Polygon Created with Sketch. Home | Engage

One in five Canadian employees are in occupations at high risk of automation

Ottawa, ON. MAY 28, 2020 (Globe Newswire) – A new report released by The Conference Board of Canada indicates that nearly one in five Canadian employees are in occupations at high risk of automation with few or on no options to transition into lower-risk occupations without significant retraining. The report, titled Responding to Automation – How adaptable is Canada’s labour market?, lists the top industries where workers are at most risk of automation and with low occupational mobility (i.e. “the ability of workers to switch career fields in order to find gainful employment or meet labour needs”).

The types of occupations that are most exposed to automation are those that do not require higher levels of formal education; do not involve significant interaction with other people; and involve repetitive tasks.  As such, the five industries in which these occupations are most concentrated are:

  • Accommodation and food services
  • Manufacturing 
  • Retail trade
  • Construction
  • Health care and social assistance

The research also identified the groups who are disproportionally represented in the top occupations at risk of automation:

  • Indigenous
  • Female
  • Youth (aged 15-24)
  • Visible minority
Rapid technological change makes it critical that Canadian leaders understand how the adoption of new technologies impacts Canada’s labour markets. Moreover, the current situation we are facing with COVID-19 may act a catalyst to more automation technology adoption.
Harry Sharma, Director, Innovation and Technology, Conference Board of Canada
As Future Skills Centre turns its energy toward building a forward-looking strategy to support Canada’s shift into the ‘reset’ and ‘rebuild’ phases of economic recovery, this research will play an integral part in assessing our next wave of on-the-ground projects to support workers and sectors dealing with the impacts of COVID-19
Pedro Barata, Executive Director of the Future Skills Centre

This research is done as part of the Future Skills Centre, a forward-thinking centre for research and collaboration dedicated to preparing Canadians for employment success and meeting the emerging talent needs of employers. As part of its commitment to the Future Skills Centre, The Conference Board of Canada researches future skills needs, leads knowledge mobilization and convening activities, and facilitates the exchange of ideas by developing a pan-Canadian stakeholder network.

About the Future Skills Centre

Future Skills Centre is a forward-thinking research and collaboration hub dedicated to preparing Canadians for employment success and meeting the emerging talent needs of employers. As a pan-Canadian community, FSC brings together experts and organizations across sectors to rigorously identify, assess, and share innovative approaches to develop the skills needed to drive prosperity and inclusion. FSC is directly involved in innovation through investments in pilot projects and academic research on the future of work and skills in Canada. The Future Skills Centre is funded by the Government of Canada’s Future Skills Program.

About The Conference Board of Canada 

The Conference Board of Canada is Canada’s foremost independent, non-partisan, and evidenced-based applied research organization.  We equip leaders and decision-makers with the economic reports, custom research, data, networks and events they need to solve our country’s most pressing challenges. Our focus areas include Canadian Economics, Energy & Environment, Innovation & Technology, Immigration and more. We stand at the intersection of research and policy, where insights meet impact

Follow The Conference Board of Canada on Twitter @ConfBoardofCda 

Media contact:

[email protected] or 1-866-242-0075

Related Content

Shock Proofing Images collage

Shock Proofing the Future of Work: Future Skills Centre investing $15 million in innovative projects to support workers in hard-hit sectors

Funding for innovation in skills development part of rapid response to aid those most affected by COVID-19 crisis
Man in green wearing mask

COVID-19 dents Canadians’ outlook on employment, but not confidence in their ability to bounce back

COVID-19 dents Canadians’ outlook on employment, but not confidence in their ability to bounce back
2020 Survey Collage

2020 Survey on Employment and Skills

The survey explores the experiences of Canadians relating to employment, education, and training, including perceptions of job security, the impact of technological change, and the value of skills training.