occupations in dental health care 12% Figure 27 39% Distribution of employment in technical and skilled occupations in health, 2009 Four out of ten were employed as medical technologists and technicians. This includes various types of medical technologists (laboratory, radiation, respiratory, cardiology, sonography, and other diagnostic technologists) as well as veterinary and animal health technologists and technicians. Which industries employ workers in these occupations? Health Care and Social Assistance 76% Professional, Scientific and Technical Services Other Services Manufacturing Retail Trade Other goods and services 6% 5% 5% 4% 4% 20% Employment by industry, technical occupations in health, 2005 Data Source: Statistics Canada 2006 Census of Canada Figure 28 Three out of four people employed in technical and skilled occupations in health work in the health care and social assistance industry (based on Census data). Another 6% are employed in professional, scientific and technical services. Manufacturing (5%) and retail trade (4%) also employ workers in these occupations as do a variety of other goods and service industries. 18

19 Where are the jobs located? Province-wide, workers in technical and skilled occupations in health make up about 13% of total employment in science-related occupations. Their share of total employment in these occupations is lowest in Mainland/ Southwest, Northeast and Vancouver Island/Coast, where there are proportionally more workers in occupations related to natural and applied sciences. Province-wide, technical and skilled workers in health make up 13% of those employed in science-related occupations Thompson-Okanagan North Coast & Nechako Vancouver Island/Coast Mainland/Southwest Kootenay 20% Cariboo Northeast British Columbia 12% 13% 14% 15% 16% 16% Technical and skilled occupations in health as a % of employment in science-related occupations, 2009 Figure 29 Labour Market Outlook 19% The outlook for workers in technical and skilled occupations in health is similar to that for health care professionals. Although the jobless rate is higher than normal at present, it is expected that by 2019, the demand for workers in these occupations will exceed the supply. Employment is forecast to increase 30% by 2019, while the available labour force is expected to expand 26%. The unemployment rate for workers in technical and skilled occupations in health is expected to drop below its normal level of 3% by Unemployment rate technical and skilled occupations in health (%) Figure 30 Normal rate Outlook as the supply of available workers fails to keep pace with growth in demand Labour market outlook technical and skilled occupations in health (thousands) Figure 30 Supply of labour Demand for labour 19

20 Looking to the future As a whole, the outlook for science-related occupations suggests that the demand for these workers will essentially match the supply by However, this masks some very stark differences between various types of science-related occupations. In health-related occupations, labour shortages are expected to emerge by the end of the decade. As the population continues to age, this expected labour shortage could persist beyond 2019, unless steps are taken to attract more workers into these professions. In contrast, labour market conditions for occupations in natural and applied sciences are expected to return to a more normal level by 2019, as the job market recovers from the effects of the recent recession. A look at the characteristics of workers in these occupations reveals some interesting differences. For example, women have not yet made significant inroads into many of the occupations in natural and applied sciences. These remain largely the domain of men. While women significantly outnumber men in most health-related occupations, they remain a minority among physicians, dentists, veterinarians and other professionals such as optometrists and chiropractors. As a whole, workers in these occupations are better paid, are more likely to be employed full-time and are less likely to experience unemployment than those in other occupations. These factors should make sciencerelated occupations attractive to new entrants into the labour market. The challenge will be to ensure that there will be an adequate supply of health care workers in the future to meet the needs of a growing and ageing population. At the same time, even though the supply and demand for labour in occupations related to natural and applied sciences is expected to relatively balanced by 2019, if the demand for workers in these occupations continues to grow faster than the supply, labour shortages could potentially be problematic in these occupations as well. 20

21 21 Table 1: Employment and Normal Unemployment Rates, Science-Related Occupations, 2009 Employment Distribution of Employment (%) Normal Unemployment Rate (%) 1 All occupations 2,259, Science-related occupations 245, ² 2 s and Related Occupations 139, ² 21 Professional occupations in natural and applied sciences 75, Physical science professionals 4, Life science professionals 6, Civil, mechanical, electrical and chemical engineers 14, Other engineers 6, Architects, urban planners and land surveyors 5, Mathematicians, statisticians and actuaries Computer and information systems professionals 37, Technical occupations related to natural and applied sciences 64, Technical occupations in physical sciences 4, Technical occupations in life sciences 7, Technical occupations in civil, mechanical and industrial engineering 5, Technical occupations in electronics and electrical engineering 12, Technical occupations in architecture, drafting, surveying and mapping 8, Other technical inspectors and regulatory officers 5, Transportation officers and controllers 6, Technical occupations in computer and information systems 13, Health occupations (science-related) 105, ² 31 Professional occupations in health 72, Physicians, dentists and veterinarians 17, Optometrists, chiropractors and other health diagnosing and treating professionals 1, Pharmacists, dieticians and nutritionists 5, Therapy and assessment professionals 6, Nurse supervisors and registered nurses 42, Technical and skilled occupations in health 32, Medical technologists and technicians (except dental health) 12, Technical occupations in dental health care 3, Other technical occupations in health care (except dental) 16, The normal unemployment rate includes workers who are moving between jobs, have skills that do not match those sought by employers, or are unemployed because they work in seasonal industries 2 BC Stats estimates

22 Table 2: Employment Outlook, Science-Related Occupations, Employment (2009) Employment (2019) Change in Employment ( ) All occupations 2,259,400 2,687, ,700 Science-related occupations 245, ,668 64,450 2 s and Related Occupations 139, ,448 32, Professional occupations in natural and applied sciences 75,640 94,584 18, Physical science professionals 4,101 5, Life science professionals 6,240 7,352 1, Civil, mechanical, electrical and chemical engineers 14,828 18,895 4, Other engineers 6,682 8,220 1, Architects, urban planners and land surveyors 5,683 7,381 1, Mathematicians, statisticians and actuaries Computer and information systems professionals 37,615 47,096 9, Technical occupations related to natural and applied sciences 64,032 77,864 13, Technical occupations in physical sciences 4,060 4, Technical occupations in life sciences 7,865 8,995 1, Technical occupations in civil, mechanical and industrial engineering 5,531 7,012 1, Technical occupations in electronics and electrical engineering 12,917 15,249 2, Technical occupations in architecture, drafting, surveying and mapping 8,316 10,703 2, Other technical inspectors and regulatory officers 5,098 6,128 1, Transportation officers and controllers 6,634 8,497 1, Technical occupations in computer and information systems 13,611 16,380 2,769 3 Health occupations (science-related) 105, ,220 31, Professional occupations in health 72,699 94,665 21, Physicians, dentists and veterinarians 17,095 22,337 5, Optometrists, chiropractors and other health diagnosing and treating professionals 1,735 2, Pharmacists, dieticians and nutritionists 5,005 5, Therapy and assessment professionals 6,676 8,659 1, Nurse supervisors and registered nurses 42,188 55,577 13, Technical and skilled occupations in health 32,847 42,555 9, Medical technologists and technicians (except dental health) 12,727 16,674 3, Technical occupations in dental health care 3,985 5,081 1, Other technical occupations in health care (except dental) 16,136 20,800 4,664 22

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