Occupations in Demand (Outlook)

This page highlights the most promising occupations over the 2022-2024 period. A total of 119 occupations were assigned a Good or Very Good call, indicating that a job seeker has a relatively high likelihood of finding work. Occupations are organized by broad occupational category. Some key highlights are:

  • There could be up to 52,100 job openings in Nova Scotia over the next few years.
  • Growth associated with the labour market’s rebound from pandemic measures has slowed in many occupations.
  • Most (three-fifths) opportunities will arise due to attrition.
  • Just under half of the projected openings will be in the Halifax region – due to both job growth and attrition.
  • Outside of Halifax most jobs (nearly two-thirds) are expected to arise from attrition. Job growth is expected to be somewhat slower than in Halifax, while the older age profile of the workforce will result in more workers reaching retirement age during the forecast period.

0 - Management

Management occupations account for about 33,100 jobs – or 7.3% of Nova Scotia’s total employment. Over 4,100 opportunities are expected in management occupations during the forecast period due in large part to an attrition rate of 2.9%, which is the highest among all broad occupational categories.

Management occupations with the largest number of opportunities are mainly associated with sectors experiencing higher demand or rates of growth, such as IT and construction, as well as those still recovering from pandemic containment measures.

Below are the in-demand management occupations:

Very Good:


1 - Business, Finance and Administration

Business, finance and administration occupations comprise the second-largest broad occupational category by employment in the province. The category employs 68,300 workers – or 15% of total employment and is projected to provide the second-largest number of opportunities, at more than 8,700.

An above-average rate of opportunities is expected to be driven in large part by attrition. Opportunities are projected to occur in a wide variety of occupations, spanning multiple skill levels and major occupational groups.

Below are the in-demand business, finance and administration occupations:


2 - Engineering, Math, Science and Information Technology

There were about 31,300 jobs in these occupations – or 6.9% of Nova Scotia’s total employment. Occupations in this category are expected to have the highest average annual rate of opportunities among the 10 broad occupational categories. Approximately 5,500 opportunities are projected during the forecast period.

Job growth is expected to be the main driver of opportunities for this category, accounting for roughly three in five openings. Within this grouping, growth is expected to be concentrated among professional skill level occupations. Further, more than two-thirds of current employment and projected opportunities for this category are in the Halifax Region.

Within this group the information systems analysts and consultants unit group is likely to provide the second-largest number of opportunities between 2022 and 2024. The annual opportunity rate of 7.6% is expected to be the third-highest rate among all occupations and is attributable to a 5.5% growth rate— more than three times the average for all occupations. The IT sector, which is concentrated in Halifax, has expanded quickly in recent years and is expected to continue to do so.

Below are the in-demand engineering, math, science and information technology occupations:

Very Good:


3 - Health

There were 44,800 workers in health occupations in Nova Scotia – or 9.9% of Nova Scotia’s total employment. Health occupations are expected to provide over 5,700 opportunities during the forecast period. Demand for workers in this broad occupational category has been increasing due to the aging population, and an above-average annual growth rate of 2.1% is projected through 2024.

Employment prospects are very positive for health occupations. Nearly 85% of employment in this category is in occupations with Good or Very Good calls. Further, health occupations account for half of all employment in occupations with Very Good calls.

The two largest health occupations—registered nurses and continuing care assistants, nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates—are expected to account for over 3,000 job opportunities combined during the forecast period. The latter (in which the most common job title in Nova Scotia is continuing care assistant) is projected to have an opportunity rate well above average as the aging population drives growing demand for long-term care. Both of these occupations are characterized by a large number of job vacancies and a range of incentives for training, hiring, and retention.

Below are the in-demand health occupations:

Very Good:


4 - Education, Law, Government, Social and Community Services

Education, law and social, community and government services employed 53,200 workers in Nova Scotia – or 11.7% of the workforce. Just over 5,500 opportunities are projected for this broad occupational category during the 2022-2024 period, with growth and attrition rates both slightly below average. Within this grouping, the rate of opportunities will vary by major group, led by paraprofessional occupations in legal, social, community and education services.

While demand is typically high for services provided by workers in this category, public funding has historically constrained job growth in many occupations.

Below are the in-demand education, law and social, community and government services occupations:

Very Good:


5- Art, Culture, Recreation and Sport

This is the smallest of the 10 broad occupational categories by employment – with 11,200 workers, or 2.5% of total employment. This category is expected to contribute the second-fewest opportunities during the forecast period— just 1,500. Many occupations in this category are small, resulting in few opportunities regardless of opportunity rate.

Some occupations in this category relating to arts and recreation were severely affected by COVID-19 containment measures and may continue to recover throughout the 2022-24 period.

Below are the in-demand art, culture, recreation, and sport occupations:


6 - Sales and Service

Sales and service occupations represent the largest broad occupational category by a wide margin, accounting for more than one-quarter of employment in Nova Scotia. Despite below-average rates of growth and attrition, the large size of this skill type means that it is expected to yield the largest number of openings during the forecast period: 11,600.

Since the pandemic, climbing job vacancy rates and reports of worker shortages have been widespread in many sales and service occupations.

Sales and service occupations account for five of the top 10 occupations by number of projected opportunities. Several of these occupations are among the largest in the province by employment, resulting in a large number of openings despite below-average projected rates of growth and attrition. Occupations in the retail trade and food services industries experienced a period of rapid rebound following the relaxation of pandemic containment measures but have more recently been characterized by widespread reports of labour shortages and slowing growth. The retail and wholesale trade managers occupation has also been affected by similar trends as sales and service occupations.

Below are the in-demand sales and service occupations:

Very Good:


7 - Trades and Transportation

This is one of the larger broad occupational categories with 64,100 workers – or 14% of the workforce. The category is expected to contribute just under 6,900 openings during the 2022-2024 period.

This category includes a diverse array of trades. Rates of job growth are expected to be highest in the major occupational group industrial, electrical and construction trades. This is due in large part to a high level of activity in the construction industry, which has been driven by population growth and record capital spending on provincial transportation and healthcare infrastructure.

Over 700 opportunities for transport truck drivers are projected for the forecast period. While this unit group has an expected growth rate well below average, its large size and high attrition rate yield the ninth-highest number of opportunities by occupation. Stakeholders in the truck transportation industry have indicated that there is a shortage of new and prospective drivers relative to the large number of expected number of expected retirements.

Below are the in-demand trades and transportation occupations:


8 - Farming, Fishing, Forestry, and Mining

This is the second smallest of the 10 broad occupational categories by employment – with 14,100 workers, or 3% of total employment. The category is anticipated to contribute the fewest opportunities (900). This is the only category to have a negative projected growth rate; openings are expected to arise entirely due to attrition.

Within this category, more than half of opportunities are expected to occur in supervisory or technical occupations, due to an above-average rate of attrition. Most employment in this category is in regions outside of Halifax.

Below are the in-demand farming, fishing, forestry and mining occupations:


9 - Manufacturing and Utilities

Manufacturing and utilities employed 16,400 workers - or 3.6% of the total workforce. This occupational category is expected to contribute just under 1,600 opportunities during the forecast period. Attrition is projected to be the main source of opportunities, with fewer than one in six openings arising from job growth.

This category includes a wide variety of manufacturing-related roles subject to differing industry conditions. As such, occupational job growth rates range from negative (e.g. in forestry and seafood processing related positions) to well above average in sectors like shipbuilding.

Below are the in-demand manufacturing and utilities occupations:


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Source: Service Canada employment prospect calls/occupational outlook 2022-2024.