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Natural Resources Satellite Account: Human resource module, 2009 to 2017

Released: 2019-08-19

Approximately 622,400 jobs were attributable to natural resources activity in 2017, representing 3.3% of all jobs in Canada. Of these, 606,000 (97.4%) were employee jobs, while the remainder were self-employment jobs. Downstream natural resource jobs totalled 323,800 in 2017, representing 1.7% of all jobs in Canada.

Gender, education and age

Women held 22.2% of natural resources jobs in 2017, a share that has remained relatively stable since 2009. In 2017, the hunting, fishing and water subsector (35.5%) recorded the largest proportion of women, followed by the energy subsector (26.5%). The lowest proportion of women was in the mineral and mining subsector (17.3%), followed closely by the forestry subsector (17.8%).

In 2017, two-thirds (65.1%) of natural resources workers had more than a high school education. The energy subsector had the largest proportion of these workers, with 76.5% of employees having more than a high school education and 58.7% holding a college diploma or university degree. The subsectors with the smallest proportion of workers with more than a high school education were forestry (51.8%) and hunting, fishing and water (51.7%).

The workforce in the natural resources sector has been aging over time; in 2017, 21.3% of employees were aged 55 and older, up from 16.4% in 2009.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Percentage of jobs by age group, natural resources sector
Percentage of jobs by age group, natural resources sector

Indigenous identity and immigration status

In 2017, 6.8% of natural resource employees identified as Indigenous, up from 4.9% in 2009. The subsector with the largest proportion of Indigenous employees was hunting, fishing and water (9.7%), while energy reported the lowest share (5.6%).

Immigrant workers represented 13.3% of natural resource employees in 2017, with the energy subsector posting the largest proportion of immigrants (15.5%). The downstream sector (28.1%) had substantially more immigrant employees in 2017.

Wages and salaries

Natural resource jobs are typically more highly compensated than the average job in the Canadian economy. In 2017, natural resource jobs paid an average of $91,585 per year, while the average Canadian job paid just over $53,600. In 2017, jobs in the energy subsector paid the highest annual wages and salaries, at $113,302, while the lowest wages and salaries were in hunting, fishing and water, at $54,090.

Jobs held by workers with a university degree had the highest compensation, at $127,529 in 2017. This was especially true in the energy subsector, where jobs held by workers with a university degree paid over $140,000.

The gender wage gap closed slightly in the natural resources sector during this period, with women earning an average salary of $70,259 in 2017 compared with an average of $97,676 among men. In 2009, the average woman earned 68% of the average male salary in this sector. This percentage had increased to 72% by 2017.

Immigrant employees ($93,508) in the natural resource sector had higher salaries than non-immigrant employees ($91,291). This seems to indicate the need for high-skilled workers from abroad in many natural resource industries.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Average annual salaries, natural resources sector
Average annual salaries, natural resources sector

  Note to readers

The aim of the Human Resource Module (HRM) is to provide timely and reliable statistics on the human resource dimension of natural resources production in Canada.

The Natural Resources Satellite Account already provides some information on the number of jobs generated by the sector at the national level. The HRM complements and enhances the analytical capacity provided by this product, allowing for a broader insight into the role of natural resources in the economy by providing more detailed human resource information.

The HRM provides annual estimates for the years 2009 to 2017. These estimates are based on national data from the Canadian Productivity Accounts, which are a key input to the HRM, as well as Labour Force Survey data. Census data for 2006 and 2016 as well as data from the 2011 National Household Survey are also incorporated.

The wages and salaries presented in this release do not include supplementary labour income and self-employment income.

Data tables are accessible upon request (see contact information below).


Special tabulations are available upon request.

Additional information can be found in the articles, "The Natural Resources Satellite Account: Feasibility study" and "The Natural Resources Satellite Account – Sources and methods," which are part of the Income and Expenditure Accounts Technical Series (Catalogue number13-604-M) and are available.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; or Media Relations (613-951-4636;

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