Design Occupations

Total Workforce (2016)

While nearly three-quarters of those working in a Design Occupation are employed by a firm, just over one-quarter of Toronto’s Design workers are self-employed. The rate for self-employment is higher for Design workers than workers in general and is higher in Toronto than across the rest of Canada. Across all workers 12.7% in Toronto are self-employed while it’s 12.0% across Canada.

Table 8. Total Workforce (2016)

(Canadian Business Counts, 2020; total employment estimated)

  Canada Ontario Toronto Toronto % of Canada
Total Design Workers 236,090 89,285 51,065 21.6%
Employee 179,785 66,575 37,665 21.0%
Self­Employed 56,305 22,715 13,415 23.8%
% Self­Employed 23.8% 25.4% 26.3%  
Average Income 50,288 51,113 53,340 106.1%
Median Income 44,209 44,891 46,054 104.2%

The rate of self-employment among Design Occupations varies across the occupations (below). While not quite half of all Interior Designers are selfemployed, close to one-third of Graphic Designers, roughly one-quarter of Architects, and less than 10% of Urban Planners are self-employed.

“There’s this kind of tech and innovation that is happening that I believe will become more prominent where people will see more opportunities to be running their businesses from the entrepreneurial perspective, as opposed to a mass company.”

“We understand what it’s like to have a small family and working, and we don’t want to run a sweatshop. We want to keep and maintain a balance — it’s part of our philosophy in terms of health and wellness and keeping people at their best and inspired.”

Self-Employed (2016)

Table 9. Share of Self-Employed by Occupation (2016)

Occupation Share Self­Employed
Interior designers and interior decorators 44.0%
Theatre, fashion, exhibit and other creative designers 36.7%
Graphic designers and illustrators 29.4%
Architects 26.7%
Landscape and horticulture technicians and specialists 24.9%
Landscape architects 23.4%
Graphic arts technicians 22.6%
Patternmakers — textile, leather and fur products 21.9%
Industrial designers 21.4%
Architectural technologists and technicians 19.1%
Land surveyors 9.9%
Urban and land use planners 8.8%
Drafting technologists and technicians 8.3%
Supervisors, textile, fabric, fur and leather products processing and manufacturing 7.4%
Architecture and science managers 4.7%
Land survey technologists and technicians 3.9%

Design Workforce by Age (2016)

Toronto’s Design workers are slightly more likely to be younger (25–34) or older (75+) and a little less likely to be 35–44 or 55–64.

Table 10. Design Workforce by Age (2016)

Canada Ontario Toronto Toronto % of Canada Share of Design Workers Share of All Toronto Workers
All Design Workers 236,090 89,285 51,065 21.6% 51,065 21.6%
15–24 18,210 7,835 4,135 22.7% 8.8% 12.5%
15–19 1,405 635 295 21.0% 0.7% 3.6%
20–24 16,790 7,185 3,835 22.8% 8.0% 8.9%
25–64 209,010 77,715 45,085 21.6% 87.0% 83.4%
25–34 67,605 25,450 15,680 23.2% 28.5% 22.0%
25–29 32,475 12,635 7,775 23.9% 14.2% 11.0%
30–34 35,155 12,820 7,940 22.6% 14.4% 11.1%
35–44 59,560 20,600 11,970 20.1% 23.1% 21.8%
45–54 48,805 18,905 10,695 21.9% 21.2% 23.7%
55–64 33,020 12,780 6,705 20.3% 14.3% 15.9%
65–74 7,745 3,220 1,565 20.2% 3.6% 3.6%
75+ 1,115 515 280 25.1% 0.6% 0.5%

“Our interest in New Canadians is to take positions that old Canadians don’t want to take.”

“We could be in a golden age of education, except, we have a college system and the colleges don’t talk to one another, they don’t collaborate about building content and career paths and things like that so until that changes we’re going to have, at least in some respects the same problem [of gaps between students and employers].”

Educational Attainment (Toronto, 2016)

Design workers are generally well-educated:

  • 87.9% have at least some post-secondary education (67.5% for Toronto)
  • 86.1% have a certificate, diploma or degree (63.1% for Toronto)
  • 53.2% have a bachelor’s degree or above (40.2% for Toronto)

Table 11. Breakdown of Educational Attainment (Toronto, 2016)

Highest Education Design Share Toronto Share
No certificate, diploma or degree 1.8% 8.2%
Secondary (high) school diploma or equivalency certificate 10.3% 24.2%
Apprenticeship or trades certificate or diploma 1.8% 4.4%
College, CEGEP or other non­university certificate or diploma 29.1% 20.0%
University certificate or diploma below bachelor level (less than 4 years) 3.8% 2.9%
University certificate, diploma or degree at bachelor level or above 53.2% 40.2%

Education by Occupation

Level of education varies by occupation but a bachelor’s or even master’s degree may be a requirement in the regulated industries.

  • Nearly all Architects, Landscape Architects, Urban Planners have at least a BA
  • Roughly half of Interior, Industrial and Graphic and a few technical occupations have a BA
  • Less than half of some technical Design occupations have a BA

Table 12. Breakdown of Education Attainment by Occupation Occupation

Occupation Under BA BA or Above
Architects 7.5% 92.5%
Landscape architects 9.9% 90.1%
Urban and land use planners 12.6% 87.4%
Architecture and science managers 14.4% 85.6%
Industrial designers 41.7% 58.3%
Land surveyors 41.7% 58.3%
Architectural technologists and technicians 46.8% 53.2%
Interior designers and interior decorators 52.4% 47.6%
Drafting technologists and technicians 53.8% 46.2%
Graphic designers and illustrators 57.0% 43.0%
Theatre, fashion, exhibit and other creative designers 60.0% 40.0%
Graphic arts technicians 64.9% 35.1%
Land survey technologists and technicians 66.7% 33.3%
Landscape and horticulture technicians and specialists 70.8% 29.2%
Supervisors, textile, fabric, fur and leather products processing and manufacturing 82.6% 17.4%
Patternmakers — textile, leather and fur products 88.9% 11.1%

Gender (Toronto, 2016)

Slightly more than half all those working in Design are men.

“In recent years I’ve seen many more women in Industrial Design. I’ve worked with ACIDO for years, and it used to be all men. Their AGM would be a room full of guys.”

Gender by Occupation

Design Job Postings

From Burning Glass, for the Toronto metro area (CMA).

Job Postings 2013–2021

  • The number of postings was consistently between 3,000 and 4,000 per month through 2018.
  • In 2019, it increased to around 5,000 per month.
  • Dropped back down in 2020 (Covid).
  • Rose steadily between May 2020 and July 2021.
  • By mid-2021 was at 8,000 to 9,000 job postings per month. July 2021 was 9,249 and August 2021 was 8,142.

“I don’t think there’s a good awareness of the jobs in the industry.”

Job Postings (2019)

  • Average number per week 1,107
  • Highest number 1,816 (February 16)
  • Lowest 676 (January 5)
  • Overall, generally between 1,000 and 1,200
  • Steady but trending level throughout the year

“We are still hiring, yes; we are still expanding and, yeah, so we are still continuing to hire.”

Job Postings (July 2020 to July 2021)

  • Average number per week 1,282
  • Highest number 3,094 (July 17, 2021)
  • Lowest 454 (January 2, 2021)
  • Increased by about 20 jobs per week on average
  • Increased nearly 1,000 jobs from about 750 in July 2020 to 1,750 in July 2021

“We want generally for people to live within a commute of the Office whether we’re working remotely or not, because we hope not to always be working remotely so you know we’re hiring now.”

“Those [transit infrastructure projects] are a great opportunity that that will be long, long term growth for both employment from design right down to construction.”

Looking the 12 month period, you can see how Design/Architecture was tracking with all postings but then jumps higher and stays above (relatively speaking since the number of postings is always higher for all). The interviews indicated that this higher level is partly influenced by the significant investments in infrastructure that have recently occurred. Although at a slightly higher level, Design/Architecture job posting activity still tracks to overall number of postings. So, the growth in the number of job postings most likely reflects the overall job market rather than something specific to the Design Sector.

“Coming out of the pandemic, a lot of firms [were] nervous [about] acquiring [new employees], or even getting a job because [no one knew] what the market [was] like and how much work [would or wouldn’t] be [available].””

Job Postings by Industry (NAICS)

Design-related job postings by industry have mostly been in Finance and Insurance (mostly Banks). While Finance and Insurance account for 23% of all Toronto job postings, the industry was the source of over 36% of Design jobs. Design also accounts for a larger share of job postings in the Professional Services and Information industries and Retail. While the share of Design job posts in Manufacturing is slightly lower than for the Toronto region overall, nearly 11% of Design jobs posted were in the Manufacturing industry. Manufacturing includes specific industries for semiconductors, pharmaceuticals, motor vehicles and navigational instruments.

Table 13. Job Postings by Industry (NAICS)

NAICS Industry Sector Total Postings Share of Design Share of All Postings
52 Finance and Insurance 9,392 36.38% 23.0%
Banks 6,138
Insurance 1,813
54 Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services 7,485 29.00% 23.3%
Architecture, Engineering 1,989
Management Consulting 1,770
51 Information 3,659 14.18% 8.5%
31–33 Manufacturing 2,790 10.81% 11.6%
Includes semiconductors, pharmaceuticals, motor vehicles, navigational instruments
44–45 Retail Trade 2,487 9.63% 6.8%

“I feel like it’s pretty rare that people are going into a mainstream industry kind of position — like most of the people in those jobs have been there for a couple of decades.”

Job Postings by Occupation

In looking at the high-level occupational categories for Design-related job posts, the share of jobs in each category is generally the same for Design jobs as for all jobs posted. Natural and Applied Sciences jobs make up a slightly larger share as do Business and Finance occupations. Trades and Transport, Manufacturing and Health occupations are slightly less.

“[If] you have a leadership potential you are eligible for additional jobs that may not be with your skill set.”

Pin It on Pinterest

Help Us Serve You Better

We are collecting data to better understand who is looking for work and what kind of opportunities jobseekers are searching for. This data is completely anonymous and non-personally identifiable.

Your Age:

Skip to content