Back Office

The Back Office Archetype comprises employment in establishments providing services in office administration and the day-to-day functioning of businesses. These tasks include billing, record-keeping, personnel, employment placement, temporary help services, call centres, document preparation and handling, and credit bureaus.

Activities included in the Back Office Archetype tend to be routine, and the majority of employment in this Archetype is categorized as low-skilled or unskilled.[1] These are the kinds of activities that are vulnerable to automation. Indeed, back-office employment in the GGH declined from 55,000 jobs in 2006, to 52,000 in 2016.

Table 10: Back Office Archetype Employment, GGH, 2006 and 2016

 

2006

2016

Change

% Change

Back office

54,710

51,715

-2,995

-5.5

Archetypes total

1,481,595

1,459,825

-21,770

-1.5

Total GGH core employment

2,300,015

2,375,465

75,450

3.3

Total GGH employment

3,437,935

3,710,915

272,980

7.9

 

Similar to HOBS, back-office locations have tended to follow those of client firms, with a dominant concentration in the Toronto core. Back-office employment extends north along the Yonge Street corridor, with small nodes in the Hamilton and Waterloo downtowns. Otherwise, back-office jobs tend to be scattered across inner and outer suburban areas, including in the Markham, Airport, and Meadowvale SKIDs. The urban environment characteristics for these SKIDs have been described above.

The loss of jobs has taken place primarily in Toronto's inner suburbs and in older urban areas near Highway 401, east and west of the City. There was also a net loss of these jobs in some parts of Downtown Toronto. The City of Toronto as a whole experienced a net loss of some 2,600 back-office jobs between 2006 and 2016. Meanwhile, newer suburban areas in Vaughan, Markham, Mississauga and Brampton experienced some modest job growth, as well as in Barrie. (See Maps 9 and 10.)

While there was a net loss of back-office jobs in the GGH, and we would expect this trend to continue given the ongoing automation of routine tasks, it appears that some geographical sorting is also occurring within the region.

Some back-office uses may be abandoning the relatively high-cost downtown to relocate in lower-cost suburban areas.

Map 9:  Back Office Archetype Employment, GGH, 2016

Map 10:  Back Office Archetype Employment Change, GGH, 2006-2016

 

[1] From an analysis of Labour Force Survey data.