2023-08-25T10:57:00-04:00May 22, 2020|

Canada job market analysis: Engineering and Project Management

Engineering and project management are upcoming sectors in Canada. A Labour Market Report published by Engineers Canada highlighted the nation’s growing need to replace retiring engineers, specifically civil, mechanical, electrical/electronic, and computer engineers. The report also stressed the importance of internationally-trained engineers, and federal government immigration programs, such as the Express Entry program, to meet workforce requirements. 

In sync with engineering roles, project management is an essential function among multiple industries such as construction, finance, and information technology, and is often regarded as an in-demand skill. In this article, we will help you understand how to analyze the scope for engineering and project management roles in Canada and make a successful transition to the Canadian job market.

The National Occupational Classification (NOC) is Canada’s national system for describing occupations. The NOC code is a five-digit number that plays an important part in your immigration application. (Till November 16, 2022, NOC codes included four digits.) The NOC groups jobs based on the type of job duties and the skills, education, and experience required for the work a person does. You can find your NOC code on the Government of Canada website.

Here are some of the NOCs that broadly cover all the roles in the fields of engineering and project management:

NOC Code NOC Code Name Example Titles
20010 (previously 0211) Engineering managers Director of engineering research and development, Electrical engineering manager, Engineering department manager, Engineering manager, Production engineering manager, Telecommunications engineering service manager
20011 (previously 0212) Architecture and science managers Agricultural chemistry branch director, Architectural manager, Chief actuary, Landscape architecture manager, Life sciences program manager, Petroleum geology department manager, Research director – forestry, Research director – manufacturing, Research director – mining, Scientific research department manager, Statistical service manager
70010 (previously 0711) Construction managers Construction Manager, General Contractor, Construction Project Manager, Commercial construction manager, Construction superintendent, Housing construction manager, Industrial construction manager, Pipeline construction manager, Residential construction manager
13100 (previously 1221) Administrative officers Access to information and privacy officer, Administrative officer, Administrative services coordinator, Forms management officer, Office administrator, Office manager, Office services coordinator, Planning officer, Records analyst – access to information, Surplus assets officer, University admissions officer, Communications service coordinator, Exam invigilator – post-secondary institution, Exam supervisor – post-secondary institution, Implementation officer, Liaison officer, Public trustee, Regional services chief, Relocation commissioner
21300 (previously 2131) Civil engineers Civil Engineer, Construction Engineer, Structural Engineer, Transportation Engineer, Bridge engineer, Construction project engineer, Environmental engineer, Geodetic engineer, Geomatics engineer, Highway engineer, Hydraulics engineer, Municipal engineer, Public works engineer, Sanitation engineer, Surveying engineer, Traffic engineer, Water management engineer, Spatial information systems engineer
21301 (previously 2132) Mechanical engineers Acoustics engineer, Automotive engineer, Design engineer – mechanical, Energy conservation engineer, Fluid mechanics engineer, Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) engineer, Mechanical engineer, Mechanical maintenance engineer, Nuclear engineer, Piping engineer, Power generation engineer, Refrigeration engineer, Robotics engineer, Thermal design engineer, Tool engineer
21310 (previously 2133) Electrical and electronics engineers Electrical Design Engineer, Electronics Engineer, Television Systems Engineer, Avionics Engineer, Control systems engineer, Electrical distribution planning engineer, Electrical engineer, Electrical network engineer, Electrical process control engineer, Electrical systems planning engineer, Electronics test engineer, Instrumentation and control engineer, Roadway lighting design engineer
21320 (previously 2134) Chemical engineers Adhesives engineer, Biotechnical engineer, Chemical process control engineer, Chemical project engineer, Environmental chemical engineer, Industrial hygiene engineer, Industrial waste treatment engineer, Liquid fuels engineer, Petrochemical engineer, Polymer engineer, Pulp and paper engineer, Refinery engineer, Pipeline transport engineer
21321 (previously 2141) Industrial and manufacturing engineers Computer integrated manufacturing (CIM) engineer, Fire prevention engineer, Industrial engineer, Manufacturing engineer, Plant engineer, Production engineer, Quality control engineer, Safety engineer, Work measurement engineer
21322 (previously 2142) Metallurgical and materials engineers Ceramics engineer, Corrosion engineer, Electrometallurgical engineer, Foundry engineer, Hydrometallurgical engineer, Materials engineer, Metallurgical engineer, Physical metallurgical engineer, Pyrometallurgical engineer, Welding engineer
