When we talk about building the environmental workforce, we must consider how to promote green jobs. Filling these positions requires evaluating factors such as talent availability, skills, and educational requirements, then using this data to help employers, jobseekers, and educational institutions understand what’s needed for success in the environmental workforce. And this is just what ECO Canada is doing. As an environmental careers organization, ECO Canada is providing support, resources, and employment tools to Canada’s environmental workforce.
Building Canada's Environmental Workforce
One of ECO Canada’s main initiatives is developing national occupational standards for various environmental roles. The goal is to create competency profiles that show what skills, experience, and education are required for specific occupations. This guides employers in what to look for in workers, helps job seekers understand what training or experience they need in order to be successful in a position, and allows educational institutions to develop their programs and curriculum to transition their graduates into the environmental workforce.
The initial research stage of this initiative involves looking at job postings to understand what type of work individuals are doing on a daily basis and what employers are looking for. Unfortunately, doing online searches and jumping between multiple websites to look at individual job postings can be a tedious process.
The work to build programs and initiatives that support Canada’s environmental workforce has begun. The first step is establishing occupational standards, and ECO Canada is using Lightcast job posting data to simplify this process. Lightcast’s Analyst platform delivers granular insights on jobs, industries, and sectors and provides users with an assessment of the skills and educational requirements for individual positions.
Geni Peters, Director of Research at ECO Canada, expresses how the search was simplified. “We were able to reduce the amount of time spent in the research phase of the project and speed up the development of competency profiles. It also gave us a way to continually validate the information because we can always go back to the platform to review new job descriptions and compare them to our current profiles to determine if we need to make updates.”
Having Lightcast’s comprehensive data has improved ECO Canada’s time management. The ability to see all the job postings and analytics in one place has led to increased efficiency and accelerated project delivery. One primary example of an ECO Canada project supported by Lightcast job postings is the development of competency profiles for ocean-related industries.
Boosting the Ocean Sector
ECO Canada established their Blue National Occupational Standard research project to examine ocean-related industries and support workforce development in that sector. The main goal is to build Canada into a global leader in the sustainable blue economy. “Canada has a lot of coastline, but relative to other countries, we have a smaller workforce involved in the ocean sector. The hope is to develop this sector into a larger component of Canada’s economy, but doing that requires figuring out what skills and education workers need,” explains Peters.
The first step was to research the demand for the workforce, what skills and education they need, and whether employers currently have access to those workers or are struggling to find them. ECO Canada discovered that this was quite an early effort to establish competencies for blue economy workers. However, they have gained great interest from employers, government institutions, and postsecondary educational institutions across the country who want to support their initiative of sustaining the blue economy, and establishing occupational standards will help these stakeholders understand what is needed to continue growing the industry. ECO Canada examined six sectors of the blue economy, narrowed down the particularly important roles in each sector, and used Lightcast job posting data to establish the skills, experience, and educational requirements for each role. By creating these competency profiles, ECO Canada successfully developed a framework for establishing training programs and occupational certifications within the ocean sector.
The Value Our Data Brings
Lightcast job posting data and analytics have helped ECO Canada establish more streamlined processes and improved project and time management, but an additional advantage is the ability to create value for their stakeholders by providing competency profiles. Peters explains how “Canada is a little bit behind the curve on information gathering and reporting, so we’re playing catch up with other countries in developing these competency profiles. By providing this information to small- and medium-sized employers who don’t have HR services in their own companies, we help them understand how to create job descriptions, what training they might need to provide to workers, and what they can expect from an experienced worker in a specific occupation. Overall, it’s the value to our stakeholders that’s what’s really important to us.” Incorporating insights from Lightcast data into their own research projects and reports allows ECO Canada to support their stakeholders in hiring and retaining workers and, in turn, help build Canada’s environmental workforce.