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Service Industry

Updated: May 23rd, 2023

The service industry in Canada has experienced significant growth and has become a vital component of the country's economy. Services have come to dominate the economies of all advanced countries, and Canada is no exception.

As of 2017, services in Canada accounted for a substantial 70.5 percent of Canadian GDP, showcasing a remarkable increase from 57.3 percent in 1961. This growth was particularly notable in the 1960s and 1980s, when the services share of the economy expanded significantly.

The service industry encompasses a wide range of sectors, including retail, transport, distribution, food services, professional services, and other service-dominated businesses. These industries primarily generate revenue through the provision of intangible products and services.

Working in the service industry offers diverse job opportunities for newcomers to contribute to the economy and society. Whether it's providing customer service, delivering goods, or offering specialized expertise, the service industry plays a pivotal role in Canada's economic landscape.

Let’s take a look into the service industry in Canada as well as how you can work in the service industry as a newcomer to the Great White North.

Service Industry in Canada

Service Industry in Canada

The service industry in Canada is a crucial component of the country's economy, contributing significantly to its GDP and employment. Comprising companies that primarily earn revenue by providing intangible products and services, the service industry encompasses various sectors such as retail, transport, distribution, food services, professional services, and other service-dominated businesses.

Importance of Maintaining the Service Industry

The service industry plays an essential role in Canada's economic landscape, and its maintenance is of utmost importance. Here's why:

Employment Opportunities

The service industry employs approximately 75% of Canada's labor force. With the expansion of this sector, there has been a remarkable increase in the number of people employed by the industry. It offers diverse job opportunities for individuals across different skill levels, contributing to reduced unemployment rates and improved livelihoods.

Economic Contribution

The service industry contributes billions of dollars to Canada's GDP. It plays a significant role in driving economic growth and stability. Both the goods production sector and the service sector are vital components of the industry, with steady growth observed in both areas.

High-Wage Employment

Many service industries require a substantial labor force to provide personal or specialized services. As a result, employees in this sector often receive higher wages compared to other industries. A 2004 study highlighted that the service industry employs more women than men, further promoting gender diversity in the workforce.

Concentration in CMAs

Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs) serve as hubs for service industry-related jobs. Cities like Ottawa, Gatineau, Halifax, Victoria, Regina, and Quebec are known for their concentration of service industry jobs. The five most populated CMAs in Canada—Toronto, Montréal, Vancouver, Gatineau, and Calgary—stand out as major contributors to the service sector.

Emerging Industries

Within the service sector, professional services, scientific services, and technical services are considered the most important industries today. The growth of computer systems design and related industries has been particularly notable, with their contribution to GDP increasing from 0.6% to 1.1% in just six years. Additionally, industries involved in legal services, accounting, tax and bookkeeping, and advertising make a significant contribution of 1.4% to the Gross Domestic Product.

The service industry in Canada plays a vital role in driving economic growth, providing employment opportunities, and contributing to the overall well-being of the country. Maintaining and nurturing this sector ensures Canada's thriving economy, diverse job prospects, and sustainable development.

Future of the Canada Service Industry

The future of the service industry in Canada looks promising, with continued growth and positive impacts on the economy and living standards. Several factors contribute to the bright outlook of this sector, including the influence of immigration and technological advancements. Here's a closer look at what lies ahead for the Canada service industry.

Immigration and Positive Effects on the Service Industry

Immigration plays a crucial role in shaping the future of the service industry in Canada. As the country welcomes immigrants from diverse backgrounds, it brings in a pool of talent, skills, and expertise that positively impacts the service sector. Immigrants often contribute to the growth of high-quality jobs and help enhance the overall standard of living.

Technological Advancements and Creative Destruction

Technological advancements have been driving the growth of new services in the service industry. This phenomenon, known as creative destruction, has not only increased employment opportunities in the service sector but also influenced the output of the manufacturing industry. As technology evolves, new service-based roles emerge, leading to the creation of high-skill and high-wage jobs.

Impact on Economic Growth and Recovery

The expansion of the service industry is particularly significant for Canada's economic growth and recovery. The country faced challenges in its export capacity during the global financial crisis and experienced a drop in natural resource prices in 2014. However, the service industry has proven to be a key driver of economic revival. Policies, including both monetary and fiscal measures, have supported the industry's expansion and aided in overall economic recovery.