21330 (previously 2143) Mining engineers Mine design engineer, Mine development engineer, Mine layout engineer, Mine production engineer, Mine safety engineer, Mine ventilation engineer, Mineral engineer, Mining engineer
21331 (previously 2144) Geological engineers Geological engineer, Geophysical engineer, Hydrogeological engineer – engineering
21332 (previously 2145) Petroleum engineers Oil and gas drilling engineer, Oil and gas production engineer, Petroleum engineer, Petroleum reservoir engineer, Petroleum well completion engineer, Subsea engineer
21390 (previously 2146) Aerospace engineers Aerodynamics engineer, Aeronautical engineer, Aerospace engineer, Aerospace structural engineer, Aerospace systems engineer, Aerospace test engineer, Aircraft design engineer, Stress engineer – aerospace
21311 (previously 2147) Computer engineers (except software engineers and designers) Computer hardware engineer, Fibre-optic network designer, Hardware circuit board designer, Hardware development engineer, Hardware technical architect, Network infrastructure engineer, Network support engineer, Network test engineer, Systems designer – hardware, Telecommunications hardware engineer, Wireless communications network engineer
21399 (previously 2148) Other professional engineers Agricultural engineer, Biomedical engineer, Bioresource engineer, Engineering physicist, Engineering scientist, Food processing engineer, Marine engineer, Naval architect, Textile engineer
22300 (previously 2231) Civil engineering technologists and technicians Bridge design technician, Building materials technician, Civil engineering technician, Civil engineering technologist, Construction specifications writer, Construction technologist, Foundation technologist, Highway technician, Municipal engineering assistant, Soil technologist – civil engineering, Structural design technologist, Structural investigator
22301 (previously 2232) Mechanical engineering technologists and technicians Aeronautical technologist, Heating designer, Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) technologist, Machine designer, Marine engineering technologist, Mechanical engineering technician, Mechanical engineering technologist, Mechanical technologist, Mould designer, Thermal station technician, Tool and die designer, Tool designer
22302 (previously 2233) Industrial engineering and manufacturing technologists and technicians Computer-assisted design/computer-assisted manufacturing (CAD/CAM) programmer, Industrial engineering technician, Industrial engineering technologist, Loss prevention technologist – manufacturing, Manufacturing technician, Manufacturing technologist, Planning technician, Plastics manufacturing technician, Pulp and paper manufacturing technologist, Quality assurance technologist, Scheduling technician – manufacturing, Textile technologist, Time study analyst
22310 (previously 2241) Electrical and electronics engineering and technologists and technicians Communications technologist, Electrical engineering technician, Electrical engineering technologist, Electricity distribution network technologist, Electronics design technologist, Electronics engineering technician, Electronics engineering technologist, Electronics manufacturing technician, Electronics manufacturing technologist, Lighting technologist, Metering technologist, Microwave maintenance technician, Production support technician – electronics manufacturing
22231 (previously 2262) Engineering inspectors and regulatory officers Air carrier maintenance inspector, Air transport inspector, Airworthiness inspector, Electricity and gas meter inspector, Elevator inspector, Engineering inspector, Engineering regulatory officer, Insurance loss prevention inspector, Marine damage surveyor, Motor vehicle defects investigator, Railway accident investigation officer, Weights and measures inspector
72600 (previously 2271) Air pilots, flight engineers, and flying instructors Air pilot, Captain – air transport, Check pilot, Chief flying instructor, Chief pilot, Co-pilot, Flight engineer, Flying instructor, Helicopter pilot, Pilot instructor, Relief pilot, Second officer – air transport, Test pilot
72603 (previously 2274) Engineer officers, water transport Chief engineer – water transport, Engineer officer – water transport, Fourth engineer – water transport, Marine engineer officer, Second engineer, Third engineer – water transport, Tugboat engineer
73310 (previously 7361) Railway and yard locomotive engineers Locomotive engineer – railway, Railway engineer, Switch engineer – railway, Transfer hostler – railway, Yard engineer – railway
92100 (previously 9241) Power engineers and power systems operators Apprentice power dispatcher, Auxiliary plant operator, Building systems technician, Control room operator – electrical power systems, Distribution control operator – electrical power systems, Electrical power systems operator, Energy from waste plant operator, Nuclear generating station field operator, Nuclear reactor operator, Power dispatcher – generating station, Power engineer, Power plant operator, Power plant stationary engineer, Stationary engineer, System controller – electrical power systems

Figuring out your NOC code makes the process of analyzing the job market easier.

