Canadian Manufacturing

The Conference Board of Canada publishes report on shifting labour landscape

Nearly all vulnerable occupations have a transition pathway to the clean economy with one year of training; however, many occupations have only limited transition opportunities with six months or less of training.

February 2, 2022   by CM Staff

OTTAWA — As Canada transitions towards a green economy, there will be significant shifts in the Canadian and global labour markets bringing forward new careers and making others obsolete, according to new research released on Feb. 2, from The Conference Board of Canada and The Future Skills Centre.

“Our research was aimed at reducing employment in vulnerable, stagnating sections of the economy, and at ensuring that rapidly growing sectors have access to the necessary labour support,” said Darren Gresch, Senior Research Associate, Innovation & Technology at The Conference Board of Canada. “We found that one in five Canadian employees is in an occupation that’s at risk of automation, with limited options to transition out without significant training.”

“Career transition is essential to the flexibility of our economy, but workers will always need a reskilling phase to transition towards a new sector,” said Samir Khan, Senior Research and Evaluation Associate at the Future Skills Centre. “This research dives more precisely into how to successfully complete the transition to clean economy jobs, how long to dedicate to such upskilling and which resources should support this career evolution.”

Key findings of the research include:

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  • Green occupation pathways are open to nearly all workers in a high-risk, low-mobility (HRLM) occupation. However, the number of transitions to rapid-growth, clean economy (RGCE) occupations varies considerably by each HRLM occupation, reflecting the diverse skill composition of HRLM occupations.
  • The number of transitions available into the green economy varies considerably by each HRLM occupation and the ability and willingness of workers to retrain.
  • Nearly all vulnerable occupations have a transition pathway to the clean economy with one year of training; however, many occupations have only limited transition opportunities with six months or less of training.
  • The ability to transition is uneven across the provinces and territories. HRLM workers in Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and Saskatchewan have fewer green occupation pathways than the rest of the country.
  • Fear as a critical factor that could keep workers from transitioning. This could be the fear of leaving a secure job or the fear of not knowing what a green job entails, especially when the clean economy has been politically polarized at times.
  • Survey respondents ranked compensation as the most important reason for staying at or leaving their current job. However, nearly three-quarters of respondents also ranked an identity-related factor (i.e., enjoyment) and competency in their top three reasons
  • Organizations play a critical role in training employees for the green economy and helping them transition to the jobs of the future—unfortunately, our research found this support may be lacking.