Stable and Steady Growth

Economic analysis suggests that the service industry will continue to experience stable and steady growth in the foreseeable future. Sectors such as Information Technology, Artificial Intelligence, and custom software industries are expected to be at the forefront, generating high-skill and high-wage jobs. The growth of the service industry will contribute to job creation, increased productivity, and sustainable economic development.

Jobs in the Service Sector

Jobs in the Service Sector

A service industry job refers to a profession that revolves around offering services to individuals and businesses. Unlike industries that focus on manufacturing tangible products, the service industry specializes in providing specific services. Within this industry, individuals can find employment opportunities in sectors such as travel, hospitality, finance, transportation, education, healthcare, real estate, entertainment, and mass media. Professionals in the service industry greatly benefit from possessing excellent communication, customer service, and adaptability skills.

Here are Canada’s 10 Jobs in the Service Sector and their expected salaries according to

  1. Call center representative- NOC 64409
    National average salary: $30,561 per year
  2. Bank teller- NOC 14201
    National average salary: $32,306 per year
  3. Flight attendant- NOC 64311
    National average salary: $35,754 per year
  4. Personal trainer- NOC 41406
    National average salary: $36,355 per year
  5. Server- NOC 65200
    National average salary: $37,263 per year
  6. Wedding planner- NOC 12103
    National average salary: $38,866 per year
  7. Retail sales associate- NOC 64100
    National average salary: $39,275 per year
  8. Hairstylist- NOC 63210
    National average salary: $45,775 per year
  9. Restaurant manager- NOC 60030
    National average salary: $49,450 per year
  10. Hotel manager- NOC 64300
    National average salary: $50,985 per year

The salaries salaries are subject to change and should be used only as a reference. It's always recommended to research and consult reliable sources for up-to-date salary information.

Service sector jobs play a significant role in the diverse landscape of service industries in Canada. From call center representatives and workers in the food industry to hotel managers, these professions contribute to the growth and vitality of the Canadian economy.

As Canada's service industries continue to evolve and thrive, these jobs will remain essential for meeting the needs and expectations of consumers and businesses alike.

Work in the Service Industry in Canada

Canada's workforce has undergone a significant transformation over the past decade, with the service industry emerging as a powerhouse sector. As per recent statistics, a staggering 79.4 percent of the workforce in 2021 was employed in services, highlighting the sector's dominance in the country's economy. With only 1.34 percent engaged in agriculture and 19.27 percent in the industry, the service industry stands as a major contributor to employment and economic growth in Canada.

Notably, the service industry has proven to be particularly attractive for recent immigrants seeking employment opportunities in Canada. In 2021, recent immigrants accounted for 8% of the total employed labor force but significantly higher percentages in specific service sectors. The accommodation and food services sector saw 13% of its workforce comprised of recent immigrants, while professional services and manufacturing/transportation sectors each witnessed 11% and 10% immigrant participation, respectively.

If you aspire to work in the thriving service industry in Canada, it's important to note that a work visa is required to pursue employment opportunities. Navigating the immigration process and securing a work visa can be a vital step towards realizing your career aspirations in this dynamic sector.

Canada's service industry offers a wealth of employment opportunities for foreign workers looking to gain valuable experience and contribute to the country's thriving economy. Here are three common pathways through which foreigners can work in Canada's service industry:

Temporary Foreign Work Permit

The Temporary Foreign Work Permit allows employers in Canada to hire foreign workers for a specified period. To obtain this permit, individuals must have a job offer from a Canadian employer and meet certain eligibility criteria. This option enables foreign workers to contribute their skills and expertise to the Canadian service industry on a temporary basis.

Working Holiday Visa

Canada's Working Holiday Visa program allows young individuals from participating countries to work and travel in Canada for up to two years. This program provides an excellent opportunity for foreign workers to gain work experience in the service industry while immersing themselves in Canadian culture and exploring the country's diverse landscapes.

Post-Graduate Work Permit

Graduates who have completed a program of study at a designated Canadian educational institution may be eligible for a Post-Graduate Work Permit. This permit allows foreign graduates to work in Canada for a duration equivalent to the length of their study program, up to a maximum of three years. It provides an avenue for recent graduates to gain valuable work experience in the Canadian service industry and potentially transition to permanent residency.

Working in Any Industry as an Immigrant in Canada

If you choose to immigrate to Canada, you gain the freedom to work in any industry, including the service industry. Canada's immigration system, such as the Express Entry system, facilitates the entry of skilled and unskilled workers into the country. Express Entry is a points-based system that assesses candidates based on factors such as age, education, work experience, language proficiency, and adaptability. Successful candidates receive an invitation to apply for permanent residency and can subsequently work in any industry of their choosing, including the service sector.

