(NOC 2112)


These comments apply to the career grouping of Physical Science Professionals, which includes Chemists.

Job prospects in this career are rated LIMITED because:

After having remained relatively stable over the 1990s, the number of chemists then jumped sharply. The factors that had hampered employment growth in this occupation over the 1990s-the automation of many tasks performed by chemists and cutbacks in government spending-took on a lesser importance, giving way to factors that encourage employment growth (growing importance of the environment, water quality, quality control and workplace safety and health). Since these trends are expected to continue, the number of chemists should grow significantly over the next few years.

Vacancies will primarily come from job creation and from positions made available by chemists who are retiring. In addition, training and experience in this occupation enable chemists to seek teaching positions in colleges and universities, positions as technical sales specialists (NOC 6221), particularly in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, and promotion to supervisory and managerial positions.

A large proportion of biochemistry graduates at both the Bachelor and Master levels, are employed in other occupations, for instance as engineers, chemists or biologists. A Master's degree in chemistry or biochemistry is gradually becoming a standard requirement in this occupation. Moreover, a PhD is required for some positions.

Chemists work in a wide variety of fields: environment, pharmaceuticals, food, organic chemistry, clinical biochemistry and so on. Their work in these areas can take many forms: analysis, research and development, industrial hygiene, environmental emergencies, water treatment, soil decontamination, fire, forensic investigations, clinical examinations, quality control and so on. While chemists have access to varied kinds of work, mobility between them is low. A chemist who acquires experience in a specialty, such as organic chemistry, usually remains associated with that specialty throughout his or her career, even after a job change.

In the circumstances, changes in employment levels in the various sectors of this occupation can depend on a host of factors; among the factors that have the greatest influence are changes in legislation, the level of government spending, technological innovation and scientific discoveries.

Technological innovation and scientific discovery have opposing effects on the demand for chemists. On the one hand, they have a positive effect by broadening the scope of R&D and introducing tests and types of analysis that were previously not possible. On the other, they have a negative effect in that they automate numerous jobs, including some kinds of analysis. In addition to speeding up the work, this kind of automation enables chemical technologists and technicians (NOC 2211) to do work previously entrusted to chemists.

Job Seekers: 20,824
Job Openings: 13,707

Job prospects for this career are rated Limited

Last Updated: May 11, 2012