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  • Writer's pictureGabrielle Dark

Better labour market information is needed to support a low carbon transformation

Canada is preparing for a shift to clean power generation

Canada is preparing for significant capital investments in its electricity sector to accelerate clean and affordable power generation, aligning with its goals for a net-zero electricity grid by 2035 and net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Projections from Canada’s Energy Regulator show a potential doubling of electricity consumption by 2050, necessitating a shift to more renewable resources like hydro, solar, and wind, while reducing fossil fuel usage.

Employer sentiment in the sector is positive and according to our work with the Electricity Human Resources Canada (EHRC), by 2028, an estimated 12,000 job openings will arise due to expansion demand. Additionally, more than 15,000 jobs will be created from retirements and replacements, leading to a total of nearly 28,000 job openings estimated to accrue over the next 5 years. This growth will transform the sector's workforce and skills mix nationwide.

There is a large data gap for occupation-level analyses

Efforts have been made to provide employment data for 34 core occupations in the Electric power generation, transmission, and distribution industry (NAICS 2211), despite some data limitations. It's noted that some critical jobs in the electricity sector do not have distinct NOC codes, so data for many renewable energy positions are typically categorized under the most relevant NOC code for the job. For example, solar panel and/or wind turbine installers/technicians do not have their own NOC code. Therefore, details by individual positions cannot be observed and limit the ability of policy makers, educators, employers and others to make informed decisions.

Online job postings can help close the data gap

Online job posting data from Vicinity Jobs can help to close the gap in job specific labour market information. The data from Vicinity Jobs can provide near-real time information regarding jobs, with more detail than in traditional survey-based sources of information. As seen in Chart 1, data by individual job titles or keywords can be collected providing valuable disaggregated information. In general, online job postings for renewable energy jobs have grown by a significantly higher rate than online postings for all jobs. For the period of 2018 to 2022, growth in online job postings for wind turbine technicians outpaced other renewable energy occupations with a rate of 579%

Figure 1. Increase in number of online job postings for custom electricity job titles (%), 2018–2022

A successful low carbon transformation will necessitate better labour market information

While online job postings data from Vicinity Jobs can help to close the current gap in data, NOC codes need to be created for Wind Turbine Technicians, Smart Grid Specialists, and Solar PV Installers/Technicians in the renewable energy sector. Currently, there are no official codes or statistics for these important and growing professions (as seen above). This gap must be filled to support Canada in making various policy and program decisions.

For more information on human resource issues affecting Canada’s electricity sector, download EHRC’s report Electricity in Demand: Labour Market Insights 2023-2028

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