Sustainability will be embedded into every employment category in the future, and general education in sustainability concepts and issues will become an important prerequisite for employees in a new economy, according to two new studies on the sustainability labor market.
Conducted by sustainability entrepreneur and coach, Coro Strandberg, in collaboration with the University of British Columbia (UBC), the studies assess how the job market and related skills required are changing in a green economy. The two studies identify climate change and business sustainability as key trends that will impact the labor market.
The study, Sustainability Labour Market Trends: A Canadian and International Perspective, indicates that major job opportunities are expected in environmental engineering and recycling as well as waste management.
The report also concludes that academic institutions which proactively upgrade their curriculum with course and program offerings that are more relevant to the employer and employee of the future will be among the leaders developing a new path to a more sustainable society.
A key finding of the report, Sustainability Labour Market Trends: An Employer, Industry and Thought Leader Perspective, shows that climate change and energy management related jobs topped the list of sustainability jobs that will become important in the transition to a sustainable future, followed by community development related jobs.
Most survey respondents agreed that general education in sustainability concepts and issues was important for incoming employees, though there was less agreement on what top sustainability attributes will be required.
The study also finds that environmental employment is predicted to grow significantly in the future, driven by a number of factors, including environmental regulation, business need to reduce costs and liabilities, increased energy and commodity prices, growth in clean tech investments, smart growth development, a deteriorating infrastructure and declining natural resources.
UBC’s Sustainability Office said it tracks sustainability labor market trends to design curriculum that will equip students for the future. The university currently projects increased demand for environmental engineers and specialists in energy efficiency and renewable energy.