Occupational Outlook

This page highlights the most promising occupations over the 2021-2023 period. Occupations are organized by broad occupational category.

There could be up to 63,600 job openings in Nova Scotia over the next few years. Almost half of all openings will be from job growth. Much of this growth is due to the labour market’s recovery from COVID-19 measures.

Just under half of the openings are expected to be in the Halifax region. Just over half of those openings will come from job growth. The remainder will come from turnover. Turnover is expected to be moderately higher outside of Halifax due to the older workforce.

0 - Management

Management occupations account for about 35,400 jobs – or 7.8%, of Nova Scotia’s total employment. There could be up to 5,900 openings over the next few years. Employment is evenly split between Halifax and the rest of the province. Managers work in all sectors of the economy.

Positions linked to high growth industries—like construction and the IT sector—are likely to have higher growth. Some – like corporate sales managers – may see the number of positions decline.

Below are the in-demand management occupations:

1 - Business, Finance and Administration

Business, finance and administration is the second-largest occupational category in Nova Scotia. It employs 67,900 workers – or 15% of total employment. There could be up to 9,370 openings over the next few years. More jobs are found in the Halifax region (58%) than the rest of the province.

Economic growth will create demand for many services related to this group – like banking, insurance, and transportation of goods.

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

2 - Engineering, Math, Science and Information Technology

There were about 30,100 jobs in these occupations – or 6.6% of Nova Scotia’s total employment. There could be up to 5,690 openings over the next few years. Most employment (69%) is in the Halifax region. Computer and information systems professional and technical occupations provide the most jobs in this group.

Two-thirds of the openings in this skill level are likely to be in professional occupations. High growth rates are predicted for IT-related occupations. Some occupations related to the natural sciences will have flat or even negative growth.

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

3 - Health

There were 43,300 workers in health occupations in Nova Scotia – or 9.5% of Nova Scotia’s total employment. There could be up to 6,335 openings in the next few year. Slightly more workers are employed outside of Halifax (54%).

Most workers (89%) are employed in in-demand occupations – the highest percentage of the 10 occupational categories. Growth in health occupations will likely be above average due to the increased demand for health services from an aging population. Turnover is expected to create just under half of all openings. Registered nurses and continuing care assistants are the largest occupations in this category and will have the most opportunities.

Below are the in-demand health occupations:

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

Education, law and social, community and government services employed 53,500 workers in Nova Scotia – or 11.7% of the workforce. There could be up to 5,515 openings in the next few years. Slightly more (56%) work in Halifax.

Job growth in this group is likely from rising demand for services like home support, mental health, and child care. However, many of these services are government-funded, so growth is subject to fiscal constraints.

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

5- Art, Culture, Recreation and Sport

Art, culture, recreation and sport is the smallest occupational category with 11,500 workers - or 2.5% of total employment. There could be up to 1,495 openings in the next few years. Most of the jobs are in the Halifax region (68%).

Some occupations in this group were strongly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. They are likely to have above-average growth as they recover. Due to the younger age profile of the main occupations in this category, turnover will likely be somewhat low.

There are no in-demand occupations in this category. The occupations below have an average outlook and are the largest in this category for share of employment.

6 - Sales and Service

Sales and service is the largest group in Nova Scotia with 121,200 workers - or 26.6% of total employment. There could be up to 17,495 openings in the next few years. The share of jobs is close to evenly split between Halifax (53%) and the rest of the province (47%).

Many occupations in this category are experiencing a rebound following the loosening of pandemic containment measures. Sales and service has the second-highest growth rate among the 10 categories. Nearly three-fifths of openings will be from growth.

Below are the in-demand sales and service occupations:

7 - Trades and Transportation

Trades and transportation employed 63,000 workers - or just under 14% of the workforce. There could be up to 8,425 openings in the next few years. The share of jobs is close to evenly split between Halifax (46%) and the rest of the province (54%).

Solid growth is likely in this group due to activity in the construction industry. Population growth is driving up the number of housing starts, while several large, multi-year highway and healthcare projects are also impacting the demand for construction workers.

Below are the in-demand trades and transportation occupations:

8 - Farming, Fishing, Forestry, and Mining

There are 13,100 workers in farming, fishing, forestry and mining - or 2.9% of the total workforce. It is the second smallest group in Nova Scotia. There could be up to 1,430 openings in the next few years. Most openings are outside the Halifax region (80%).

Workers in natural resources, agriculture and related production are likely to have the slowest job growth in this group. Uncertainty in the forestry industry could lead to job losses in some occupations.

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

9 - Manufacturing and Utilities

Manufacturing and utilities employed 16,500 workers - or 3.6% of the total workforce. There could be up to 1,945 openings in the next few years. Job growth will create less than 1/4 of job openings. Turnover will likely be above average. Most job openings are outside the Halifax region (74%). Labourers in processing, manufacturing and utilities may have fewer positions available in the next few years.

Below are the in-demand manufacturing and utilities occupations: