Spotting the Hottest Green Jobs of the Future

Angie - Test Knowles, | February-10-12

Hottest Green Jobs

In an exciting addition to our research series on green employment trends, a new national study is currently underway at ECO Canada. This latest report will focus on which green jobs show the greatest growth potential across Canada and what skills will be required to fill these positions. 
Our newest study takes place at a time of remarkable expansion in environmental employment. Over 2 million Canadians currently perform environmental activities in their work, and at least 17% of Canadian companies have one or more environmental employees on staff.
Yet although many individuals are aware of the tremendous employment potential associated with green growth, few know what the expansion of Canada’s green economy will mean for future occupations, skills requirements or training. 
So far, our first report on the green economy has found that the most powerful effect of green growth on employment has been in the adaptation or reallocation of existing jobs. As environmental work becomes more commonplace and widespread, professionals are learning new skills and/or applying their existing skill-sets to new contexts. A full review of the Defining the Green Economy report is available in the icon on the right.
Defining the Green EconomyIn a preliminary description of what this skills shift has looked like so far, employers outlined several broad trends. They talked about a need for professionals who have strong technical competence, and are well-versed in systems integration and interdisciplinary cooperation.
These employers also mentioned an emerging challenge finding enough workers who possess adequate knowledge of sustainable development and practices, who are adept at adapting to rapid technological change, and/or who are capable of demonstrating an understanding of how larger environmental issues connect across diverse areas and disciplines.
While these insights are important, they represent a starting point. More detail is needed on what kinds of jobs are the most prevalent in Canada’s green economy, and the types of skills and training that workers draw upon to perform these roles. 
As a result, this most recent study will identify the major industries that contribute to the green economy and highlight the particular skills, training and work activities that are required for specific occupations in these industries. Over the course of identifying which green jobs to profile, we will be keeping an eye out for clusters of green employment that exhibit strong economic resilience, with less variability in job function or labour force size in relation to economic uncertainty. 
The final results of the study will address three vital questions for employers, professionals and policymakers: What skills will future environmental workers need, what occupations will they work in, and where will they be employed?

It will be exciting to see how this latest research contributes to our existing knowledge of environmental employment. What questions do you believe are the most critical to understanding the impact of the green economy on Canadian jobs? Where is more research still needed?