A year in research: a summary of our recent reports


Over the last 12 months, our research team has released 11 reports which dive into the future of Canada’s environmental sector and its workforce. We’ve looked at the overall trends for the sector as Canada begins post-pandemic recovery and into specific industries such as cleantech, energy-efficient buildings and nature conservation.

Our aim is to arm people, from the government to academia and businesses to individuals, with the knowledge that they need to make more informed decisions. If you’ve missed the launch of any of our recent reports, you’ll find a summary of the key findings below and details on how to read more.

Environmental Jobs and Hiring Trends

ECO Canada researcher

We released three reports which look at the environmental labour market challenges and opportunities in the decade ahead.

Environmental Labour Market Challenge and Opportunities

The first two reports looking into the challenges and opportunities facing the environmental labour workforce were released in late 2020. They showed the following:

From Recession to Recovery: Environmental Labour Demand Outlook

From Recession to Recovery: Environmental Labour Supply Outlook

Updated: Environmental Labour Market Outlook to 2025

In 2021, we released an update to these reports. Though the challenges and opportunities facing the sector remain, this new report reflects the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the environmental workforce. The pandemic has affected every area of the economy but the outlook is more promising for the environmental sector; which is expected to rebound quicker than others.

Job Posting Analysis Dashboard

Another way to stay on top of current hiring trends in the environmental sector is to use our interactive Job Posting Analysis dashboard.

The dashboard is updated quarterly to present the most recent data, trends and insights by region, occupation, industry and environmental specialization.

Our review of 2020’s job postings showed that:

Sector profiles

We also dove deeper into certain sectors and looked at the opportunities they offer for the Canadian economy.

Cleantech canada 2021

Cleantech Defined: A Scoping Study of the Sector and its Workforce

Cleantech innovation is a trillion-dollar global industry and Canada has huge potential to become a market leader. This report looked at the Canadian cleantech industry in more detail to present the skills, trends and opportunities facing the sector and its workforce. It found that:

Bioenergy: An Exciting Opportunity for Canada

Another area that shows potential for Canada to emerge as a leader in is the bioenergy sector. Canada has a relatively small domestic demand for bioenergy but an ample supply of biomass, putting it in a strong position to supply bioenergy internationally.

Key findings from our bioenergy research included:

The Growing Nature Conservation Workforce: Reducing Canada’s Footprint

Canada’s commitment to protecting 25% of its lands and oceans by 2025 and 30% by 2030 will transform how it protects and recovers species at risk, and advances reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. This will require increased investment in nature conservation, resulting in increased demand for workers.

This nature conservation study begins to fill the current knowledge gap surrounding the sector’s workforce. It found that:

Energy Efficiency in buildings

As Canada aims to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, one sector which could make a huge impact is the building sector. This report looked at the opportunities and challenges facing the building sector and its workforce and what is needed for it to have a lasting positive impact.

Amongst the findings were:

Competencies and transferable skills

Our research forecasts 173,000 net environmental job openings by 2025, resulting from sector growth and the retirement of current employees. As the environmental sector grows and develops, so too will the types of jobs available. Some industries will grow, and others may see a decline in jobs, and some workers will be required to switch industries.

These factsheets and competency guides help individuals see what skills and competencies they need to demonstrate for success in the environmental sector.

Impact Assessment Management Professional Competency

This profile highlights the integrative approach impact assessment managers when conducting an impact assessment and the technical expertise required to identify potential environmental, economic, and social consequences of proposed development projects.

Read to find out what it takes to become an impact assessment manager.

Worker Transferability factsheets

ECO Canada’s worker transferability fact sheets provide individuals who are seeking new employment opportunities with helpful information about an alternative occupation that uses some of the same skills as their current job.

Fact sheets currently available include:

Looking ahead

The remaining reports we released last year look ahead at the trends, developments and opportunities influencing the sector and how the sector can come together to address potential employment barriers.

Employability guide

National Environmental Workforce Strategy Framework

On March 9, 2021, over 40 environmental sector stakeholders gathered to discuss current workforce issues facing the sector and develop a strategic framework of potential solutions to national concerns.

Twelve broad strategic solutions were identified to address workforce attraction, retention and development issues related to employment in the environmental sector.

See the proposed solutions here.

A Green Economic Recovery: Trends, Developments, and Opportunities for the Environmental Workforce

With a forecasted 44% increase in environmental jobs between 2020 to 2030, there will be thousands of new jobs arising as new needs and opportunities are identified. This report identifies the key trends, development and opportunities for the environmental workforce and discusses their implications for the environmental sector.

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