Environmental professionals across Canada can rejoice as 90,000 additional jobs are expected to be created in the environmental sector by 2024.
There are currently 364,000 workers who are trained and experienced to function at an elevated level in job duties that relate to environmental protection, resource management or sustainability.
The environmental sector is going through a unique period where all levels of government, academic institutions and various other industries are collaborating to mobilize support clean technology and climate change initiatives.
Using Technology to Stay Competitive
Environmental organizations are relying upon sophisticated new technologies to understand and solve complex environmental challenges. As a result, a growing number of employers are paying close attention to candidates who demonstrate an interest to adopt them.
“It’s absolutely necessary to learn new technologies to work in the environmental sector. The use of drones is a clear example of how the field is leaning towards more precise ways of doing a job. An environmental worker in this day and age has to monitor or prevent situations with more sophisticated tools.” – Kevin Nilsen, President and CEO at ECO Canada.
Recently, Chris Hopkinson and Laura Chasmer, researchers at the University of Lethbridge, suggested that three-dimensional images are can be useful to predict and mitigate disasters such as wildfires and floods. Satellite imagery is another example of a tool that environmental professionals might need to operate.
The more knowledge of technology, the better-prepared professionals will be to move forward in their careers.
Environmental Job Opportunities
While learning new technologies is an important factor to be competitive in the job market, there are other considerations to keep in mind.
Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia are the provinces where demand for environmental workers is the highest. The top three fields of practice where employers are hiring are Natural Resource Management, Environmental Health & Safety, and Waste Management.
Natural Resource Management involves developing and implementing plans to protect ecosystems. This is a field that encompasses a wide variety of occupations such as environmental scientist, geotechnical engineer, policy analyst, environmental compliance manager, forestry technician and spatial database analyst to mention a few.
Environmental Health & Safety is a field that requires interpreting environmental regulations with a focus on people.
Professionals in this area can be public health inspectors, consultants specialized in particular types of hazards, and safety engineers among other options.
Waste Management plays an integral role in everyday Canadian life for individuals and businesses. This field not only involves handling both hazardous and non-hazardous waste, but also the development of legislation and guidelines, regulations and standards.
Some key points to stand out as a candidate to work in any of those areas are:
- Adaptability: being able to perform both generalist and specialist functions
- Flexibility: considering relocation to other regions based on where the work is
- Soft Skills: demonstrating abilities for business communications, project management and data interpretation
Emerging Environmental Careers
Environmental Data Analysts and Climate Change Specialists are new Stcareer pathways in the environmental sector.
GHG Analyst, Climate and Hydrology Data Analyst, and Environmental Assessment Analyst are some of the common job titles for professionals dealing with data. They’re responsible for reviewing and organizing field notes and field data, making predictions and recommendations, conducting baseline monitoring of environmental parameters and consulting with stakeholders or other organizations for information.*
A Climate Change Specialist has a variety of roles and responsibilities, which include developing climate change adaptation tools, policies and projects; acting as a liaison between government, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions and industry to create cooperative initiatives; and doing research on climate risk financing and/or environmental economics.**
Strong communication skills are required to succeed in both fields. Professionals are constantly dealing with complex data, and have to articulate their findings to different audiences. ECO Canada offers an online course on professional communications in the environmental context.
For more information on environmental employment trends, read our latest media release