Gender gap narrows, but Canada needs more technical environmental workers: report

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A new report from ECO Canada details the composition of the environmental sector to reveal a workforce that has made strides in diversity, but still needs more new workers to keep pace with retirements and economic growth.

The report surveyed 904 employers of environmental workers in Canada, representing 125,300 employees and 20,470 environmental workers.

About 7% of Canada’s 20.9 million employed population in 2023 were engaged in environmental work, but the country is expected to need 480,500 new environmental workers by 2033, particularly in professional, scientific, and technical services, which needs to fill more than 80,400 positions. 

“The demographic profile of Canada’s environmental workforce provides valuable insights into the current state of the industry and the opportunities for future growth and development,” announced ECO Canada’s Director of Research, Geni Peters, in a statement. “It underscores the importance of diversity and inclusion in driving innovation and sustainability in the environmental sector.”

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The workforce survey found that 68% of environmental workers were in the core working age group of 25-54. The environmental consulting services sector had the lowest representation of youth (8%) and environmental workers aged 55 and over (13%).

Employers responding to the survey had more men (56%) than women (41%) in their environmental workforces, with the environmental consulting sector  even closer at 52% – 46%. 

Of the employers who responded to the survey, 224 (or 25%) identified their organization as being Indigenous-led or owned. These employers represented 3,797 environmental workers within their organization

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