Over the past decade, climate change concerns have surged throughout society, from governments, to businesses, to the media and individuals. As more and more voices call for answers to the planet’s pressing environmental worries, the issue is becoming unavoidable for those in a position to make meaningful changes.
Climate change has also created a landscape fertile with job opportunities, especially in industries that can help solve these problems. Canada, in particular, is slated to play a major role in the global effort to combat climate change, thanks in large part to its growing clean tech sector.
Canadian clean tech will play a central role in combating climate change
The UN recently released its 2014 report on climate change, which reaffirmed the role of renewable and clean technology as key to halting man-made environmental damage. The report’s authors noted that at least 80 percent of total global energy generation must come from renewable sources by 2050, if we hope for any meaningful impact in reversing rising temperatures.
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and West Coast Environmental Law created a joint report proposing ways to penalize businesses whose activities are linked to climate change. While specific policies may be years away for now, the report shows that Canadian officials are already discussing how Canada can affect the global effort to curb climate change.
This means that large, energy-intensive businesses need to invest in cleaning up their operations, unless they want to incur potentially steep fines for pollution. With such a focus on renewable energy and so much work needed to bolster efforts, the Canadian clean tech sector is getting set for a hiring boom.
Job outlook for the Canadian cleantech sector
Right now, clean technology is the fastest growing sector in terms of employment numbers throughout the country. The Huffington Post Canada examined research from Analytica Advisors and found that direct employment by clean tech companies rose 6 percent from 2011 to 2012, increasing from 38,800 employees to 41,000. Over that same timeframe, revenues increased 9 percent to $11.3 billion. If this growth rate is sustained, Canada's clean tech industry could grow to a total size of $28 billion in revenues by 2022, and employment is sure to grow along with the cash flow.
It's not just big businesses doing the hiring either. The news source also noted that the clean tech industry is actually dominated by a large number of small companies. This multitude of companies shows the true diversity of the clean tech industry and the opportunities available to job seekers skilled in a variety of trades.
In an opinion piece in the Vancouver Sun, Celine Bak, an analyst with Analytica Advisors, wrote that this is what makes clean tech so powerful as a job creating engine: It's a catch-all term that extends into several other verticals, such as automotive, construction, manufacturing, transportation and others. Leaders of these industries know that the demands of their customers and Canada's legal system are going to force their hand into making their operations greener. As a result, an increasing number are preparing to tackle climate-specific with their products and services.
"These companies are working on problems that we all care about, like how to use the constant temperature from the ground under our office buildings for heating and cooling and how to replace expensive and polluting diesel power in our remote communities with clean affordable energy or transforming greenhouse gases into stronger concrete to build greener buildings," Bak said.