Young workers outnumber older workers in skilled trades:StatsCan

Wages higher for skilled trades than in other occupations

Despite fears of an aging workforce and a shrinking supply of labour, the skilled trades actually had a higher ratio of young workers to retiring workers in 2007 than other occupations, according to Statistics Canada.

Employment in the Trades found the skilled trades had a ratio of entrants (age 25 to 34) to retiring workers (50 and older) of 1.0, compared to 0.7 for other occupations. Some trades had an even higher ratio, such as plumbers and masons with a ratio of 1.5.

In all, more than one million people worked in skilled trades in 2007, which has seen a steady 2.2 per cent annual average employment growth since the recession of the early 1990s.

In 1987, Alberta accounted for nine per cent of all trades employment. By 2007, this proportion had increased to 15 per cent. During the same period, the proportion for British Columbia rose from 11 per cent to 15 per cent.

In contrast, Ontario accounted for 36 per cent of trades employment in 2007, down from 41 per cent in 1987, primarily because of slower employment growth.

Average hourly earnings in 2007 were higher in the trades ($22.36) than in other occupations ($21.02) combined, reflecting in part the predominance of full-time jobs and the relatively high rate of unionization in the skilled trades. The highest earners were electricians, crane operators and plumbers.

Between 1997 and 2007, employees in the trades saw a 3.5 per cent increase in their average constant dollar hourly earnings, half the 7.4 per cent increase for those outside the trades.

Self-employment is a growing phenomenon among tradespeople. In 1987, nine per cent of those employed in the trades were self-employed. By 2007, this had increased to 15 per cent. a

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