|1. Oil & gas drilling supervisor|
Median Salary: $74,880
Change in salary (2006–2012): +39%
Total employees: 16,100
With oil and gas production surging over the past few years, it’s no surprise this job ranked as our No. 1 career. According to the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors, there are currently about 1,200 rig managers across Canada, and demand is skyrocketing. Rig supervisors typically oversee two to three crews (of four to six people), which operate oil drilling rigs around the clock.
|Rig managers generally earn a day rate of about $1,000, which can drive annual income up to the $175,000 to $250,000 range in Alberta, where supervisors average 180 days in the field.||Oil and gas production levels vary. While most forecasts project steady growth for 2013, some observers note that the picture is muddied by the high dollar, low crude prices, booming U.S. natural gas production and ongoing uncertainty around major pipeline projects. Despite that, the Alberta government projects 2.6% average annual growth in this profession until 2016.|
|2. Head nurse & heath-care manager|
Median Salary: $74,880
Change in salary (2006–2012): +24%
Total employees: 25,600
By 2020, about 20% of Canadians will be over age 65, which means positions in nursing and health-care management—a wide swath of jobs that ranges from research lab managers to nursing-home administrators—can only grow.
|Salaries typically range from about $85,000 to $105,000, and some receive premiums for postsecondary education or working evenings and weekends.||Ottawa projects a 30% shortage of nursing supervisors (and nurses overall) by 2020. On the technical side of health management, one of the biggest areas of growth is genetic testing. Reports suggest that by 2017 genetic laboratory budgets will consume up to two-thirds of total laboratory budgets, with the rise of personalized medicine.|
| 3. Petroleum engineer |
Median Salary: $93,516
Change in salary (2006–2012): +17%
Total employees: 11,900
Petroleum engineering encompasses three sub-specialties of the oil and gas sector: drilling, production and reservoir engineering. The job requires a detailed understanding of chemical systems, geological formations and computer modelling.
|According to a survey by the Society of Petroleum Engineers, total compensation rose 9.3% last year. While the median salary is $93,000, it’s not uncommon to make $230,000 or more.||Following the intense skills shortages of the mid-2000s, Canadian demand for petroleum engineers is expected to slow somewhat, according to Engineers Canada. Global demand, however, is robust, especially in the U.S., with the continuing shale oil boom, and as many as 40% of the world’s petroleum engineers are expected to retire within a decade. Growing areas of demand: skills geared to unconventional sources, such as deep water, enhanced or improved oil recovery and heavy oil.|
|4. Electrical & telecommunications contractor |
Median Salary: $72,800
Change in salary (2006–2012): +28%
Total employees: 20,600
For most contractors, success relies on the strength of the construction industry. Although 2012 wasn’t a great year for building, Bill Strain expects 2013 to be stronger. “The whole industry’s starting to gear up again,” says the president of Villa Electric in Surrey, B.C.
|A typical journeyman electrician’s wage ranges from $30 to $38 an hour. Contractors are business owners, so their salaries vary. The owner of a successful one- or two-man operation can pull in around $70,000 to $80,000 a year.||Canada is expected to face a shortage of skilled tradespeople as many approach retirement. The average electrician is close to 50 years old, says Strain. “A huge amount of people will be leaving the industry.” That translates to high demand for workers, especially in provinces seeing lots of new construction, like Alberta.|
|5. School principal & administrator|
Median Salary: $90,001
Change in salary (2006–2012): +25%
Total employees: 32,300
These are the principals and vice-principals who see your kids at the office when they’re caught texting in class. This group also includes the deans and senior administrators of the universities Junior will one day make it to (if he could only stop texting).
|Vice-principals start around $97,000 per year, and principals can go up to $115,000. As management, however, school administrators’ benefits are often worse than those of the unionized teachers they lead.||There will be nearly 7,000 available school administration jobs across the country each year through 2015—thousands more than there are candidates. Recent cuts to education in Ontario have slightly shrunk the prospects for elementary and secondary VPs in that province, however.|
Median Salary: $79,996
Change in salary (2006–2012): +14%
Total employees: 50,800
Once upon a time, lawyers fell into two groups: criminal and corporate. Today, the profession features a multitude of specializations, from tax and competition law to pensions and intellectual-property law.
