Return of Employer Confidence in Canada
Although temporary restrictions were introduced in December, the number of environmental job ads increased slightly from Q3 to Q4 — revealing growth for two consecutive quarters. Also, Q3 and Q4 2020 environmental job postings surpassed the number of job vacancies seen two years ago.
Total environmental job postings for the year still remain 11% below 2019 but are up by 12% since 2018. The annual EnviroShare has also been on an upward trend over the last two years, from 2.8% in 2018 to 3.7% in 2019 to 4.1% in 2020 (↑1.3 percentage points). This suggests that current market trends disproportionately affected job vacancies outside of the environmental sector. Not only is employer confidence returning to pre-pandemic levels, but the data also indicates that a greener economic recovery is underway.
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Residual effects of the economic shutdown were most pronounced from April to June of 2020 and continued through to the end of the year. Total environmental job postings in 2020 decreased from 2019 by 18,355 ads, with 94% of this job vacancy loss being absorbed by British Columbia (-9,116), Alberta (-4,671), and Quebec (-3,478).
All occupational groups experienced a reduction in environmental job ads from 2019, with large decreases observed in Natural and applied sciences and related occupations (-6,550), Management occupations (-3,715) and Business, finance and administration occupations (-2,713). One exception to this trend was Health occupations, which underwent a 25% increase to 5,377 environmental job postings in 2020.
In 2020, Public administration, Accommodation and food services, and Manufacturing industries experienced the largest decrease in environmental job postings. Of these industries, Public administration has shown signs of gradual recovery in Q4 2020 (+94), whereas Accommodation and food services and Manufacturing have continued to see decreases in environmental job ads (-148 and -212, respectively). Unlike most industries, Health care and social assistance saw an increase to 9,950 (+1,516) in environmental job ads relative to 2019.
As we transition into a new year, market uncertainty is expected to continue and influence environmental job vacancies across Canada. The prospect of vaccinations for Canadians has created much needed optimism, but the lagging rollout has created additional uncertainty. Bank of Canada has highlighted that there is going to be a need for monetary stimulus to reduce the impact of the pandemic on the economy and that there will likely be long-term scarring on the labour market.
Our findings also complement the Future Skills Centre’s Labour Demand Trends During the COVID-19 Pandemic report, which identified that workers employed in industries where social distancing is not possible were hardest hit throughout the pandemic.
In the case of environmental workers of declining industries, these trends may be less cause for concern. ECO Canada’s Environmental Labour Supply Outlook found that environmental workers have the qualifications to work in a number of different industries. Therefore, a decline in certain industries does not mean that those industry workers cannot find positions elsewhere.
ECO Canada will continue to actively monitor job posting data to provide timely, relevant, and credible information and insights on Canada’s environmental workforce.