Canada’s job market presents an optimistic landscape for recent graduates, boasting low unemployment rates and sustained job growth, according to professional talent platform LinkedIn.
However, as these individuals commence their professional journeys, they grapple with a world remoulded by high inflation, radical shifts in work paradigms, and emerging innovations in artificial intelligence, sustainability, and e-commerce.
LinkedIn’s “Guide to Kickstarting Your Career” provides a roadmap for recent graduates, shedding light on the top jobs, industries, and skills for entry-level professionals in Canada. The study includes data for individuals with or without a Bachelor’s degree and those with a recent MBA. It examines hiring patterns, remote or in-person, and hiring trends by degree level.
Navigating a Challenging Market
Despite a favorable economic backdrop, hiring for new graduates has experienced a slow-down since the post-pandemic hiring boom in 2021, data shows.
LinkedIn’s Hiring Rate in Canada indicates a year-on-year decline of 34% for Bachelor’s degree graduates, 27% for MBA holders, and 33% for non-Bachelor’s graduates as of February.
While all companies experienced this hiring dropoff, the scale varied. Larger companies saw the steepest declines, with businesses employing 10,001+ witnessing a 40% drop in LinkedIn’s Hiring Rate.
Meanwhile, mid-size firms experienced a 35% decline and smaller businesses had the least decline, though still sharp, at 31%.
There is also great variance by sector. Some occupations have more openings for early career professionals than others.
Software engineers lead the pack, with companies like Amazon, Google, Microsoft, BMO, Desjardins, and Royal Bank of Canada hiring extensively in 2022. Other popular job categories include sales, administrative assistance, and customer service roles.
The Path to Opportunity
Keeping an eye on thriving industries can guide career planning. For instance, the utilities industry saw rapid growth for new Bachelor’s or MBA graduates, albeit from a small base. Accommodation, education, and oil and gas industries also hired a large number of BA graduates.
The transportation, logistics, supply chain, and storage industry experienced the second-fastest growth, hiring across all degree levels. And how about our Canada-wide cybersecurity expert shortfall?
Analytical skills were the most frequently cited on job postings for entry-level positions, particularly for software pros, accountants, and business analysts. Microsoft Excel and design skills were also in high demand. Soft skills like time management, negotiation, and communication remain crucial assets.
While a majority of Canadians prefer remote work, only one in seven jobs for entry-level applicants were hybrid or remote in early 2023, compared to one in four mid-senior level positions. However, this trend shows an increase in remote and hybrid roles at both levels compared to the previous year.
Regardless, if you’re willing to work in-office, you may have better access to more opportunities at all levels.
MBA in Tech
For grads looking to further bolster their formal education, York University’s Schulich School of Business recently announced the launch of a new MBA in Technology Leadership, the first of its kind in Canada.
The Tech MBA program launches this Fall. It is sixteen months in length and will integrate leadership development with a focus on strategic thinking, systems design, digital transformation, value creation, and technology management and integration.
The program is designed to equip students with the leadership and management skills needed to succeed in a business world facing major transformational changes, including the rapid application of artificial intelligence and other technological advances.
Key program features include a workplace internship, exposure to industry leaders, and career support.
“The MBA in Technology Leadership Program offers a truly unique and innovative approach to business education, combining a comprehensive understanding of technology with the critical business skills needed to succeed in today’s rapidly evolving marketplace,” stated Professor M. Murat Kristal, Associate Professor of Operations Management and Special Advisor, AI & Analytics, who has been appointed as the inaugural Director of the Tech MBA Program.
“With a focus on experiential learning, real-world projects, and personalized coaching, our program prepares graduates to excel in leadership roles in tech-driven industries,” he added. “Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur or a seasoned professional looking to take your career to the next level, the Tech MBA Program provides the tools and expertise you need to thrive in the digital age.”
As the war for tech talent continues, companies are feeling pressure to offer exorbitant salaries in an effort to win out against their competitors.
What about candidates that don’t have an official degree but do have the right skills to get the job done?
Someone who has the skills necessary for the job is often overlooked because they lack the traditional degree from a university to back it up.
Non-traditional education methods, like coding bootcamps and other online skills training programs, are becoming increasingly popular. Here are a handful that Tech Talent Canada recommends.
Despite the challenges, the Canadian job market trajectory suggests exciting opportunities for new graduates, while bold new education opportunities enable access to everyone. The key to success is adapting to change and understanding emerging industry trends.