Urban and Land Use Planners

Unit Group 2153

Skill Type: Natural and Applied Sciences and Related Occupations

Type of work

Urban and land use planners develop plans and recommend policies for managing land use, physical facilities and associated services for urban and rural areas and remote regions.

For the full and official description of this occupation according to the National Occupational Classification, visit the NOC site.

Examples of Occupational Titles

  • city planner
  • community and urban planner
  • environmental planner
  • land use planner
  • long-range planner
  • municipal planner
  • park planner
  • planner
  • planning analyst
  • recreation planner
  • regional planner
  • urban planner

Outlook

Job prospects in this occupation are fair.

(Update: February 2015)

The number of urban and land use planners has grown slightly over the past few years. This growth is mainly due to the increasing complexity of issues related to the use of land, both rural and urban. Because these issues will remain important over the next few years, the number of urban and land use planners should continue to grow slightly.

Sources of employment

Most new employment opportunities will come from positions that are vacated by urban and land use planners who retire or change occupations. Experience acquired in this area is useful in getting other jobs that are related to land use planning and in getting promotions to management positions, mainly in public administration. Some other opportunities will result from employment increase.

Labour pool

Employment opportunities are available to people with a bachelor's or master's degree in urban and regional planning. Not many positions will be filled by unemployed urban and land use planners because the unemployment rate is relatively low in this occupation. Other opportunities will become available for immigrants who meet this occupation requirements. Although the percentage of immigrants in this occupation in 2011 was lower than in all occupations (10% compared with 14%, according to the National Household Survey data), positions are accessible to newcomers.

Although a bachelor's degree in urban and regional planning may be enough to get into this occupation, data from the provincial government Relance Survey indicate that the master's degree is becoming a more and more important asset. Usually, a high proportion of graduates of urban planning bachelor programs continue their education, while the job placement rate for bachelor graduates who decide to enter the work force is much lower than the average for university bachelor program graduates. On the other hand, the labour market situation for individuals with a master's degree is very good in this regard, with a comparable job placement rate in their field of training than for the average master's graduate. However, a significant proportion of these jobs in their area of training are not in this occupation.

Although growth prospects for this occupation are significant, the labour market situation of these graduates could deteriorate somewhat over the next few years, while still remaining acceptable. The number of graduates with a bachelor's degree in urban and regional planning more than tripled between 2001 and 2011, while master's graduates doubled. Thus, competition will be stronger for the fewer jobs becoming available.

Industries

According to the National Household Survey data, in 2011 approximately 59% of urban and land use planners were working in public administration, mainly at the municipal level (42%). There were significant numbers in professional, scientific and technical services (25%), mainly in architectural, engineering and related services (21%), an industry that includes planning offices.

Trends

Changes in employment in this occupation depend primarily on the demand for urban and land use planning services.

The demand for urban and land use planning rose sharply since the end of the 90s. This increase stems largely from the movement of people from rural to urban areas, but also from downtown areas to the suburbs. Issues such as population aging, rising awareness of environmental issues and the need to balance economic, cultural and social land uses also started to put pressure on municipalities and other levels of government.

The impact of these factors should continue to hold if not gain in importance over the next few years. For instance, the impact of population aging is being felt more and more, whether in terms of housing, mobility or cultural and social life. The consequences of government and private investments in the environment are being discussed more determinedly than ever, both in urban and rural settings. This heating up of the debate can only result in an increase in demand for thorough and reliable analyses aimed at reconciling the frequently diverging interests of residents, businesses and governments. Members of this occupation will certainly benefit from these trends. On the other hand, the ever-precarious state of public finances will disadvantage them.

In view of these factors, it is expected that the number of urban and land use planners will increase slightly over the next few years.

Employment characteristics

According to the census nd National Household Survey data, in 2011 women held approximately 42% of the positions in this occupation, a level higher than in 1991 (29%).

Education and Training

To enter this occupation, candidates normally require at least a bachelor's degree in urban and regional planning, although the master's degree is more and more frequently required.

Only members of theOrdre des urbanistes du Québec may use the title of urban planner or any other title or abbreviation indicating that this is what they do. Ordre admission requirements are described on its website (french only).

Useful References

Important Considerations

In view of the increasingly complex nature of rural and urban land use issues, the number of urban and land use planners should increase slightly over the next few years.

While it may still be possible to enter this occupation with a bachelor's degree in urban and regional planning, the master's degree is becoming a more and more important asset. The labour market situation for master's graduates is very good, but could deteriorate somewhat over the next few years because of the significant increase in the number of students in master's in urban and regional planning programs.

Statistics 2153 - Urban and Land Use Planners

Main Labour Market Indicators

In the following table, indicators such as the growth rate, yearly variation in employment, yearly attrition and total annual requirements are forecasts generated by economists from Service Canada, Quebec region. The data source for employment is Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey. The volumes of unemployment insurance beneficiaries come from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)’s administrative data. All of the data are rounded.

  Unit Group 2153 All occupations
Employment, average 2011-2013 less than 1,500 3,990,050
Employment Insurance claimants in 2013 25 80,700
Average Annual Growth Rate 2014-2018 0.6% 0.7%
Annual Employment Variation 2014-2018 not available 26,500
Annual Attrition 2014-2018 not available 74,300
Total Annual Needs 2014-2018 not available 100,800

Employment Distribution

The data from the following employment distribution tables come from Statistics Canada’s 2011 National Household Survey (NHS).

  Unit Group 2153 All occupations
Employment by Gender
Males 58.5% 51.9%
Females 41.5% 48.1%
Employment by Age
15 - 24 years 7.6% 13.3%
25 - 44 years 56.8% 42.7%
45 - 64 years 35.5% 41.1%
65 years and over 0.0% 2.8%
Employment by Status
Full-time 94.5% 81.2%
Part-time 5.5% 18.8%
Employment by Annual Income
Full-time, full-year 68.2% 54.8%
Annual Average Income $67,500 $50,300
$0 - $19,999 1.5% 13.3%
$20,000 - $49,999 22.1% 48.0%
$50,000 and over 76.5% 38.8%
Employment by Highest Level of Schooling
Less than high-school 0.0% 12.1%
High-school 1.7% 20.3%
Post-secondary 14.7% 44.2%
Bachelors 83.7% 23.4%
Others Employment Distribution
Self-employment 6.0% 10.7%
Immigration 9.6% 13.7%
Employment by Region
Region Unit Group 2153 All occupations
Abitibi-Témiscamingue 0.0% 1.8%
Bas-Saint-Laurent 2.4% 2.3%
Capitale-Nationale 7.1% 9.4%
Centre-du-Québec 1.0% 2.9%
Chaudière-Appalaches 4.1% 5.5%
Côte-Nord / Nord-du-Québec 0.0% 1.6%
Estrie 3.0% 3.8%
Gaspésie–îles-de-la-Madeleine 0.0% 0.9%
Lanaudière 3.7% 6.1%
Laurentides 10.1% 7.3%
Laval 3.7% 5.2%
Mauricie 4.7% 3.0%
Montérégie 13.9% 19.2%
Montréal 33.4% 22.9%
Outaouais 9.8% 4.9%
Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean 3.0% 3.3%

Main Sectors of Employment

The data of the following table were prepared by economists from Service Canada, Quebec region. The data source is Statistics Canada’s 2011 National Household Survey (NHS).

Sector Unit Group 2153
Public Administration 58.9%
- Local 42.2%
- Provincial 9.0%
- Federal 7.6%
Professional, Scientific and Technical Services 24.9%
- Architectural, Engineering and Related Services 20.6%
Transportation and Warehousing 6.3%