How to make the green job shift

Jennifer Schultz | February-21-14

Making the transition into an environmental job

Over the past 20 years, environmental employment has been on the rise. And that trend is expected to continue. 

  • Over 340,000 environmental workers are expected to retire over the next 10 years.
  • Over 40% of employers anticipate that the total number of environmental employees will increase over the next two years.


To help fill the growing demand in environmental employment, employers are utilizing workers from other sectors and industries to fill their job vacancies. This is especially the case for senior and experienced roles. According to our latest research study, transitioning workers were one of the top sources for hires, representing over 20% of all new hires.


canada's environmental workforce is changing with upcoming retirements


Many environmental sub-sectors that are in demand emphasize well-rounded and interdisciplinary skills including both technical skills and soft skills. The top sub-sectors in high demand include:

  • Waste Management
  • Environmental Health and Safety
  • Water Quality
  • Site Assessment and Reclamation
  • Sustainability
  • Communication and Public Awareness
  • Environmental Education and Training
  • Energy
  • Air Quality
  • Natural Resource Management


The Importance of Building Soft Skills

When looking to transition into a different sector or industry, demonstrating valuable soft skills can help increase your marketability. 


the hard part about soft skills is that they can make or break your career. quote


In Canada’s environmental sector, 1 out of 3 employers report having a tough time finding the right staff with the right skills for their work.  And these skills are not always technical.

So what are the top skills Canadian environmental employers look for?

1.    Project Management (mentioned by 76% of employers)
2.    Planning & Organizing Work Projects (mentioned by 74% of employers)
3.    Written Communication (mentioned by 72% of employers)
4.    Verbal Communication (mentioned by 69% of employers)
5.    Leading/Influencing Others (mentioned by 64% of employers)


the top skills in demand from environmental employers include project management and written communication

How do I build these skills?

While some skills are easier to build on than others, online training can help.  Since online training can be taken anywhere and at any time, it can be an effective, low-cost solution to enhance your skillset. Online training also offers many benefits including learning at a faster rate and being environmentally friendly.


online training can help bridge the gap between the skills you learned in your education to the ones needed in environmental jobs


To help you develop the skills that matter most, we’ve developed the ECO Academy.  Our Environmental Project Management and Technical Writing for Environmental Professionals courses target the top three highly-demanded skills. Best of all, the courses are designed specifically for environmental work.



2013 Profile of Canadian Environmental Employment
2010 Profile of Canadian Environmental Employment
2009 HR Insights for Employers