Fastest-Growing SMB Jobs in Canada

Small to medium size businesses (SMBs) play a pivotal role in the Canadian economy. According to Statistics Canada, as of December 2015, there were 1.17 million employer businesses in Canada, 98% of which were small businesses.

For most SMBs, being lean is a crucial ingredient in the recipe for success. But due to their sheer volume, small businesses are responsible for employing a large number of people in Canada – 8.2 million in 2014, to be exact. And to further prove their impact, small businesses were responsible for 88% of net employment change between 2005 and 2015 (1.2 million jobs).

Indeed’s data science team pinpointed the fastest-growing SMB jobs based on the highest growth in the number of job postings from 2015-2018. What roles have sparked the most employer demand among small business owners? Read on to find out!

Medical and food-related industries are prominent on the list

The fastest-growing SMB jobs are within the medical and food and beverage industries, earning seven of the 10 spots on the list.

Dental hygienist is the fastest-growing SMB job in Canada, up 285% between 2015 and 2018. This profession was accompanied by other dental-related roles including dental assistant and dental receptionist, up 126% and 78% respectively. The growing number of dental roles could be attributed to the oversupply of dentists, especially in major Canadian cities. As dentists continue to open up their own practices, they will continue to seek out professionals to help operate their businesses. And thus, demand for these types of roles will persist.

Dentists are not the only medical job showing growth, with medical receptionist witnessing an increase of 68% from 2015 to 2018.

Jobs within the food and beverage industry were also front runners, with roles such as line cook/prep cook (+151%) and barista (+126) witnessing tremendous growth. This was relatively unsurprising considering Canada’s booming restaurant scene, punctuated by strong consumer demand, a rebound in consumer confidence and an increase in tourism spending, which has resulted in higher foodservice sales. Moreover, unlike many other professions, these types of jobs are less susceptible to automation, so demand will likely continue.

Crew member, which spans a variety of sectors such as the food and trade industries, had an increase of 102%. Despite the increasing number of media reports detailing “the retail apocalypse,” this sector also made an appearance on the list with customer service associate/cashier up 85%. This suggests that there’s more to the story than what meets the eye. Customer service associate/cashier was followed by sheet metal mechanic, up 78%.

One surprising finding was that traditional industries reigned while tech-related jobs were noticeably absent from the list. This was an unexpected result considering the enormous demand for tech-related roles from companies in various industries.

What provinces have the most SMB jobs?

Some areas within Canada are witnessing more employer demand for SMB jobs than others.

More than half of Canada’s small employer businesses are concentrated in Ontario and Quebec (407,185 and 235,075 respectively). Western Canada also has a robust small business community, led by British Columbia with 176,014 small businesses as of December 2015.

Due to the geographic concentration of small businesses, it’s no surprise that these regions have the highest concentration of SMB jobs in Canada. Ontario takes the lead with 49% of SMB jobs located in the province, followed by British Columbia at 19% and Quebec at 14%.

The growing hiring challenges for small business owners

Finding the right employee is one of the biggest challenges small business owners face. According to a recent Indeed survey, 59% of SMB owners find it very difficult or somewhat difficult to find the right employee.

Looking to fill popular roles – such as these fastest-growing SMB jobs – can be even more difficult, as there is increased competition for talent. There are, however, ways to overcome these challenges. If you’re a small business owner looking to fill these high-demand positions, keep the following tips in mind.

  1. Embrace technology:  Most people are searching for jobs online. Putting your posting where people are looking for jobs will not only maximize its exposure, but increase your odds of hiring the most qualified candidate. You can also encourage your local community to increase your posting’s visibility and crowdsource talent for you with Indeed’s Job Spotter app. This tool incentivizes people to take a picture of local job ads and upload them to Indeed – at no cost to you.
  2. Help candidates apply from anywhere: According to Indeed data, 65% of all job searches are done via mobile, and companies who accept mobile applications receive up to eight times as many applicants. Candidates are looking to apply for jobs while on the go, so ensure your job posting is optimized for both mobile viewing and applying.
  3. Offer and highlight perks: Whether it’s free snacks, a relaxed work environment or even a flexible dress code, small businesses can offer creative perks. Benefits like these not only improve employee experience, but also pique job seekers’ interest. Stand out from other employers – big or small – by including your perks in the job description.   
  4. Develop your employee brand: Third party review sites such as Indeed’s Company Pages encourage current employees to post company reviews and have a transparent conversation about your company. According to an Indeed survey1,  83% of respondents say employer reviews influenced their decision on where to apply. That said, providing a platform for people to rank and advocate for your company is critical to attracting new talent.



To identify the fastest growing SMB jobs in Canada, we calculated the number of postings per one million postings in the first three months of 2018 compared to the first three months of 2015 and calculated the % change between the two timeframes.

To identify the regions with the highest share of SMB postings in Canada we calculated % of SMB jobs in each province in Canada between February 2018 and April 2018.

1Redshift Research on behalf of Indeed