Beyond Blue and White Collar (PDF)

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The Conference Board of Canada in partnership with FutureSkills Centre presents:

Beyond Blue and White Collar: A Skills-Based Approach to Canadian Job Groupings (PDF)


In Canada’s modern, knowledge-based, and service-centric economy, employers are increasingly thinking about work from a skills perspective. Old-fashioned labels like “blue collar” and “white collar” are no longer relevant.

As well, factors such as educational attainment or work experience are only proxies for assessing the skills of workers. This means that we need a more sophisticated way to talk about employment opportunities.

To address this need, we considered how jobs can be grouped based on underlying skill similarities. The result was eight new groupings for Canadian jobs:

STEM, Knowledge Workers, Personal Services, Supervisers, Technical Trades, Non-technical Trades, Builders & Doers

We then matched these clusters with labour market information, including average income, employment growth forecasts, and unemployment rates. The results can then be used as profiles that different groups—such as students, career development professionals, educators, and policy-makers—can use to inform their decision-making and program design.

The rest of this briefing describes each of the clusters using a variety of labour market indicators. The methodology we used for clustering is detailed in Appendix A. In Appendix B, we also provide a full list of which occupations fall into which cluster.

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PDF from The Conference Board of Canada, 31 pages, August 3, 2022

About The Conference Board of Canada

The Conference Board of Canada – They are the foremost independent, applied research organization in Canada. They deliver unique insights into Canada’s toughest problems.

At The Conference Board of Canada, they are committed to providing an inclusive and equitable workplace where they value diversity. They continuously strive to build a community where differences are welcomed and respected., visit them at

About FutureSkills Centre

The Future Skills Centre – Centre des Compétences futures (FSC-CCF) is a forward-thinking centre for research and collaboration dedicated to preparing Canadians for employment success. We believe Canadians should feel confident about the skills they have to succeed in a changing workforce. As a pan-Canadian community, we are collaborating to rigorously identify, test, measure, and share innovative approaches to assessing and developing the skills Canadians need to thrive in the days and years ahead.

The Future Skills Centre was founded by a consortium whose members are Toronto Metropolitan University, Blueprint, and The Conference Board of Canada. If you would like to learn more about this report and other skills research from FSC, visit them at

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