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Study: Getting your foot in the door: A look at entry level job vacancies in Canada, 2016

Released: 2017-12-06

Young people starting their careers, those who have lost a job, or are looking to change to a new career path may seek jobs that do not require previous experience in order to be employed. What are the opportunities for Canadians looking to enter into the labour market without experience?

Nearly half (48%) of the 367,000 job vacancies reported by Canadian businesses in 2016 were entry-level jobs. Entry-level jobs are defined as job vacancies for which the employer does not seek a minimum level of work experience.

Of the remaining job vacancies, 32% required two years of work experience or less, while the other 20% required more than two years of work experience.

The results are from a new study, "Getting your foot in the door: A look at entry level job vacancies in Canada," based on data from the Job Vacancy and Wage Survey.

Entry-level jobs can serve as first jobs for recent graduates, but also for those re-entering the labour market or wishing to change careers.

Understanding what employers are looking for in entry-level jobs is also important, because not all industries and occupations require the same level of skills and experience.

Almost half of entry-level job vacancies are part-time jobs

Employers searching to fill entry-level positions are more likely to offer part-time work, temporary employment, and to require lower levels of education.

About 46% of entry-level job vacancies were for part-time work, that is, less than 30 hours per week. By comparison, just 7% of vacancies that require over two years of experience were for part-time work.

Whether full or part time, around half of entry-level jobs (about 87,500 vacancies) did not require a minimum level of education, and a further one-quarter (48,400 vacancies) required a high school diploma. Employers were seeking candidates with a college diploma or a university degree for 20% of entry-level jobs (corresponding to 32,300 vacancies).

By comparison, 60% of job vacancies that required at least two years of experience requested a college diploma or a university degree.

Smaller workplaces are more likely to be looking for experienced candidates

Entry-level positions are more often found in larger workplaces. About 53% of job vacancies in workplaces with 500 employees or more are considered entry level, compared with 43% of the entry-level openings in workplaces with fewer than 25 employees.

Smaller workplaces often lack the resources for training and may require workers to make a significant contribution earlier in their tenure.

Larger firms, by contrast, usually devote more resources to training their workforce in the specific skills necessary to advance in their company, and may also have a more diverse set of jobs which require different skill levels.

Entry-level job vacancies also exist in all occupations, but there are significant variations across occupational categories.

The broad occupation groups of natural resources, agriculture and related production (73%), sales and service (63%), manufacturing and utilities (60%) and health (58%) had the largest proportions of entry-level jobs.

With the exception of health occupations, these jobs are generally characterized by lower-skilled jobs, and a high degree of labour turnover.

In contrast, the broad occupation groups related to management and natural and applied sciences have the lowest proportions of entry-level positions, at around 20%.

Entry-level wages are higher in jobs that require a university education

Employers looking to fill entry-level jobs in occupations that require no education offer lower wages, while employers seeking workers with a postsecondary education to fill entry-level positions offer the highest paying entry-level jobs.

Offered wages for entry-level positions in occupations that require a university education averaged $29.30 per hour.

This compared with $18.20 in occupations that require a college diploma or apprenticeship training; $14.00 in occupations that require a high school diploma; and $12.70 in occupations that require no education.

  Note to readers

Data from the Job Vacancy and Wage Survey (JVWS) were used in this study. The JVWS collects information on the number of job vacancies by occupation for all economic regions on a quarterly basis. Additional information is also available by occupation, for example, the average offered hourly wage, the proportion of job vacancies for full-time and part-time positions, the duration of job vacancies, and the level of education and experience sought for the job.

The JVWS target population includes all business locations in Canada excluding religious organizations, private households, and federal, provincial and territorial public administrations. The JVWS sample of 100,000 business locations is selected from a survey population of approximately 1 million business locations compiled from the Business Register. Sample weights are used to make the analysis representative of the target population. Business locations remain in sample for eight consecutive quarters or two years. Quarterly employment estimates from the JVWS are calibrated to the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours (SEPH) employment estimates.

The unit of analysis is the average of the quarterly estimates of job vacancies in 2016. Each quarter is given equal weight. In any given quarter, about 6,200 vacancies were excluded from the analysis since the corresponding occupation could not be classified.

Products

The article "Getting your foot in the door: A look at entry level job vacancies in Canada" is now available in Insights on Canadian Society (Catalogue number75-006-X).

Contact information

For more information, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca).

To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Marie Drolet (613-864-0691; marie.drolet@canada.ca).

For more information on Insights on Canadian Society, contact Sébastien LaRochelle-Côté (613-951-0803; sebastien.larochelle-cote@canada.ca).

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