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Professional, Scientific and Technical Services

Legal contracts, complicated tax returns, energy research, and nanotechnology development are all part of the professional, scientific and technical services industry. This industry relies less on equipment and materials and more on the skills and knowledge of its workers. It sells expertise, which is usually gained with a university or college education.

GDP Gross Domestic Product

Gross domestic product (GDP) measures the overall size of an economy. In 2015, the professional, scientific and technical services industry made up 4.9% of Alberta's GDP. This is a 0.7% decline from 2012.

Alberta’s GDP
4.9%
Decline from 2012
0.7%
Sectors
  • advertising and public relations
  • architecture
  • engineering
  • graphic, industrial, or computer systems design
  • legal and accounting services
  • research and development
  • scientific and technical consulting
  • surveying and mapping
  • translation
  • veterinary services
Workforce
3.4%

The professional, scientific and technical services industry employed 179,300 people in 2016. This is an increase of 6,100 jobs or 3.4% from 2015.

57%
57%

103,000 men worked in the industry in 2016 (up 4,100 jobs or 4.1% from 2015)

43%
43%

76,300 women worked in the industry in 2016 (up 2,100 jobs or 2.8% from 2015)

Average Wage
Professional, Scientific and Technical Services
Average Hourly Wage
Provincial
Average Hourly Wage
  • The average hourly wage of $33.33 for the professional, scientific and technical services industry was above the provincial average of $29.61.
Industry Performance

Alberta's professional, scientific and technical services were affected by the decline in oil prices. Low corporate profits and consumer confidence reduced spending on legal, consulting, and accounting services. However, as oil production has improved and the province works to diversify its economy, there are more opportunities for the industry and employment in the industry has risen.

Digital innovations in everything from 3D printing and virtual or augmented reality to faster mobile networks have offered tech savvy professionals new employment opportunities. A case in point was Google’s 2017 announcement that its artificial intelligence research division, called DeepMind, would open a research lab in Edmonton in partnership with the University of Alberta. Artificial intelligence is when machines are designed to perceive or gather information and to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence.

Industry Outlook

The energy and manufacturing industries, like many others, are becoming increasingly high-tech. They will need the specialized services of engineering companies, testing laboratories, and computer programming. Jobs in the information and computer technology sector alone are expected to increase by 16,700 by 2021.

Residential construction is shifting toward more multi-family homes and high-rise condos, which will call for more engineering services. Investment in the industry is expected to climb 16.5% for 2017.  This make the industry among the strongest in the province. GDP is predicted to climb from 1.9 % to 2.4% between 2017 and 2018, and by 2.0% or more for the following three years.

 

Industry Employment Trends
2.3%

Employment in this industry is expected to grow at an average rate of 2.3% from 2016 to 2019.

OCCinfo has more information about occupations in Alberta, including details about duties, working conditions, educational requirements, employment outlook, and salary ranges. You can also find reports on region-specific information about wages, job vacancies, and hiring difficulties in this industry. Visit the Survey Analysis to learn more.

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