Report: What Jobs are Older and Younger Canadians Competing for Today?

Canada’s aging population is gradually transforming the country’s employment landscape. In 1997, only one in 10 Canadian workers were over 54. Fast forward to 2017, and their share has doubled to one in five.

Older Canadians – those aged 55 and older – are over 50% more likely to work today than in previous years. In particular, women entering adulthood in the 1970s were much more likely to have full-time careers than their counterparts in previous generations. And this group’s greater attachment to their careers has persisted as they’ve aged. This trend has also extended the careers of men, as husbands are less likely to retire if their spouses are still working.

As the Canadian population ages, understanding how older workers are faring in today’s labour market is more important than ever. Indeed’s Hiring Lab analyzed our data to help  shed light on the kinds of jobs and work arrangements older workers are most interested in and how their job search activity compares with that of younger people.

Age-related job search patterns can have a significant impact on the labour market. For instance, positions that draw applicants of all ages could be harder to land than those appealing to only some age groups. At the same time, jobs receiving less interest among younger Canadians could face labour shortages as the share of the population reaching retirement age rises.

What jobs are older workers more interested in than other job seekers?

Indeed’s data shows that interest in different kinds of jobs varies by age. Data from June 2016 through May 2018 shows that certain roles receive an outsized share of click activity from Canadians 62 and older.

We measured the relative interest of older job seekers for specific positions by looking at the number of clicks of this group on specific job titles as a share of all their clicks, and then comparing this ratio to the same metric for total clicks overall. In some cases, the relative interest of older workers in a job is over five times higher than that of the average user. Older job seekers are also more likely than middle-aged adults to click on part-time work, a similar pattern to that observed in the US.  

Management roles in the construction industry – senior site superintendent and construction superintendent – are among the jobs receiving the most disproportionate interest from older Canadians. Driving-related jobs also get much higher click rates from older job seekers, including driver trainers, some of whom are teaching younger Canadians the rules of the road. Blue-collar jobs generally rank among the most common roles receiving disproportionate interest from older job seekers.

Among more unusual jobs, older Canadians were 4.5 times more likely to click on associate pastor positions. Two other interesting entries on the list were French-language job titles, probably linked to jobs in Quebec: pastry chef and car rental agent.  

At the other end, some positions are much less likely to get clicks from older job seekers than from typical job seekers. In fact, over the past two years, about 500 job titles on Indeed received no clicks at all from older Canadians.

Several of these positions receiving the most click activity from younger job seekers were “junior” or “entry level” roles requiring technical backgrounds, such as scientist and engineer. Other jobs that didn’t garner interest from older workers included certain specialized software development positions, as well as barber/stylist. These last two job types fit into broader categories on Indeed that generally skew toward younger job seekers. Surprisingly, neither senior portfolio analyst nor athletic director received clicks from older job seekers despite the significant experience required for both roles.

Finally, older Canadians click on a number of jobs at rates similar to those of the typical job seeker. Many of the most common jobs that appeal across age groups involve office and sales work, including customer service representative, administrative assistant and retail sales associate. Labourer –which includes positions that require varying degrees of experience and physical strength – was another common job that generated similar relative interest among young and older Canadians alike.

How does job interest of older workers overlap with younger workers?

How much overall click activity is on jobs openings with significantly greater appeal to either older or younger job seekers? And how much click activity goes to positions that attract all age groups?

These questions speak directly to the concern that Canadians working longer might make it harder for younger adults to gain a foothold in the job market. In fact, jobs that appeal to workers of all ages could mean stiffer competition for both young and older job seekers alike: If employers place a high value on work experience, younger workers might be at a disadvantage.  But, if cutting-edge skills are in greater demand, older workers could face challenges.

To size up the overlap in job interest across ages, we compared the share of all click activity among Canadians over age 61 and under 30 in three broad job categories: Positions with 50% higher relative interest among older workers, those with 50% lower relative interest and jobs with similar relative interest across age groups.

Overall, we found both notable similarities and differences in the broad job interests of young and older Canadians on Indeed. Roughly 60% of the clicks by each age group are on jobs garnering similar relative interest from both age groups. This suggests older and younger Canadians are competing for positions across a significant share of the labour market, particularly office, labour and sales roles.

At the same time, a sizeable 36% of clicks by Canadians aged 62 and older are on jobs they are much more likely to look at than the average job seeker. A significant portion are blue-collar jobs, often involving driving. In contrast, these job titles account for just 17% of clicks from those under 30. Conversely, jobs which attract much fewer clicks from older job seekers, including a range of analyst and tech roles, make up just 7% of older workers’ total clicks, but account for 22% of clicks by those under 30.

Overall, the overlap in job interest among young and old Canadians suggests a degree of competition across ages throughout a significant portion of the labour market. However, as the population ages, an ongoing wave of retirements is likely to help offset the impact of older Canadians working longer on employment opportunities for job seekers of all ages.

On the flip side, an aging population could pose a major challenge for employers looking to fill some positions that especially rely on older workers. For instance, as more of the trucking industry workforce retires, concern is mounting about a looming shortage of truck drivers, a job that older workers click on at a rate over three times more often than the average job seeker. While this could negatively affect the broader economy, it also represents an opportunity for younger workers with the right skills – that is, for those not deterred by the demands of truck driving and the potential for self-driving cars – to transform the industry.

 

Methodology: This study examined the click behaviour of Indeed users in Canada for the two years ending June 1, 2018. To determine the older-share to total-share ratio, we calculated two metrics for each job title: (1) the share of clicks by individuals with an estimated age of 62 or older for that job; and (2) the share of clicks by all users for whom we could estimate an age. Estimated ages were based on the resumes users uploaded to Indeed. Only job titles with at least 10,000 total clicks by users with an estimated age were included in the list of jobs with the highest relative click share by older workers. About 500 jobs that received at least 1,000 total clicks received no clicks from those age 62 and older over the sample period.

To assess the overlap in job interest across age groups, we categorized job types into positions with an older-share to total-share ratio of greater than 1.5, between 1.5 and 0.5, and below 0.5. After removing positions with no job title or less than 1,000 total clicks by users with an estimated age, we then totaled the shares of clicks by those age 62 and older and age 29 and under for each category.