Urban and Land Use Planners
Unit Group 2153
Skill Type: Natural and Applied Sciences and Related Occupations
Table of contents
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
- planning analyst
- recreation planner
- regional planner
- urban planner
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
- Ordre des urbanistes du Québec
- Association des urbanistes et aménagistes municipaux du Québec
- Association des aménagistes régionaux du Québec
- Association québécoise d'urbanisme
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|
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|
|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|
|Employment by Annual Income|
|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%|
|Others Employment Distribution|
|Region||Unit Group 2153||All occupations|
|Côte-Nord / Nord-du-Québec||0.0%||1.6%|
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|
|Professional, Scientific and Technical Services||24.9%|
|- Architectural, Engineering and Related Services||20.6%|
|Transportation and Warehousing||6.3%|
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