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Canada / The end of the Middle-skilled workers ?

Canada’s “middle-skill” employment sector continues to erode alongside the growth of high-skill jobs, an indication that the labour market is splintering between well-paid, interesting, permanent jobs – and the rest.

Canada is not experiencing the same degree of employment polarization as the United States. But it’s not immune to global trends either, which show robust demand for some highly-skilled people and fading need for those in the middle, particularly as automation renders some jobs, such as secretaries and factory workers, obsolete.

“Automation is weighing on the middle,” said Derek Burleton, deputy chief economist at Toronto-Dominion Bank.

Middle-skill jobs, such as administrators and operators, lost the greatest share of employment between 1999 and 2010, a TD paper in February found. Low-end jobs, such as cleaners, janitors and fast-food cooks, have lost a little ground, while those at the high end are gaining. Specifically, the share of people in high-skill jobs has risen 8.6 per cent in the past decade, while it’s fallen 4.7 per cent among middle-skill positions and 1.9 per cent at the low end. (Ontario’s the exception, where low-skill jobs are rising in numbers along with high-skill jobs, with a disappearance of the middle.)

Virtually all industrialized economies, including Canada, are experiencing various degrees of polarization, said Henry Siu, a labour economist at University of British Columbia who has studied the issue.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor

globe and mail

via The continuing decline of the ‘middle-skill’ worker – The Globe and Mail.

The TD Report

Canada / High-skilled jobs in Canada have experienced a notable increase in relative share says TD


The issue of job-market “polarization” has captured significant attention in the U.S. and other ad- vanced economies in recent years. This longer-term trend has been characterized by the relative decline of medium-skilled, medium-paid jobs against a backdrop of growing opportunities for both highly-skilled, highly-paid and low-skilled, low-paid employment. Indeed, a 2011 report by TD Economics … Continue reading »

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