Is CNC a Dying Trade?

CNC machining may not be top of mind for some people in terms of a career, but does that mean it's a dying trade? To give you a concrete answer, we'll have to look at trends in CNC machining so we can forecast prospects in the career.


Based on data published by the Government of Canada, CNC machining is not a dying trade, CNC machining is growing at a steady rate. While the growth for the career differs based on the province you're looking at, only the three territories as well as Newfoundland and Labrador have slower growth prospects. Meaning, that if you're in CNC you're likely to find work if you look in any of the other provinces!


According to recent news articles published in the Financial Post, there is a labour shortage in Canada. They go on to say that we should expect to see a 10,000-worker deficit in 56 nationally recognized Red Seal trades over the next five years. That number jumps to 100,000 if we include 250 provincially regulated trades in the tally. To make matters worse, 700,000 skilled tradespeople are expected to retire by 2028!


This labor shortage isn't surprising for those in the industry. If you ask them, they would say that this shortage was inevitable because of the lack of promotion of the skilled trades in high schools as well as the negative connotations associated with blue collar work. It is common knowledge in Canada, especially in Ontario, that for many years attending a trade school, or going into a trade straight from high school was not seen as being prestigious. Instead, going to university was promoted as the ideal choice. A university degree meant you made it, whereas trade schools or college were seen as the things you did because you "couldn't" get into a university. We're putting couldn't in quotation because this is definitely not the case, although it was a belief that was held in society.


*Also for our American and international friends, in Canada there is a difference between university and college. Universities tend to teach theoretical programs and offer degrees (i.e. Bachelor, Master, Ph.D.) whereas colleges teach practical programs and offer diplomas.

In more recent years, the Canadian government as well as school boards across the country have realized that pushing everyone to go to university wasn't the best decision. It's left gaping holes in our workforce which is contributing to the skilled trade labour shortages today.


Clearly since there are shortages, the likelihood of landing a skilled trade job in CNC rises higher as well. Since there will be a plethora of opportunities, you'll be able to earn top dollar for the work you do and because these industries need people there are many government programs to which you can apply and receive grants and other funding so that your schooling is essentially free.


Machinists aren't the only CNC jobs that will be available. In fact, machinist is just one title of many that an individual working in CNC can have, Here's a few more possible titles:

  • CNC machining tool operator

  • CNC woodworking machine tool operator

  • CNC machining centre operator

  • CNC tool set up operator

  • CNC lathe operator

  • CNC brake press operator

  • CNC profile mill operator

  • CNC bandsaw operator

  • CNC technologist

  • CNC foreman

  • CNC programmer

We here at DC Automotive Tooling are happy to hear that CNC machining isn't dying but is instead very much alive!