Tip: For the purpose of analysis, you don’t have to be restricted to one single code; you can look at multiple codes that require your skills and decide which one might be better suited to your situation. 

What is the demand for engineering and/or project management roles in Canada?

Before you dive deeper, it’s important to understand the big picture. Statistics Canada (StatCan) publishes monthly and annual employment trends for various industries. This is a good starting point to get an idea of the employment trends in engineering and project management; any increase or growth is a good sign. 

The monthly and annual employment trends data on Statistics Canada is grouped by industries. As per the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), most engineering and project management roles are categorized under code 54 – Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services. Therefore, when you look at employment trends on Statistics Canada, you will have to look up this specific category.    

Statistics Canada also allows you to filter the numbers by province – this is a good way to identify provinces that have the maximum demand for your skills and know the probability of finding a job in your field. For instance, in 2021, among all provinces, Ontario had maximum employment for NAICS code 54, followed by Quebec and British Columbia.  

Image showing how to filter StatCan employment trends by geography

If you would like to gain a better understanding of the overall job market trends, you can look at the following two sites: 

  1. Statistics Canada publishes monthly reports which can be found by searching for the Labour Force Survey. A general Google search with the keywords (Labour Force Survey + latest month and year) will take you directly to the relevant webpage. You can have a look at the reports of September 2022 and August 2022 to get an idea. Note that these are overall trends and not specific to the engineering and project management sector. However, they will have subsections for noteworthy NAICS categories for that month.
  2. Explore the job market for engineering and project management roles in various provinces by reading a comprehensive report published by Canada’s Job Bank. Once you’re on the webpage, choose a province and then scroll down to sectoral profiles. Select Professional, Technical, and Scientific Services for deeper insight into the engineering and project management sector. 

Tip: For a quick overview, type in your NOC code or job title on the Occupation Trends page and search. Here’s a summary of the role of an Engineering Manager (NOC 20010) in Canada. The main summary page will provide various details such as educational and skill requirements for the role, average wages, and the number of jobs available. Clicking on the Prospects tab will show you a provincial breakdown of job prospects.

This exercise will help you set realistic expectations for being able to find a job in your field in a specific province or region. 

How to narrow your research and identify a city where engineering and/or project management skills are in-demand

Once you decide on a province where you would like to work, as a next step, you can start looking at specific cities that might offer more opportunities to find a job in your desired role. For this, Canada’s Job Bank website is an excellent resource. 

On the Prospects page, when you click on a specific province, it will provide a further split by region. For instance, you can view the opportunities for an Engineering Manager in British Columbia on the same site.  

After narrowing down the region, you can go back to the main Occupation Trends page, type in your NOC and region or city to get a similar detailed report

How to identify relevant engineering and/or project management certifications or licenses that may be required for your role

Different provinces and territories may have different requirements for professional licenses and certifications. Identifying if you would need to obtain a license or certification can help you get a headstart in preparing for your employment in Canada.

Note: All occupations in Canada are classified into regulated and non-regulated occupations. You can find out if your profession is regulated by typing in your NOC code and province/territory on the Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials (CICIC) website. Regulated occupations typically require you to have a license and/or a certification to be able to work in the field.

Considering the instance of an Engineering Manager (as mentioned above), the same page on the Job Bank website will provide a list of skills and requirements (such as licenses and certifications) to be able to work in the field. 

In the case of an Engineering Manager, you’ll usually require a P.Eng. certification to be able to work in Vancouver. To qualify for a P.Eng. license, you must have an Engineering degree plus several years of engineering experience, including in a supervisory capacity.

“For project manager roles, I would say typically, any Bachelor’s degree is essential and/or a Master’s degree is good-to-have. In terms of certifications, the most common ones are Project Management Professional (PMP) and Certified Scrum Master (CSM) – these are not mandatory when applying for roles, but in general, candidates have either one or both.” 

