Welcome to the WEdata Sector Blog Series where we review the supply and demand of labour for each of the region’s top sectors of employment. To read more blogs like this, visit www.workforcewindsoressex.com/sectors.



The 2,704 businesses in the Transportation and Warehousing (NAICS #48-49) sector accounts for 8.1% of all businesses in Windsor-Essex. It employs a workforce of approximately 8,140 workers or .4% of the total workforce in Windsor-Essex.  

Organization Size: Sixty-six percent (66%) of businesses in this sector are owner-operated with no employees. Of the 911 businesses that are employers, 87% are small with less than 10 employees and there is just one larger employer with a workforce of over 500 employees.

Demographics: The female to male gender ratio is approximately 3:7 in this sector, with males making up over 80% of workers in Water, Rail, Pipeline, and Courier transportation. The ratio is closer in only in the Postal Service where females outnumber males 57% to 43%. Males constitute most (91%) of the self-employed workers, while females outnumber males 2:1 as unpaid family workers in this sector.  

While 76% of this workforce is between 35-64 years old, about 6% are over 65 years old and 5% are under 24 years old.

Work Activity and Income: The median income for full-year, full-time workers across this sector in Windsor CMA is $49.3K.  The highest earners are in Rail Transport ($75.2K) and the lowest earners are in Truck Transport ($49.3K). Warehousing and storage workers’ median income is $52.4K. All these incomes are well over the national median income of $36.5K. Those who work full-year, part-time earn $17.9K and part-year, full-time or part-time earn $20K.

Education and Income: Just under 50% of the workers in this sector have post-secondary education qualifications, including apprenticeship, college, university certificate, and university degrees. Higher educational attainment is not necessarily related to higher income in this sector, with those having apprenticeship, college, and high school qualification earning the same or sometimes more than those with university qualifications.  

Retirement: National projected Sector Retirement rates hover around 4.5% for Postal, Courier, Warehousing, and Storage service workers. Rates for Air, Rail, Water, and Pipeline transport workers are much higher at 9.5%, and even higher for Truck and Ground Passenger transport workers at 14%.  Projected Occupational Retirement rates vary in this sector and range from a low of 1.3% for Dispatchers and Transportation route and crew schedulers to a high of 3.8% for Bus Drivers and other transit drivers. According to the Canadian Occupational Projections System (COPS) data, the national median retirement age for Truck drivers is 62, for Couriers is 60, and for Managers in Postal and Telecommunications is 68 years old.

Education and Training: The Enrollment by Institution page shows how many students are enrolled in post-secondary programs at colleges and universities across Ontario. Organisations and businesses can search for the programs and institutions that they recruit and hire graduates from to see recent enrollment numbers for specific programs and institutions. Those organisations that want to attract the best and brightest talent are wise to be proactive and build relationships with education and training institutions and their instructors. Going even further to develop onsite opportunities for cooperative education and internship placements for students also gives employers an opportunity to test-drive potential employees. Everyone benefits. Local employers in this sector believe that more needs to be done in schools to teach students about the transportation and warehousing sector. Students need to be made more aware of occupations available in this sector. Employers believe that currently, students who do not perform well academically and have poor soft skills are pushed more towards jobs in this sector. Local employers believe that practical experiences such as co-op placements and apprenticeships will provide great opportunities for students to realize the opportunities available in this sector.

Automation: These projections indicate how much of a given occupation’s work activities could be automated. They reflect automation predictions that routine activities, such as predictable physical work and processing and collecting data, are more susceptible to automation, while those at low risk involve managing people and complex tasks employing expertise. Projections show that the probability of automation this sector is quite high ranging from 99% for Air transport ramp attendants to 79% for Transport Truck Drivers to 27% for Boat operators and related occupations.  Local consultations show that employers expect some vehicle automation in the future, but will still require the need for a human element more often than not.

While automation may lead to some job losses and task restructuring, it is important to keep in mind that the Talented Mr. Robot report and others have concluded that in actuality less than 5% of occupations could be completely automated. The authors suggest that mitigating the potential negative effects will take collaboration between all sectors to increase understanding of the implications, identify local technological strengths and opportunities, and provide education and training to those whose jobs will be impacted. They also acknowledge that automation in sectors is likely to be slower than initial predictions for multiple reasons, including as prohibitive costs, some technological advances are not occurring as quickly as predicted, and people’s preference that humans rather than machines to perform certain tasks.

Through consultations with local employers in this sector, Workforce WindsorEssex has identified a strong demand for truck drivers in our region. The international border between Windsor and Detroit is the busiest commercial international border crossing for transport trucks in North America, so our region will always have a strong demand for qualified truck drivers. Complimenting the high demand for truck drivers in our region is a demand for trained and qualified truck mechanics, as well.

Sources: Census 2016; The Talented Mr. Robot (2016).  

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