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  • Writer's picturePetra Prazakova

Canada's Robotics Ecosystem Labour Trends - Where have the Roboticists Gone?

Updated: Sep 26, 2023

INTRODUCTION


At Robotics Talent Lab, we proudly support North America's robotics ecosystem in attracting, engaging and recruiting top PhD and master's degree robotics specialists. In doing so, we recognize the value of staying ahead of trends, which are unique to this sector, and identifying candidate patterns that may benefit the talent acquisition strategies of companies competing for top robotics talent.

One of the trends Canada's robotics ecosystem is watching closely is the migration of Canadian-educated roboticists to other countries. In our work, we see these trends as well. Many newly graduated PhD and master's degree robotics specialists have said they intend to move to the USA or abroad once they gain sufficient work experience in Canada. But exactly how concerning is this to Canada's robotics talent pool? What percentage of Canadian-educated robotics specialists actually do leave Canada for opportunities in the US or abroad? We decided to find out.


OUR STUDY– LABOUR TRENDS IN CANADA’S ROBOTICS ECOSYSTEM


We turned to our growing network of PhD and master's degree robotics specialists who have graduated from Canadian universities to capture the data we needed to conduct this study. For each person, we captured job titles, place of current employment and location. We categorized the sectors where each robotics specialist is currently working, as well as the University departments from which they led their theses research.


Based on this data, we segmented industry, academia, and public sectors into these categories:

  • Industry - Robotics ecosystem (includes autonomous systems and drone technologies)

  • Industry - Other (includes robotics process automation - RPA)

  • Academia (includes those who are academics, researchers, or current graduate students)

  • Public Sector - Robotics Ecosystem

  • Public Sector - Other

We then captured the percentage of Canadian-educated robotics specialists who have migrated to the USA or other countries after graduation and in which regions, companies, sectors, and jobs they have chosen to work. Here is what we found.


UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO – OUR FIRST SAMPLE SET


We began our project with a look at 355 PhD and master's degree graduates from the University of Toronto, between 1993 and 2021, whose thesis research included robotics, autonomous systems, and/or drone technologies.

As Figure 1 illustrates, the majority (83%) graduated from four departments at the University of Toronto:

  1. Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (33%)

  2. Aerospace Science and Engineering (18%)

  3. Electrical and Computer Engineering (17%)

  4. Computer Science (15%)

Within these four departments, 53% graduated with a master's degree and 47% were PhD graduates.

A clustered bar chart showing which University of Toronto academic departments the authors led their robotics thesis research
U of T academic departments that supported robotics thesis research | Robotics Talent Lab Inc. - Blog Nov 2022

PREFERRED SECTORS BY LOCATION


Perhaps not so surprising, the majority are working within the Robotics ecosystem industry sector, regardless of location (see Figure 2). What is perhaps interesting is that almost 50% more University of Toronto robotics specialists, who migrated to USA, work in the robotics industry compared to those working in the same sector in Canada or globally.

Notably, the portion of University of Toronto robotics specialists in industry, academia and public sector jobs is quite similar among those working in Canada and globally, compared to those who have chosen to work in the USA.

Three pie charts, one for USA, Canada, and globally, showing which sectors University of Toronto robotics graduates are currently working in 2022
U of T robotics graduates - In which sectors do they currently work? | Robotics Talent Lab Inc. - Blog Nov 2022

PREFERRED SECTORS BY ACADEMIC DEPARTMENT


When we looked at each of the four academic departments at the University of Toronto that generated the most robotics theses, we found some interesting trends as well. As Figures 3 and 4 show, within the robotics industry sector, most post-graduate robotics specialists studied Aerospace Science and Engineering. And of those who have chosen academia as a career, nearly half studied Mechanical and Industrial Engineering. A very small percentage from all departments have chosen a career in the public sector.

A stacked column chart showing which sectors University of Toronto robotics graduates from four academic departments  are currently working in 2022
U of T robotics theses - preferred sectors by academic department | Robotics Talent Lab Inc. - Blog Nov 2022
A spreadsheet showing the percentage distribution of PhD and master's degree graduates who studied at four University of Toronto academic departments and the sectors they are currently working in 2022
U of T graduate-level robotics-led theses by academic department | Robotics Talent Lab Inc. - Blog Nov 2022

PERCENTAGE OF ROBOTICS SPECIALISTS WHO STAY IN CANADA


As mentioned, one of the raised concerns within Canada’s robotics ecosystem is the number of Canadian-educated, post-graduate robotics specialists who have chosen careers outside of Canada. In our study those who graduated in 2021 or earlier, 69% are currently working for companies, the public sector and academia in Canada (see Figure 5), with 86% of those remaining in Ontario after graduation.


Another 22% are working in the USA, with nearly 60% of those working in the state of California (see Figure 6).


The remaining 9% have careers in Belgium, Chile, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Japan, Jordan, New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, UAE, and the United Kingdom.


We plan to broaden our study to other universities in Canada to see how this rate of migration might change. Do University of Toronto 'robotics' graduates prefer to stay in Canada and are other graduate-level robotics specialists more likely to work abroad? We plan to find out.


A pie chart and global map showing the countries where University of Toronto graduate-level robotics specialists are currently working in 2022
Global migration of U of T robotics PhD and master's graduates | Robotics Talent Lab Inc. - Blog Nov 2022

Maps of Canada and USA that show which provinces and states University of Toronto  graduate-level robotics specialists are currently working in 2022
U of T Robotics Theses - Where in Canada or USA do the authors currently work? | Robotics Talent Lab Inc. - Blog Nov 2022

IDENTIFYING, ATTRACTING AND RETAINING TOP ROBOTICS TALENT


Today, the competition for talent is extremely fierce and attracting top talent has never been more challenging. At Robotics Talent Lab, our passion for fostering exceptional careers begins by understanding technology and labour trends that are driving the growth of robotics, autonomous systems, or drone technologies.


With this knowledge, we can better support companies within the robotics ecosystem to hire great people with key skills and motivations ready to take on career-changing opportunities. However, to attract top performers, especially in today's highly competitive talent market, there are four key considerations:


1. Offer a great job that is a true career move.

2. Target the entire talent market.

3. Conduct an in-depth interview that focuses on the candidate's ability and motivation to do the work.

4. Offer a position that maximizes the career opportunity not the compensation.

And there in lies our passion and commitment to supporting the growth of the robotics ecosystem. At Robotics Talent Lab, we generate high-quality candidate relationships and conduct performance-based assessments to identify not only the right skills but the key motivations that produce top performers and key contributors at the highest possible Recruitment ROI.


We aim to be a long-term, strategic recruitment partner by identifying, attracting, and engaging genuine

A-Players: Those who bring key academic credentials, industry-specific experience, hard-to-find skills, intuitive knowledge, and a track record of measurable achievements. And in doing so, we proudly represent your brand with the highest ethical and professional standards.


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Robotics Talent Lab Inc.



A collage of pictures showing robots, drones, robotics specialists, autonomous systems and the logo for Robotics Talent Lab Inc.
Robotics Talent Lab Inc. - Specialists in robotics, autonomy, and drones talent acquisition

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