A Quick Look at SWO's Leading Industries

Posted

Thu, 07/20/2017 - 9:22am

By

BrettM

If you’re looking for work in southwestern Ontario, it can be helpful if you know what the local market looks like. To use a weird analogy that I just coined, if you play baseball on a soccer pitch, you likely won’t do well. Knowing the terrain just makes good sense, so you can make sure that you’re prepared.

Having said that, don’t get too discouraged by what you learn. It may seem at first glance that you’ll have trouble finding your place. However, transferable skills are transferable, after all, and you can always learn something new.

Manufacturing

In London, in particular, the tech sector tends to steal most of the headlines. And that’s for good reason. There’s a lot happening here. But southwestern Ontario’s manufacturing game is quite strong, too. With the 401 corridor running right through here, we connect Toronto by road to points in Michigan and westward. We’re also in the middle of a pretty robust rail network. It makes sense to build stuff here: it’s easy to ship it wherever it needs to go.

You’ll often hear bad news from the manufacturing sector (like the news just out of Tillsonburg), but at the same time, new plants are being constructed in London, Strathroy, St. Thomas, and other cities and towns in the region. Manufacturing is a smaller part of the labour market than it once was, but it’s still significant, and it involves people from so many disciplines that it makes sense to look into it.

Health Care

Still a pretty big deal here London. A couple of big hospitals, a university with a med school (and nursing, and dentistry, and physio therapy, and occupational therapy…), and a college with programs in lots of health related fields, as well as a growing population make London still a centre for health care jobs. London’s Census Metropolitan Area (basically regional population) was nearly half a million in the last census. ALL of those people need health care, so based on population alone, London is a good place to find work helping people with their health.

This is also a very good example of an industry that requires people from varied disciplines: administration, transportation, HR, custodial services, translation services, and people who can liaise with other services. Health care doesn’t just mean doctors…

Tech

This has been London’s star industry for the last few years, and for good reason. The robust manufacturing sector and the number of skilled postsecondary graduates in SWO gave the tech sector a strong place to start from, and it has never looked back. There are software and web development companies, web marketing companies, and game studios. London’s tech sector does everything from graphic design to industrial design, game design and website design. They build databases, write software to run factories, and build apps for iOS and Android. They aggregate content and facilitate business transactions. If it involves a computer, you’re likely to find a place in London that does it.

Again, there are a lot of ancillary careers associated with this industry. If a company has a physical space, it need people to maintain it. They need assistants and receptionists. They need managers and salespeople. They need people who can translate industrial jargon to people who work in the non-profit or health care sectors (or who sell cars, or build trains, or make armored vehicles…) You don’t need to know how to code to get into the tech sector.

Non-profit

There are over 50,000 non-profits and charities operating in Ontario right now, employing over one million people (600,000 of them are full-time). With so much happening in a single sector of the economy, it’s astonishing how often it gets overlooked. It’s a vital part of the job market, and it’s a great way to do good while you make your living. Charities and non-profit organizations are involved in whatever gets you excited, too: sports, health care, children, education, the environment, politics, or classic cars. Check out Pillar Nonprofit Network for current opportunities.

Agriculture

Southern Ontario is home to tens of thousands of farms and industrial farming operations. If you like getting your hands dirty, and like working with the soil or with animals, then there’s probably a place for you in the agriculture industry.

This is hardly an exhaustive list of what industries there are in the region, but if you’re looking for work, these are a good place to start. Keep an open mind: you may have been a bureaucrat at another point in your professional life, but the skills you learned can be applied to lots of industries.

Good luck on your search. As always, if you want some assistance, come check us out.