the best manufacturing jobs in 2020.

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where manufacturing jobs in canada are headed

The past year was not great for Canada's manufacturing sector. Growth in the industry has been on the decline since June 2019. The good news is the decrease has been relatively small (sitting at less than 1%). Though Canada's manufacturing sector is experiencing a slow down, there are some positive signs. Over the past couple years, we've had an uncertain trade relationship with the US (our largest trade partner). Now that USMCA (or the United States Mexico Canada Agreement) has been agreed on by all countries and will likely be ratified in the coming year, there's hope that Canada's manufacturing industry will stabilize. As far as what you can do to find steady work in the manufacturing sector - learning a skilled trade is your best bet. In 2020, skilled trades continue to be the most in demand skills across the board, with disciplines such as welders, mechanics, millwrights and electricians remaining in high demand throughout the manufacturing sector.


the best manufacturing jobs of 2020

Welder holds onto the spot of best manufacturing job for a third straight year. 2020 is a good year to be employed in the skilled trades sector, in general. Employers are experiencing almost universal skill shortages across most skilled trade disciplines. That's reflected in the high number of skilled trades jobs on this year's list. Other trades such as electricians, machine operators and millwrights are also in high demand.

best jobs in 2020

  • 1. welder

    Welder holds onto the title of best manufacturing job for a third year in a row. For decades young workers have been shying away from jobs perceived as 'blue collar' such as welding. As a result, there aren't enough talented welders to meet employer demand. A certification or experience with MIG or TIG welding can further increase your employability and earning potential in this already in demand field.

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  • 2. mechanic

    Like many skilled trades professions, mechanics are experiencing a surge in employment opportunities, as recent generations have spurned skilled trades jobs in favour of office and professional roles, leaving a shortage of workers in blue collar roles. Mechanics who have the skills to work in the industrial or manufacturing sector are especially in demand in 2020.

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  • 3. millwright

    Millwrights are experts in the machinery and mechanical equipment used in manufacturing plants and factories. They install, assemble, repair and otherwise maintain mechanical equipment. Unlike machinists, millwrights don't operate the equipment. Their role is more to ensure that it runs smoothly and to troubleshoot any issues.

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  • 4. machine operator

    Machine operators, also sometimes known as tool and die operators or machinists work with heavy machinery to fabricate items in a manufacturing setting. They may specialize in a specific machine, or work on a variety of machines. This role is closely related to CNC machinist, but with more focus on mechanical operation and less emphasis on programming.

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  • 5. heavy duty mechanic

    Heavy duty mechanics are specialists who focus on repairing and maintaining industrial machinery and equipment, most frequently in the manufacturing or construction sectors, though they may work in any field where operating large mechanical equipment is a prerequisite.

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  • 6. production supervisor

    Production supervisors are typically responsible for overseeing a production team in the manufacturing sector. They organize staff, equipment and processes, ensuring the production floor runs like a well-oiled machine. As first-line managers, production supervisors typically have a number of years of experience in the manufacturing sector.

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  • 7. electro mechanic

    Electro mechanics are a cross between electricians and mechanics. They combine their knowledge of electrical systems with their knowledge of the inner workings of machinery. They often work in the manufacturing sector producing goods such as computer parts, though they may work in aerospace, energy or other sectors as well. 

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  • 8. electrician

    Electricians and other related roles such as electro mechanic are in demand in 2020. Like most skilled trades, there's a skills gap in the electrical field. Young workers are opting out of 'blue-collar' roles in favour of professional jobs. That leaves employers with a lot of jobs to fill and not enough electricians to fill them.

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manufacturing salaries in canada in 2020

The median annual salary in the manufacturing sector stayed at $37,600, same as last year. The bottom 10% of earners in the manufacturing sector make $29,000 or less, while the top 10% of earners make $66,000 or more. The amount low earners make has stayed consistent, however the amount top earners make increased by more $10,000 over last year, perhaps driven by the strong demand for skilled trades workers in this sector.