|According to Canadian Lawyer’s 2012 salary survey, compensation for law firm associates and in-house counsel ranged from $72,500 to $108,000||In Ontario, new grads are facing an articling bottleneck—last year, hundreds were unable to get the 10-month apprenticeship they need to become licensed. But the industry is exploring alternative ways for lawyers to get called to the bar. Overall, legal hiring is picking up in Toronto, according to a report by staffing agency Robert Half, especially for those with backgrounds in litigation and corporate law, and energy-sector employment remains high.|
|7. Real estate & financial manager|
Median Salary: $79,872
Change in salary (2006–2012): +15%
Total employees: 22,800
This broad category (as defined by Statistics Canada) covers a broad swath of professions, from real estate agents to underwriters to bond traders—jobs that have surged in recent years due to Canada’s twin booms: housing and commodities. The pace is now slowing in both areas. But in capital markets, which includes research, sales, and trading, the opportunity for an ample salary remains.
|Wages have been under a lot of pressure since the financial crisis. Still, employees can expect to break six figures, with salaries for senior positions heading north of $200,000. Performance bonuses can add to total compensation, too. Salaries at large foreign institutions, such as Barclays, are more generous.||Industry consolidation and the rise of high-frequency trading and exchange-traded funds are sparking worries about the future of active investing, but cash is coming back to the markets, and initial public offerings are picking up again. “We expect the pace to continue, which bodes well for employment in the industry,” says Lara Zink, managing director of global equities at RBC Capital Markets.|
|8. Senior government manager|
Median Salary: $95,992
Change in salary (2006–2012): +23%
Total employees: 11,600
Top-level government bureaucrats translate legislation—whether provincial, federal or municipal—into actual practice. Directors, deputy ministers and managers control the non-partisan public servants that make governments work, in fields as diverse as fisheries, advanced education and municipal garbage collection
|Entry-level government workers can earn between $30,000 and $60,000 a year, depending on experience, education and location. By the time employees reach a senior position, though, the money can be impressive. In Ontario, the number of public servants making more than $100,000 a year climbed 11% in 2013 to more than 88,000, and some make $500,000 a year or more.||The winds of austerity are blowing across Canada, and the good times for government workers may not last long. Cutbacks are looming in Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and Ottawa. And, as the private sector moves away from defined benefit pensions, the pressure to curb public-sector benefits will likely increase.|
|9. Chemical engineer|
Median Salary: $78,000
Change in salary (2006–2012): +20%
Total employees: 9,200
One of the biggest advantages of being a chemical engineer is that your skills can be applied in a wide range of different industries, from energy to manufacturing to food products and beyond. In their first few years, most chemical engineers do lab work, but after that there’s opportunity to manage a lab, consult for other companies, or start your own business.
|Salaries start at $50,000 to $60,000 for a graduate fresh out of university, but can rise quickly with experience—especially if you specialize in an in-demand niche. Academic and pure research positions can fetch up to $235,000.||The job market is quite focused on the growing environmental sector right now, says Pirani, with chemical engineers doing everything from site assessments and soil remediation to waste audits and air-quality modelling.|
|10. Aerospace engineer|
Median Salary: $75,004
Change in salary (2006–2012): +11%
Total employees: 8,500
Don’t be fooled by the “space” part. Most aerospace engineers work with planes, not rocket ships. The field includes everything from airplanes to helicopters, missiles and satellites. In Canada, the aerospace sector is dominated by Quebec-based companies, like Bombardier, although Ontario and the West also have significant aerospace clusters.
|Aerospace engineering salaries vary heavily. Newcomers who haven’t yet earned their professional engineering certification can expect to start off earning somewhere between $45,000 and $60,000 a year. After 10 years in the field, though, six figure salaries are the norm.||The cyclical aerospace sector is picking up again following a slow decade precipitated by Sept. 11, the rising Canadian dollar and a surge in global competition. Should the tide turn, it can be tricky finding a job in another field: some general engineering firms don’t understand what an aerospace engineer is qualified to do.|