CEO, Foresight Cleantech Accelerator Centre
Executive Director, Alberta Clean Technology Industry Alliance
The growth in Canada’s cleantech industry is leading to a burgeoning market for green jobs, a key ingredient in economic recovery.
What’s the ultimate goal for cleantech? The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? The grand promise that the industry is striving to achieve for Canada? The vision is simple: take the best of what Canada has to offer in terms of technological know-how and business acumen and put it to use to create a thriving and equitable economy, revive competitiveness and investment in neglected sectors, create wealth, and transform the workforce.
And what’s the one thing we have to get right to achieve this bold vision? Jobs.
Achieving these goals depends on innovative companies with great ideas. But great jobs that put people to work are just as important.
Cleantech jobs are on the rise
The good news is that the cleantech industry is doing just that — it’s driving growth across a wide spectrum of jobs, from the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math) to senior managerial, to trades, to the business and financial sectors and beyond. There’re 130,000 cleantech jobs in Canada, and the numbers continue to rise.
For anyone looking for a career change, or a young person wondering about what their work future might look like or what to spend time training for, the cleantech industry offers a plethora of choices. Opportunities in cleantech cover a range of technologies, from fuel cells to bioproducts, carbon capture utilization and storage, renewable energy, water tech, green building, and many others.
From building skyscrapers to Installing EV stations
They also encompass a full spectrum of job types. The transition to energy efficient buildings (a necessary step to achieving our greenhouse gas emissions reductions goals) alone will generate job opportunities for a multitude of roles: contractors, tradespeople, designers, engineers, architects, building inspectors, municipal officials, builders, building operators, and property managers.
And what if we think beyond short-term projects and focus our collective efforts into building a future economy that competes in burgeoning export markets (estimated at $2.5 trillion by 2022)? What if we step up and stake our claim as cleantech leaders? Well, the sky’s the limit for the range of interesting and exciting jobs that will come of it.
Yes, the bold vision includes a fully employed workforce in cool jobs, like building mass timber skyscrapers, installing electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, developing AI-based sensors for solar panels, or teaching the next generation of cleantech tradespeople.
A rapid return to job growth
Canadian cleantech jobs have an average annual salary of between $80–$90,000. These are good jobs and pivoting to a cleantech driven economy will create more of them. The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on the entire economy, and cleantech was no exception. However, recent research has come out showing the sector rebounding back, with improvements in revenue projections and job gains.
The rapid return to a growth trajectory in cleantech shows us that the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, the future we’re looking for, will be a sustainable one driven by innovation and powered by a talented, well-trained workforce.