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the best manufacturing skills to have in 2020

The number one skill in the manufacturing sector for a third year is blueprints. Quality control, another mainstay on the list of best manufacturing skills holds steady in the second spot. Coming in third is the ability to use and read micrometers. Overall, the 2020 list of best manufacturing skills is very similar to last year's with skills such as welding equipment and good manufacturing practice also remaining key skills in the sector for 2020.

best skills in 2020

  • 1. blueprints

    Blueprints are the foundation of the manufacturing industry. Production runs carry out the specifications in blueprints to create accurate and consistent products. Knowing how to read or produce blueprints will open a lot of doors for you in the manufacturing sector.

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  • 2. quality control / assurance

    Quality control or quality assurance is a key part of any manufacturing process. Quality control ensures that end products are high quality and consistent, and that defective products are detected before they reach the end user. There's a whole sector of jobs in manufacturing built around this skill. Experience in the manufacturing sector and knowledge of QA best practices are a plus.

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  • 3. micrometers

    Micrometers are a type of tool used to take extremely accurate measurements. Also sometimes called a micrometer screw gauge, they're used frequently by machinists and others working in mechanical trades to measure components with a high degree of accuracy. There are many specialized types of micrometers, so depending on your work, the type of micrometer you use may vary.

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  • 4. welding equipment

    With welders taking the top spot on the list of best manufacturing jobs for 2020, it should be no surprise to see knowledge of welding equipment (or soldering equipment) on the list of best skills. Though general knowledge and experience using welding equipment will get you far, specialization in MIG or TIG welding will net you better paying roles.

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  • 5. cutting equipment

    In manufacturing, cutting tools are used for machining. There are a variety of mechanical tools used for processes such as milling, drilling, shaping, planing or grinding. Experience using and maintaining these tools is a huge plus for roles such as machinists or millwrights.

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  • 6. engineering drawings

    Engineering drawings are a type of technical drawing used to define requirements for engineered items. Today, most engineering drawings are produced using CAD (or computer aided design.) Knowledge of CAD software and the process for designing engineering drawings has applications in the manufacturing sector, such as creating production drawings.

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  • 7. good manufacturing practice (GMP)

    Good manufacturing practice (GMP) is a set of regulations for manufacturers, to ensure consistent and high-quality products are produced in sectors including food production, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and medicine. GMP is a key part of Canada's regulatory framework to reduce the harm caused by bad manufacturing. Knowledge and experience with GMP shows employers you know the best practices in the sector.

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the best manufacturing certifications in 2020

The top manufacturing certification in 2020 proves your skills as a welder. Like many skilled trades professions, there is a skills shortage in the welding field. A certification in MIG or TIG welding will instantly mark your skills as a welder and boost your employability. Other top certifications in the manufacturing sector are related to food safety and your ability to drive commercial vehicles.

best certifications

  • 1. TIG / MIG welding certification

    With welders taking the top spot on the list of best manufacturing jobs for 2020, it should come as no surprise that welding certifications are also in demand. TIG and MIG welding are two different styles of welding. MIG is a general-purpose welding style. TIG is used for thinner gauge materials and requires a more delicate touch. MIG welding is simpler to learn than TIG welding, but both skills are in high demand and gaining certification will lead to steady employment.

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  • 2. food safety (HACCP) certification

    Hazard analysis and critical control points, or HACCP, is a globally-recognized approach to food safety, designed to reduce the risk of physical, biological and chemical hazards in food production. HACCP is built on preventative guidelines, rather than post-production quality control. If you work in food production, a HACCP certification is a must-have.

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  • 3. safe quality food (SQF) certification

    A safe quality food (SQF) certification is a globally recognized food safety certification that uses a HACCP approach. There are 3 certification levels: fundamentals, food safety, and food quality. It's regulated by the safe quality food institute (SQFI) and marks your expertise in food safety and sourcing.

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  • 4. truck driver's license

    A commercial driver's license allows you to drive vehicles (weighing more than 11,000 kilos) such as trucks. Driving licenses are regulated by provincial governments in Canada, so the exact classification may vary depending on where you live in Canada. For example, in Ontario a commercial license is known as a Class D, whereas in Quebec it's known as Class 5.

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