An overview to the job market in Ottawa in pandemic times

Since I started writing this blog, one of the most frequent questions readers ask me is, how is the job market in Ottawa. It’s a key question if one is thinking of the possibility of moving to the capital.

Ottawa attracts people for its beauty, the high quality of life, and its safe and healthy environment, but all those things would pale if the possibility of making a living is scarce, wouldn’t it?

So, in this post I’ll tell you about the current trend in Ottawa’s job market during the Covid-19 pandemic. Certainly, the pandemic has changed the picture concerning the demand for jobs.

It’s well known that the main employers in Ottawa are the Federal government, and the IT (Information Technology) sector. Other sectors in demand for jobs are health care, and business and finance services.

bike path along dow's lake in ottawa
Dow’s Lake

What has been the labor market trend in the last year?

According to the Ottawa Labor Market Bulletin, issued in April, Ottawa’s unemployment rate was 6.3% in March, up 0.2 points from February. Yet, the unemployment rate in Ottawa is lower than the Ontario average (8.9%) and the national average (8.4%).

One interesting fact is that in March there was an increase in job ads in Ottawa, up by 26.7% compared to the previous month, and up 48.9% compared to the same month last year.

The increase was led by the University of Ottawa, followed by City of Ottawa, and Home Depot. In the next positions came Farm Boy, Canadian Tire, IBM Canada, Loblaw Companies LTD, Bell Canada, Scotiabank, and Mc Donald’s.

street in downtown ottawa

What sectors were the most active in hiring?

Most sectors showed an increase in job ads but the one that showed the biggest increase in March was Retail Trade, with 143 more ad jobs compared to February.

Health Care and Social Assistance was the second sector showing the biggest increase with 74 more ad jobs, followed by Professional, Scientific and Technical services with 64.

Accommodation and food services had 56 more job ads; Public administration 42, as did the Manufacturing sector.

Educational Services had 38 more ads, followed by Finance and Insurance with 33; and Transportation and Warehousing, with 29.

Going the other way, the industries that showed the greatest decline in job ads were Clothing Stores; Communication Equipment Manufacturing, Other Information Services, Other Provincial and Territorial Public Administration, and Specialty Food Stores.

view of chateau laurier in ottawa
Chateau Laurier

Which are the occupations most in demand?

The top 10 occupations which showed more growth in job ads in Ottawa in March were Retail salespersons, followed by Administrative Assistants; Other Customer and Information Services Representatives, and Other sales related occupations.

Cooks was the next occupation in demand, followed by Sales and account representatives – wholesale trade (non-technical); Delivery and courier service drivers; Receptionists; Retail and wholesale trade managers; and Material handlers.

On the other hand, the occupations that showed the greatest decline in the number of job ads were Corporate sales managers, followed by Professional occupations in advertising, marketing and public relations; Other administrative services managers; General farm workers; and Web designers and developers.

If you want an overview of certain occupations you can check this out:

Occupation Outlooks – Ottawa Employment Hub011 Administrative services managers. NOC 0111 – Financial managers NOC 0112 – Human resources managers NOC 0113 – Purchasing managers NOC 0114 – Other administrative services managers . 012 Managers in financial and business services. NOC 0121 – Insurance, real estate and financial brokerage managers NOC 0122 – Banking, credit and other investment managers NOC 0124 – Advertising, marketing …
view of chateau laurier from major's hill park
Major’s Hill Park

For example, in the case of Nurses, growth for this occupation was projected at 10% between 2016 and 2021 in Ottawa. The average wage for Nurses is 36.73 dollars an hour.

As for Software Engineers and Designers, the projection was a contraction of 18.7% since 2016. The average salary is 49.20 dollars an hour.

These reports were made by Ottawa Employment Hub, a pilot project in which eight Local Employment Planning Councils participate, with the mission of identifying opportunities and challenges in the job market, make connections between employers and job seekers, and do research and planning.

The pilot project is administered by Algonquin College with three partners: the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce, the Ottawa Community Coalition for Literacy, and the Employment Ontario Ottawa Network (represented by Agilec Employment Centre).

I hope this information is useful to you. If you want to share your thoughts about the local job market, please feel free to leave a comment. Take care.

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