Waterloo Region has many jobs in a wide range of industries from agriculture to information technology.

The labour market is the market in which workers compete for jobs and employers compete for workers.  Labour market information tells us what happened in the past and tries to predict what will happen in the future.  Labour market information includes data on job opportunities, employment, qualifications and wages.

Labour market information helps you find out how hard it will be to find a job in a specific industry and location.  Remember that industry and job trends change and may be very different when you apply to come to Canada and when you arrive.

Most of the statistics on this page are for the Kitchener Census Metropolitan Area, and include all of Waterloo Region except the townships of Wilmot and Wellesley.

Employment in Waterloo Region

The Waterloo Region area has a very diverse economy and historically one of the lowest unemployment rates in Ontario.  Find out the current unemployment rate in the Waterloo Region area on the Waterloo Wellington Training and Adjustment Board website.

The Bank of Montreal 2008 Regional Economic Update for the Waterloo Region area expects growth in  Waterloo Region to be greater than the Ontario and Canadian rates.

These statistics offer information about job trends across many industries in Waterloo Region.  To better understand how easy or hard it may be to find a job in Waterloo Region, read about your industry below or research your job title using the Working in Canada Tool. Remember that, while the unemployment rate in Waterloo Region is lower than that in many other communities, it can still be a challenge to find a job.  For more information and tips about finding a job see Career Counselling and Job Search.

Key Industries and Trends

The information below summarizes the following resources:

  • Workforce Planning Board – Trends, Opportunities and Priorities Report from January 2008
  • Workforce Planning Board – Workforce Focus – Promising Occupations Report from May 2009
  • Canada’s Technology Triangle Inc (CTT) industry profiles
  • Communitech 2008 Waterloo Region Tech Directory – State of the Industry Report

Agriculture/Agribusiness: Waterloo Region’s farming communities are an important part of our culture and economy.  The number of job opportunities and the number of people employed is increasing.

Retail/Wholesale Trade: The number of people working in this industry has dropped.  Waterloo-Wellington salaries are generally higher than those in Ontario, except for cashiers.

Construction and Skilled Trades: This industry is very active and is an important part of our economy.  Employment trends in the construction industry are unpredictable.  There is a shortage of skilled trades people and that shortage is likely to increase as construction workers age.  Workers need high skill levels.

Education:  Waterloo Region has many schools. The University of Waterloo is well known for its computer science, mathematics and engineering programs. The University is home to the Institute for Quantum Computing, and works with the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. Wilfrid Laurier University is known for its business and economics programs. Conestoga College is consistently the top-ranked college in Ontario. Waterloo Region also has the Centre for International Governance Innovation and many excellent school boards including the Waterloo Region District School Board and Waterloo Catholic District School Board.

Finance and Business Services:   Waterloo Region is a major Canadian financial centre. We have over 12 major insurance operations that employ over 7,000 people. Well-known financial and professional service firms are choosing Waterloo Region for their Southwestern Ontario offices.  Canada’s Technology Triangle Inc. has more information on companies in the Business and Financial Services industry.

Health Care and Social Assistance:  WWTAB’s Human Health resources study showed that a large number of nurses will be needed soon and in the coming years.  Family doctors will also be needed in the coming years.

Manufacturing: Manufacturing jobs are a big part of the employment in Waterloo Region.  This industry makes new products or semi-finished products with physical or chemical processes. These products are often sold to other industries.  Jobs working with certain materials, products, or foods are part of other sectors like agriculture, forestry, mining, construction, and retail services.  From September 2006 to October 2007 the manufacturing sector lost many jobs. The number of jobs fell from 64,000 to 57,000.

Technology: Waterloo Region is known around the world for its high tech industry and is often called Canada’s Technology Triangle (CTT).  More than 400 high tech companies employ over 18,000 people. The Region also has 150 research institutes and $290 million in Private-Sector Research and Development (2004). From September 2006 to October 2007 the Information Technology sector had huge growth and offered many new highly skilled jobs.  CTT high tech industry overview, and Communitech’s tech zone “cheat sheet” have information about the technology industries and companies in Waterloo Region.

Transportation, Warehousing and Logistics: In Waterloo Region there are many companies that carry people or goods from one place to another because we are next to Highway 401 and near major transportation hubs. Recently, competition and the high Canadian dollar are placing stress on these companies.  Many companies are still hiring, but others have taken trucks off the road.

You may also be interested in career strategies, career counseling and job search and the cost of livingin Waterloo Region.