Post by: Angie Knowles, ECO Canada
One of the most exciting aspects of jobs in Canada’s green economy is the sheer number and range of different green careers out there.
Many of these jobs present promising opportunities that few people have even heard of.
Of course, the real challenge with planning for a green career is not just being aware of all of the jobs available, but actually having a clear sense of which ones are in solid demand and feature long-term job security.
We kept this goal in mind for the research behind our latest report, The Green Jobs Map. Since knowing which green jobs are in high demand is so important for existing green professionals, transitioning workers and students, we compiled a list of the main occupations that appeared most often in 5 top sectors.
Top 5 Sectors With Job Vacancies
Based on the number of green job openings that we found in Canada, the following 5 sectors accounted for the highest percentage of vacancies:
- Environmental Protection (38% of new green job listings were in this sector)
- Resource Conservation (21%)
- Renewable/Green Energy (11%)
- Green Services (10%)
- Sustainability Planning/Design/Urban Design (8%)
When we looked at the occupations that were mentioned frequently in the green job posts for these sectors, here’s what we found:
Top Green Jobs
SECTOR #1: Environmental Protection
This sector included industries associated with air purification technologies, wastewater treatment, site assessment and reclamation, and pollution control, just to name a few.
To support work in these various areas, environmental protection companies were looking for professionals who could be:
- Managers (Examples: Operations Manager, Terrestrial Resources Manager, Environmental Manager)
- Engineers (Examples: Air Quality Environmental Engineer, Water Resources Engineer, Geo-Environmental Engineer)
- Regulation and Policy Professionals (Examples: Compliance Coordinator, Air Quality Compliance Specialist, Regulatory Compliance Supervisor)
- Remediation Professionals (Example: Contaminated Sites Professional)
- Safety and Health Professionals (Examples: EHS Auditor, Occupational Hygiene & Safety Specialist, Process Safety Technical Authority)
Is being an Environmental Manager your dream green job?
Environmental Managers lead projects that reduce environmental impact and ensure that an organization fulfills its legislative requirements.
In this role, professionals might coordinate public hearings and consultations on environmental issues, develop pollution control, pollution prevention and recycling programs, prepare compliance reports for regulators, or create environmental strategies that support sustainable development, resource conservation and waste reduction.
In most cases, an Environmental Manager holds at least a university degree.
Key Strength for this Job: Being able to combine expertise in project development and management with a broad understanding of environmental issues, practices and knowledge.
SECTOR #2: Resource Conservation
We found that many of the jobs in the Resource Conservation sector were associated with work in fisheries and wildlife, and natural resources management, such as sustainable forestry, land management and water or soil conservation.
For jobs in this sector, employers were frequently looking for:
- Managers (Examples: Aquatic Resources Manager, Conservation Crew Leader, Managing Environmental Services Leader)
- Engineers (Examples: Municipal Engineering Manager, Water Resources Engineer, Environmental Engineer Geoscientist)
- Specialists (Examples: Arborist, GIS Specialist, Conservation Programs Specialist)
- Biologists (Examples: Fisheries Biologist, Marine Biologist, Wildlife Biologist)
- Ecology Specialists (Example: Restoration Ecology Professional)
Ever wonder what it would be like to work as a Conservation Officer?
Conservation Officers promote compliance with environmental legislation through public education, community engagement and public awareness.
As part of their day-to-day work, Conservation Officers investigate complaints of non-compliance with natural resource laws, prepare cases for court briefings and consultations, advise the public on environmental safety issues, and patrol areas to ensure that they are being conserved and protected.
The typical salary range for this role is between $43,500 and $54,500 in Canada.
Key Strength for this Job: Having a knack for building strong relationships and a positive rapport with diverse members of the community.
SECTOR #3: Renewable/Green Energy
Many companies in this sector were involved in a wide range of renewable energy industries, including geo-exchange or earth energy, hydropower, ocean/wave energy, solar energy, or wind energy, as well as such green energy industries as co-generation power, hydrogen power, and nuclear energy.
Other employers in this sector performed activities in biofuels and biogas, and renewable energy services.