— Nidhi Pilla, Lead Talent Advisor, RBC

Navigating salary expectations for engineering and/or project management roles in Canada

Setting salary expectations is another key area of importance for newcomers. There are many sites to conduct salary research: The Job Bank website, Glassdoor, and reports published by recruitment firms such as Hays and Randstad are some of them. Your salary would vary greatly depending on the city you’re based in and your work experience.

Each of these sources will let you filter your profession by experience level and region and city so that you can get a very real sense of salary expectations. It is a good idea to compare numbers from different sites to get a good ballpark figure. 

For instance, a Project Manager working in Vancouver can expect to earn approximately $75,000 to $110,000 on average, depending on their level of experience. On the other hand, Engineering Managers in Vancouver can earn as much as $150,000 per year.

How to find an engineering and/or project management job in Canada

As a newcomer, if you’re trying to switch careers and get into project management, there is no one path to get into project management. If you have the skills and the determination, no matter your background, you can successfully work towards getting into a project management role. If you’re an internationally qualified engineer, you must first get a provincial license to practice in your field.

How to transition to project management:

  • Experienced individual with any background: You can start with a business analyst role, moving to business systems analysis, then slowly transitioning to be a project control officer, a program control officer, and then eventually a junior project manager. 
  • Experienced developers: Developers with strong coding experience sometimes choose to move into project management in a similar way. 
  • Quality Assurance: Individuals with a background in Quality Assurance (QA) or Quality Engineering (QE) also opt for project management. 

Here’s how you can find relevant opportunities in engineering and project management:

1. Online and offline methods

In addition to Canada’s Job Bank website and other online job search portals such as LinkedIn Jobs, Indeed, Monster, Workopolis, CareerBuilder, SimplyHired, and many others, you can sign up for industry events and register with specialized recruitment or staffing agencies who can help market your resume to potential employers. Industry events in your city or neighbourhood can be found on sites like Eventbrite

2. Get relevant certifications

Depending on your role, a certification might be mandatory for you to be able to work in your field. Getting certified in Canada will improve your employment prospects and strengthen your resume. 

“For project manager roles, Certified Scrum Master (CSM) is one of the more popular certifications. These days PMI ACP, which is Agile Certified Practitioner, is also popular. Additionally, there are lots of training and bootcamps for project management which can benefit those who are starting off in the field.” 

— Nidhi Pilla, Lead Talent Advisor, RBC

3. Build a strong resume

The most important tool in your quest to find your dream job is your resume. Ensure that your resume is always up-to-date and aligned with Canadian style of formatting. Be sure to customize your resume to the engineering or project management role you are applying for. 

4. Networking

Networking is crucial in finding employment in Canada. 

You can use the following Arrive resources to help be better prepared for your job search:

Arrive is with you every step of the way.

What does the hiring process look like for engineering and/or project management roles in Canada?

The hiring process for engineering and project management roles is usually split into multiple rounds:

  • Screening: This is usually a telephonic round where the interviewer will focus on the resume and ask about past experiences, expectations for the next role, understand your motivation for the position, and discuss compensation details. 
  • Knowledge and skill testing: The initial round could be telephonic or in-person. If the interviewer determines that you are a good fit for the role, the initial round is followed up with two or three more rounds of conversations primarily geared towards evaluating your domain knowledge and skills. These rounds may include white-boarding and behavioural questions.  
  • Final round: The hiring manager will usually meet with you before an offer letter is issued. The focus of this conversation is generally on soft skills and cultural fit. 

“I think one of the challenges, what I’ve observed from talking to newcomers is, sometimes they lack confidence in the interview and appear nervous. For that, I would definitely recommend attending a lot of social or tech events and networking because that’s where you get to meet a lot of hiring managers or even recruiters from different organizations. It opens up opportunities and provides a broader understanding of the market. This would make you feel more comfortable to talk in an open environment, even before you’re exposed to any interviews. And after the interview, don’t hesitate to follow up with the recruiter you are working with to get an update on the status.” 

— Nidhi Pilla, Lead Talent Advisor, RBC

On average, the entire interview process can take between two to four weeks, depending on the urgency of the position to be filled as well as the availability and scheduling of everyone involved in the process. In rare cases, it can even take up to two months. 

As a newcomer, to be able to find meaningful employment in engineering and project management occupations, you will require relevant certifications and industry association memberships. You can get a headstart on your Canadian career path by gathering relevant information in advance and planning for your certifications before you move. This will help you successfully and confidently transition to the Canadian job market.