Growing opportunities: The top 5 sectors for immigrants and refugees in Canada

Published October 4, 2022.

Estimated reading time: 2.5 minutes

In summary:

  • Immigrants and refugees are succeeding in sectors like IT, health care and transportation and there is huge demand for your skills and knowledge.
  • Labour projections indicate career opportunities for immigrants in these sectors will continue into the future.
  • Many of these fields already have significant numbers of immigrants working in them.

Immigrants and refugees to Canada contribute in every sector of the economy.

Newcomers comprise approximately 40 per cent of Canada’s computer programmers.

They make up 36 per cent of Canadian doctors.

And there are approximately 50,000 immigrants and refugees in senior management positions, in a range of industries, across the country.

However, some sectors have higher levels of immigrant representation than others suggesting career success opportunities in those sectors could be more promising for newcomers to Canada.

We asked Anita Carroll, Senior Vice President, Corporate and Stakeholder Engagement at Toronto-based, ACCES Employment, which sectors were the strongest in terms of immigrant employment, inclusion and might offer the greatest career growth opportunities for new Canadians.

 Anita Carrol - ACCES Headshot-1

ACCES Employment’s Anita Carroll says Canadian employers are looking
for talented immigrants to help their organizations succeed.


ACCES Employment is a charitable organization serving approximately 40,000 clients, annually. It offers a wide range of job search programs including virtual and in-person services across seven locations throughout the Greater Toronto Area. They also work with a network of 3,000 employers to strengthen the Canadian labour force ensuring it reflects the diversity, skills and experience of Canada’s population.

Carroll says among the ACCES’ employer network, many organizations are engaged and hire large numbers of newcomers. These organizations want to reflect their customers and they do so by having visible diversity and international perspectives among their employees.

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According to Carroll, here are the top 5 sectors for immigrants and refugees in Canada:

5) Engineering

There are approximately 500,000 immigrants working in Canada trained in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. According to federal government projections, engineering is projected to be among the fastest growing sectors until the late 2020s. Currently, more than 40 per cent of engineers in Canada are immigrants and with existing labour shortages those numbers will only increase over time.

4) Banking and Finance

Financial services including accounting are expected to be a significant job growth area in the years ahead and it is already a sector where approximately 15,000 immigrants work in senior management positions, across the country. In British Columbia, for example, newcomers reflect nearly 40 per cent of accounting professionals in that province. Canadian banks are also among some of Canada’s largest and most diverse employers.

3) Transportation

Immigrants and refugees make up 56 per cent of Canada’s truck transportation sector. It’s a part of the transportation industry that is seeing significant demand for workers in every part of the country. South Asian immigrants and refugees, in particular, are one of the largest demographics represented in this field. Newcomers who want to work in this sector require specialized driver and safety training but once this is secured, career success is well within reach.

2) Information technology (IT) and tech

From software engineers and computer programmers to full stack developers and user experience (UX) designers, skilled immigrants and refugees are making a significant impact in Canada’s IT and tech sectors. They comprise approximately 40-50 per cent of professionals in these positions and this will only continue to grow with high demand for technology workers being seen in all parts of Canada. Some projections for IT and tech workers suggest employment in this area will grow faster than any other sector in the next five years.

1) Health care

Immigrants already account for one-quarter of the Canadian health care workforce and many more are needed in this sector which is experiencing critical labour shortages. As well, of the nearly 2 million individuals working in health care, approximately 500,000 have or will be retiring in the years to come. This means skilled immigrants and refugees will play an important role in filling this need and taking advantage of the health-care career opportunities available to them. Immigrants are vital to the sustainability of Canadian health care and projected growth is expected for doctors, nurses and in the area of elder care.

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Here are some additional resources to find inclusive employers across Canada:

Canada's Best Diversity Employers

Canada’s Top 100 Employers

Canadian sectors where immigrants succeed


Categorized in: Career Success and Planning, A Newcomer's Journey, In-demand Jobs,