Accordingly, employers in Renewable/Green Energy were filling these positions:
- Managers (Examples: Business Development Manager, Quality Control Manager, Regulatory Manager)
- Engineers (Examples: Civil Engineer, Process Engineer – Solar Manufacturing, Hydro-Electrical Engineer)
- Specialists (Examples: Security Advisor, Technical Specialist, Training Coordinator- Cogeneration Facility)
- Technicians (Examples: Mechanical Service Technician, Wind Technician)
- Operators (Examples: Boiler Operator)
Have you considered a day-in-the life of a Process Engineer?
Process Engineers design, modify and troubleshoot the equipment that is used in manufacturing and chemical processes.
Duties can vary widely, but some of the typical work activities for Process Engineers include evaluating design proposals and implementation, preparing conceptual plans that define a project’s scope and required engineering input, creating analytical programs that monitor and support operations, and providing solutions to repair or improve operating and process equipment.
In addition to obtaining at least a university undergraduate degree, Process Engineers must also be registered and licensed as Professional Engineer with their provincial association.
Key Strength for this Job: Being able to apply creative and solutions-oriented thinking in order to come up with designs and modifications for equipment that increase efficiency and reduce harmful environmental impacts.
SECTOR #4: Green Services
This is one of those sectors that offers numerous green employment opportunities but is rarely top of mind when it comes to common perceptions of available green jobs. Under the umbrella of Green Services, there are companies involved in business services (e.g. legal, marketing and ICT), education and training, financial services (e.g. carbon finance & investment, venture capital and energy traders), communication and public awareness, policy and legislation, and research and development.
For work in these various areas, employers are looking for:
- Managers (Examples: Manager of Environmental Partnerships, Manager of Sustainability and Stakeholder Communications, Project Manager of Mining Permitting)
- Specialists (Examples: Network Coordinator, Senior Consultant of Management Systems, Ecological Farming Systems Development Professional)
- Scientists (Examples: Social Scientist, Economic Scientist, Staff Scientist)
- Maintenance Professionals (Examples: Lead Hand, Grounds Worker)
- Meteorology Professionals (Example: Meteorologist)
What’s it like to work as a Meteorologist?
Meteorologists analyze large amounts of data on temperature, wind, pressure, humidity and weather satellite data to provide forecasts and warnings of weather conditions.
For these professionals, a typical day might involve providing short and long-range forecasts for marine, aviation, transportation and building industries, compiling information for the public on weather, UV levels and air quality, preparing presentations and reports on special weather events or air quality issues, and analyzing atmospheric models and data for trends and correlations.
In Canada, Meteorologists can make between $58,000 to $72,000 annually.
Key Strength for this Job: Being a “numbers person” with a keen eye for detail, along with the capacity to work with huge amounts of data to create accurate weather models and projections.
SECTOR #5: Sustainability Planning/Design/Urban Design
Employers in this sector are looking for talent to fill the following roles:
- Managers (Examples: Director of Economics & Sustainability Location Operations, Project Manager – Urban Development, Manager of Operational Sustainability)
- Planning Professionals (Examples: Administrative Planning Technician, Ecological Planner, Resource Planning Technician)
- Specialists in Regulation and Policy (Example: Senior Policy Analyst-Sustainability)
- Other Occupational Groups (Examples: Corporate Environmental Specialist, Environmental Planner, Environmental Services Mining Practice Leader)
Thinking about a career as an Environmental Planner?
Environmental Planners develop plans for land-use that address the need for development of rural and urban areas, with consideration of social, economic and environmental issues.
As part of the job, Environmental Planners meet with various groups, such as other planners, public stakeholders, industry representatives and developers, review and interpret maps, aerial photos, and field investigation reports, participate in public inquiries about land development and strategize, develop and manage different land planning processes.
Environmental Planners at all levels usually make between $66,500 to $90,893 per year in Canada.
Key Strength for this Job: Being able to effectively balance what can often be competing interests, with the goal of producing plans for land and resource development that address environmental, social and economic needs.
Overall Career Trends in the Green Economy
As you’ve probably already noticed, there is an especially strong demand for managers, engineers and specialists across most of these sectors.
Furthermore, the job titles listed here are just a small selection of the different green occupations that employers are hiring for. It’s worth checking out The Green Jobs Map to see the full list of remarkable green jobs that are currently available.