Professional & Technical Services
Professional & Technical Services

Toronto is ranked as a city with a high quality of life and health, advanced education and great diversity.

Its technical and professional services cluster is among the largest in North America and continues to grow, employing 324,660 people.

This sector includes legal and accounting firms; architectural and engineering companies; customer-care centres; management, technical and design consultancies; human resources services, that comprise the vital business infrastructure that attracts corporate headquarters and global professional firms. This also reflects in Toronto’s ability to draw highly-educated workforce from all over the world.

Employment prospects for workers in this diverse industry group are expected to be above average in coming years. Job openings will arise from the need to replace employees who retire and the creation of new jobs. Employment growth is predicted to be particularly strong in the large professional business services groups, such as accounting, engineering and legal services. The workforce in this industry group tends to posses the following characteristics:

  • Women account for slightly less than one half of the workforce.
  • An average proportion of workers are aged 45 years or older.
  • A growing number of organizations now purchase professional and technical services from outside firms rather than employing in-house staff with such expertise.
  • Very few of these workers have union coverage.
  •  Wages are generally above the provincial average.

One of the largest occupational groups in this industry is architectural, engineering and related services, which accounts for about one-fifth of the jobs in the sector. According to the recent report prepared by Prism Economics and Analysis, the average annual growth in engineering employment from 2010 to 2018 is expected to be 3,2 %, well above the average employment in the GTA and higher than in most provinces.

Industry stakeholders note that newcomers and immigrants entering the workforce as engineers may seek additional training and gain industrial expertise in areas like chemical engineering, environmental engineering, and engineering management. Both employers and engineers talk about the high degree of importance of general business experience, combined with specialized technical experience. There is a shortage of experienced engineers with five or more years of practical experience and the specialized, experience-based technical knowledge.

About 50,600 Torontonians employed in this industry are in legal services and related occupations, with most workers concentrated in the areas of litigation, bankruptcy/foreclosure, and labour and employment law. In addition, general business as well as intellectual property is strong areas of focus in legal services. Paralegals and legal support professionals with employment law experience are sought by companies to assist with personnel policies, compliance matters and mergers and acquisitions as well as litigation.

Labour Force

In 2010, more than 11% of Toronto CMA residents worked in Professional and Technical services. Almost the entire workforce is found in small to medium sized companies which dominate the sector. The number of women involved in Professional and Technical Services is quite high 41.5% But there is some variation in the gender mix by sub-categories: 61% of the legal services workforce is female, over half of employees in Accounting, Tax Preparation, Bookkeeping and Payroll Services are females, while among Architectural, Engineering and Related Services, over 70% of employees are males. Fifteen year ago, only 18% of this sub-sector workforce was females.

Age profile 

There is little difference between the age profile of the labour force for this sector and that of the entire labour force. The age profile for civil engineers is older than the overall pattern for all engineers. 25-44 year olds make up over 50% of the labour force in Legal Services, Architectural, Engineering and Related Services.

Educational attainment 

According to the Toronto industry profile 2010, the level of educational attainment of workers is higher than that of the labour force as a whole. Almost 60% of workers in this sector hold a university degree.

Key facts 
  • Toronto's business and professional services is growing faster than New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Boston and Washington. The annual growth rate is 6%.
  • 12% of Toronto's workforce provides a broad spectrum of business and professional services.
  • Toronto ranks first in overall call centre investment among North American cities, with 30% annual growth. Some 2,900 call centres employ over 11,000 service staff.
  • Close to half a million highly-skilled people work in downtown Toronto and businesses can draw from an overall labour force of nearly 2 million. Over 56% of employees in Toronto's diverse economy have post-secondary degrees or certificates.
  • Some 24,000 business and professional service firms in Toronto make up 21% of the Canadian total for this cluster.
  • Toronto is home to 9 of Canada's 10 largest law practices, 9 of the top 10 accounting firms, 7 of the 10 largest advertising and communications agencies and all 10 top human resources and benefits firms.