While we’ve spent a lot of time on the blog looking at tech sectors in the US, we’ve never looked at their Canadian equivalents. To get a data-driven picture of some of the leading tech sectors in Canada and the US, we looked at the industries in Purdue University’s information technology and telecommunications cluster, which EMSI provides as a template group with its Canadian data.
We trimmed one industry (4173, computer and communications equipment and supplies wholesaler-distributors) because American NAICS codes don’t include a precise equivalent. That left us with 10 4-digit industries to compare across the border:
- 3342: Communications equipment manufacturing
- 3343: Audio and video equipment manufacturing
- 3346: Manufacturing and reproducing magnetic and optical media
- 5171: Wired telecommunications carriers
- 5172: Wireless telecommunications carriers (except satellite)
- 5174: Satellite telecommunications
- 5179: Other telecommunications
- 5182: Data processing, hosting, and related services
- 5191: Other information services
- 5415: Computer systems design and related services
While the shared NAICS system makes comparing industries between the US and Canada possible, the vastly different sizes of the two economies makes it difficult to get any real sense of their relationship from simple numbers of jobs. To get a better idea of how they’re related, this chart shows how each industry has grown or declined since 2009, using both employee and self-employed data for both the US and Canada:
While overall the two economies’ growth rates are very similar (3% in the US, 5% in Canada), breaking the numbers down by industry reveals significant differences. Although their overall growth seems promising, US industries in the cluster are significantly more volatile, with a wide range of different growth rates. Canadian industries, on the other hand, are relatively consistent – with one major exception.
Canada’s growth appears to be heavily weighed down by that drastic 45% decline in satellite communication. But that industry is the second smallest in the cluster, at only 1,739 jobs. Other than that, Canada and US growth patterns are similar. Canada, however, is significantly outdoing the US in wireless telecommunications. While the wireless telecommunication industry declined precipitously – 17% – the Canadian equivalent grew a remarkable 22%.
It’s also worth noting that the industries in the cluster play a larger role in Canada’s economy than their US counterparts. In Canada, 2.8% of the workforce was employed in these 10 industries, while in the US these industries employed 2.2% of the national labor pool.
So where are the best areas for these industries, across the continent? Looking at top MSAs in the US, most of the answers are unsurprising. Here are the MSAs that have added the most jobs, with the area’s total jobs in parentheses:
While seeing New York, San Jose, and Seattle on the list is not unexpected, it’s interesting to see cities like Columbus, Atlanta, and Minneapolis-St. Paul making significant job gains.
Meanwhile, Canada also has a few surprises. Here are the census divisions that have made the most significant gains:
Census divisions are smaller population areas than MSAs, so these are smaller growth numbers. But while it’s no surprise to see Montreal adding jobs rapidly, the four-figure growth in Halton is fascinating to observe, as is the relatively high number of new jobs in the Capital (Victoria, BC) census division.
To get an idea of what occupations are staffing the growth of these sectors, we used Analyst to find the occupations with the most jobs in the industry group. These are the top 10 occupations for Canada:
NOC-S Occupation Employed in Industry Group (2012) Change since 2009 % Change % of the Total Jobs in Industry Group (2011) Median Hourly Earnings
Source: Employees & Self-Employed - EMSI 2012.4
C074 Computer programmers and interactive media developers 40,666 3,557 10% 11.4% $31.25
C071 Information systems analysts and consultants 36,606 6,117 20% 10.2% $34.83
C182 User support technicians 20,257 (386) (2%) 5.6% $22.50
B553 Customer service, information and related clerks 19,961 (372) (2%) 5.6% $16.02
G121 Technical sales specialists, wholesale trade 13,464 959 8% 3.8% $23.44
C073 Software engineers and designers 12,694 1,469 13% 3.6% $37.77
H216 Telecommunications installation and repair workers 12,518 1,626 15% 3.5% $24.33
A122 Computer and information systems managers 11,701 (904) (7%) 3.3% $41.09
C181 Computer network technicians 10,942 209 2% 3.1% $27.88
A311 Telecommunication carriers managers 8,082 38 0% 2.3% $37.21
And these are the top 10 for the US:
SOC Occupation Employed in Industry Group (2012) Change since 2009 % Change % of the Total Jobs in Industry Group (2012) Median Hourly Earnings
Source: EMSI Complete Employment - 2013.1
15-1130 Software Developers and Programmers 547,894 64,079 13% 18.1% $42.33
15-1150 Computer Support Specialists 180,119 11,501 7% 6.0% $23.57
15-1120 Computer and Information Analysts 176,245 15,157 9% 5.8% $38.05
43-4050 Customer Service Representatives 159,581 (9,995) (6%) 5.3% $14.88
49-2020 Radio and Telecommunications Equipment Installers and Repairers 140,859 (14,447) (9%) 4.7% $26.04
41-3090 Miscellaneous Sales Representatives, Services 129,026 (7,077) (5%) 4.3% $24.81
15-1140 Database and Systems Administrators and Network Architects 114,750 7,784 7% 3.8% $34.90
15-1170 Information Security Analysts, Web Developers, and Computer Network Architects 109,928 8,502 8% 3.6% $37.74
49-9050 Line Installers and Repairers 85,271 (10,091) (11%) 2.8% $27.04
11-3020 Computer and Information Systems Managers 83,620 6,607 9% 2.8% $57.23
While the occupations with the most jobs in the US industry pay more than their Canadian counterparts, they’re also tending to shed jobs where Canada is adding them. The conclusion, then? While jobs in communications technology are a good bet in both countries, Canada’s younger, faster-growing industries appear to offer better opportunities. The jobs that are available in the US pay more – but the jobs in Canada appear more readily available. As Canada’s tech industry continues to grow, average wages can be expected to move towards US levels. It will be interesting to see how these industries play out over the next few years.
Data for this post came from Analyst, EMSI’s web-based labor market data and analysis tool. For more information, contact Josh Wright (email@example.com). Follow us on Twitter @DesktopEcon.