By immigrating to Canada and obtaining permanent residency, foreign workers can enjoy the benefits of working and living in a country known for its diverse opportunities, high quality of life, and strong economy. The service industry, with its significant presence in Canada's workforce, presents a promising avenue for immigrants to establish rewarding careers and contribute to the country's growth and prosperity.

Benefits of Working in Service Industries in Canada

Benefits of Working in Service Industries in Canada

Choosing a career in the service industry can offer numerous advantages and opportunities for professional growth. Whether you're considering a role in healthcare, hospitality, transportation, or any other service-oriented field, here are some compelling benefits of working in service industries in Canada:

Job Security

The service industry often provides a level of job security, even during challenging economic times. Certain service sectors, such as healthcare and transportation, remain in demand regardless of economic fluctuations. This can offer a sense of stability and reassurance that your job is less susceptible to market uncertainties.

Flexible Hours

Many service industry jobs offer flexible work hours, allowing employees to achieve a better work-life balance. Unlike traditional nine-to-five positions, service industry roles often have varying shifts and schedules to accommodate customer needs. This flexibility can be advantageous for individuals seeking to manage personal commitments or pursue other interests outside of work.

Skill Development

Working in a service industry allows you to develop and refine specific skill sets relevant to your profession. Whether you're a nurse, chef, customer service representative, or technician, you'll have the opportunity to enhance your expertise and knowledge within your field. This continuous skill development can lead to career advancement and open doors to new opportunities.

Interpersonal Skills

Service industry jobs typically involve direct interaction with customers, clients, or colleagues. This provides an excellent platform to improve your interpersonal skills, such as communication, problem-solving, and relationship-building. The ability to connect with people from diverse backgrounds and effectively address their needs is a valuable skill applicable to various aspects of life.

Entrepreneurship Opportunities

Service industries often foster entrepreneurship due to the relatively low startup costs involved. If you have a passion for a particular service and want to be your own boss, the service industry can provide avenues for self-employment and entrepreneurship. This allows individuals to turn their expertise into successful businesses and have greater control over their professional journey. You can use a Start-Up Visa in Canada to pursue your entrepreneurial dreams. 

While service industries encompass specific businesses, service sectors represent larger components of an economy. Understanding this distinction helps recognize the broader impact and interconnectedness of service-related activities within Canada's economy.


Can Foreigners Work in The Service Industry in Canada?

Yes. In 2021, recent immigrants in Canada, who had been living in the country for 10 years or less, constituted 8% of the employed labor force. However, their representation in specific sectors was even higher. They accounted for 13% of the workforce in the accommodation and food services sector, 11% in the professional services sector, and 10% in the manufacturing and transportation sectors. These statistics highlight the significant contribution of recent immigrants to these sectors, showcasing their valuable presence and impact on Canada's workforce.

Can I Work in the Service Industry in Canada Without Previous Experience?

Yes. While having prior experience in the service industry can be beneficial, it is not always a strict requirement. Many entry-level positions in the service industry offer on-the-job training, allowing individuals to gain experience and develop necessary skills. Additionally, certain roles may prioritize qualities such as strong communication, customer service, and adaptability skills over specific industry experience. It is important to research job requirements and highlight transferable skills that can make you a valuable asset in the service industry.

Are There Opportunities for Career Growth and Advancement in the Service Industry?

Yes. The service industry in Canada offers a wide range of opportunities for career growth and advancement. Many companies within the service sector have structured career paths and development programs in place. By demonstrating dedication, professionalism, and a strong work ethic, individuals can climb the career ladder and take on roles with increased responsibilities and higher positions. Furthermore, the service industry is known for its diverse range of job roles and sectors, allowing individuals to explore different areas and specialize in their chosen field.

Join The Service Sector in Canada

With its thriving service industry, Canada offers an enticing opportunity for individuals seeking to work in this dynamic sector. The country's service industry provides a diverse and inclusive environment where you can embrace a wide range of roles, build valuable connections, and thrive professionally.

Whether you choose to work in hospitality, healthcare, transportation, retail, or other service-oriented sectors, Canada's service industry offers ample prospects for growth and success. Immigrating to Canada means immersing yourself in a vibrant service industry that values diversity and provides a platform for individuals from various backgrounds to contribute their skills and expertise.

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