HR Insights Series: Shifting Business and Workforce Priorities Amid a Global Pandemic (Part 3)


The latest installment from ECO Canada’s HR Insights series is here! We have been tracking business and HR trends month over month to understand how the environmental workforce has been impacted by COVID-19 and other current events.

While the continued re-opening of Canada’s economy contributed to substantial job gains in June, employers and workers are still dealing with the residual effects of the economic shutdown. Adding to this complexity is the emergence of new workforce opportunities and challenges stemming from return to work measures as well as the delay, suspension or cancellation of environmental protection and monitoring activities across Canada.

Change is the Only Constant

The labour market continued its rebound as more businesses re-opened in June, increasing employment by nearly one million. Unemployment caused by the economic shutdown shifted from 5.5 million by April to 3.1 million by June, reducing the national unemployment rate to 12.3%. Statistics Canada also noted that employment was closer to pre-shutdown levels for industries with business and workplace settings that can apply physical distancing and men across all age groups.

Employers and workers are adapting once again to their evolving realities. Some Canadians have returned to their place of work where enhanced health and safety measures have been introduced to reduce the potential for virus transmission. Governments, businesses and individuals are also preparing for various economic scenarios ― from a full recovery to another forced shutdown caused by a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

Impacts on Employers are Waning

A total of 151 employers responded to ECO Canada’s HR Pulse Survey, representing 42,500 workers.

Insights from Part 1 and Part 2 of this series revealed that the majority of companies were negatively impacted to some degree by either COVID-19 or depressed oil and gas markets. Our latest results show that there is still a lingering negative impact on employers, but to a lesser extent than observed over the previous months.

Employer HR Pulse―Interactive Report

Click through the interactive report to learn about employer respondents, how they have been impacted, and the solutions they are using to help workforce recovery efforts.

*Data may take a moment to load

Shifting Perspectives on Environmental Work

A total of 143 workers took part in the survey from across Canada.

Comparable to other research, our June results show a decrease in the number of individuals who were working from home, suggesting a partial return to their pre-pandemic work arrangement. Those who maintained employment were working the same amount or busier than usual within the same role, reporting an 8% increase between May and June.

Survey responses also revealed a growing concern among workers directly or indirectly impacted by the intentional reduction in environmental requirements. Despite the long-term sustainability goals made by Canada, respondents questioned the viability of a green career as a number of environmental activities and jobs took a hit, signalling a new risk to the sector. ECO Canada will be tracking the persistence of this perspective to understand how current events influence the growth and sustainability of the environmental workforce.

Worker HR Pulse―Interactive Report

Click through the interactive report to learn about worker respondents, how they have been impacted, and the steps employers have taken to support them.

*Data may take a moment to load

The Need for Labour Market Information is Greater than Ever

Our latest survey results reveal that labour market conditions will continue to evolve in the days, weeks and months to come. The reinstatement of environmental reporting across Alberta, along with the injection of funds to clean up orphan wells are yet another indicator of change, likely driving environmental job growth in Western Canada.

The labour market outlook we are preparing for publication later this summer is another value-added research commitment―one that presents both insight and foresight in a post-COVID world. We are in the midst of synthesizing data and insights to provide a detailed look at environmental job opportunities, workforce challenges and talent solutions over the next decade. Sign up for our eNewsletter to stay informed!

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Join our Research Community to actively contribute to labour market research and share your knowledge with environmental professionals across Canada.

Funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program. The opinions and interpretations in this publication are ECO Canada’s and do not necessarily reflect those held by the Government of Canada.

For more information, please contact research@eco.ca

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