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Canada’s Best Jobs 2015: Mining & Forestry Manager

UPDATED! Click here for 2017’s ranking of Canada’s Best Jobs »
Mining manager

(Monty Rakusen/Getty)

Median Salary: $108,804.80
Change in Salary (2008–2014): +25%
Total Employees: 10,700
Change in Employees (2008–2014): +37%

This class of managers in natural resources—also known as primary production managers—make Canada’s resource economy run. They lead production facilities like oil wells, mines and fisheries, and are responsible for a wide variety of duties, from ensuring production targets are met to quality control to health and safety. Tasked with operating extremely complicated equipment and leading dozens, if not hundreds, of front-line resource workers, this job requires deep technical knowledge along with the soft skills necessary to manage people in what can be unforgiving or even dangerous locales.

How to qualify: You can’t go wrong with an engineering degree. In order to run a production facility like an oil well or a mine, you’ll first have to have experience on both the technical and operations side. You’ll need to gain experience at a number of levels before being tapped to run an operation, so be prepared to get your hands dirty before making management.

Money: Natural resources managers managers working in oil, gas or mining can command six-figures. Salaries, especially in oil and gas and mining, can be quite high, topping off around $200,000 annually. Jobs in forestry aren’t quite as lucrative, but workers can still expect to make upwards of $80,000. In addition to being named our Best Job overall in 2014, this one also had the highest median salaries.

Opportunity: This varies widely depending on the field and, in some cases, an industry’s cyclical nature. Fisheries has shown very little growth, while oil and gas was booming before oil prices slumped in 2014. Forestry had been a laggard for several years, but a resurgent U.S. economy is now driving growth again.

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