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Q & A: Occupational Demand Comparison

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Q.In viewing your web pages pertaining to Canada’s Skilled Worker Program, I see that many basic science categories (microbiologist, mathematician, etc.) have occupational ratings of only 1, while only computer programmers and some clinical professions rate a 10. Do you think these numbers are a reasonable (if crude) guide to employment opportunities in these professions either for foreign workers or Canadians?

Answer: The General Occupations List represents occupations in which Canada feels that there is a shortage of professionals. Within this list, occupations are given differing occupational factor scores based on perceived demand for that occupation.

The scale of 1 to 10, therefore, is not absolute. For example, an occupation with a score of 10 does not necessarily have 10 times the demand of an occupation with a score of 1. Although such an occupation would certainly have greater demand, the continuum (1 to 10) represents a subset of required skills.

There are other occupations with scores of 10 (i.e., audiologists, chefs, clinical perfusionists). Even within this subset of occupations with a score of 10 units, computer professions are presently leaps and bounds ahead of the other occupations in demand. As such, a comparison of a computer profession (of which there are some on the GOL with a score of 5) with any occupation with a rating of 1 is unrealistic.

In a recent report by an IT employment placement agency, it was suggested that there are 10 unfilled positions for each 7 professionals in the computer sector in Canada at present.