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Average annual salaries in the environmental and clean technology sector are typically higher than the average salary in the Canadian economy, 2019

Released: 2021-03-26

Environmental and clean technology (ECT) activity generated about 341,000 jobs in the Canadian economy in 2019, up nearly 5% from a year earlier. This represented almost 2% of all jobs in Canada. The sector also accounted for 27,980 self-employed jobs.

Two broad categories of jobs are associated with the production and delivery of ECT products: those associated with environmental goods and services and those related to the provision of clean technology goods and services.

The number of jobs rose 4% in 2019 in the environmental products subsector, which includes the production of clean electricity, biofuels and primary goods, as well as the delivery of waste management and remediation services.

The clean technology products subsector includes the production of manufactured goods (e.g., solar panels, efficient turbines, electric batteries), as well as the delivery of professional, scientific and technical services; construction services; and support services. For this subsector, jobs rose 5% and accounted for just over 6 out of 10 jobs in the sector overall.

The environmental and clean technology workforce is predominantly male and aging

In 2019, men held 64% of the jobs in the ECT sector. Women accounted for more than one-third of jobs (about 123,800) that year.

Almost two-thirds (60%) of ECT workers in 2019 had more than a high school education, with female workers (64%) more likely than male workers (58%) to report this education level. These proportions have been stable since 2009.

The sector's workforce has also aged over time, as 23% of workers were aged 55 and older in 2019, up from 17% in 2009.

Indigenous employees accounted for 6% of workers in the sector in 2019. Immigrant workers represented one-third (33%) of ECT employees—a slight increase from 31% in 2009.

Wages and salaries in the environmental and clean technology sector are typically higher than the average

Wages and salaries in the ECT sector were typically higher than the average salary in the Canadian economy, reaching $75,816 in 2019, compared with the national average of just over $56,783. Workers in the ECT sector with a university degree reported the highest compensation, averaging $97,694 in 2019.

Women working in the sector earned an average salary of $66,740 in 2019, while men earned an average of $80,993. In other words, on average, women earned 82% of men's salaries—a slight increase from the 78% recorded in 2009.

The average annual salary of immigrants ($80,829) working in this sector was higher than that of non-immigrants ($73,363) in 2019.

The average hourly wage for women ($34.82 in 2019) has increased steadily since 2009 (+28%). During this period, the average hourly wage for men ($40.29 in 2019) also rose, but at a slower rate (+21%).

Chart 1  Chart 1: Average annual salaries, environmental and clean technology products sector
Average annual salaries, environmental and clean technology products sector

In 2019, the five most prevalent occupations in the ECT sector were administrative and regulatory occupations (15,735); motor vehicle and transit drivers (14,940); heavy equipment operators (14,930); office administrative assistants—general, legal and medical (14,712); and general office workers (11,694). These categories represented about one-fifth (21%) of all ECT sector jobs.

  Note to readers

The aim of the human resource module (HRM) is to provide timely and reliable statistics on the human resources associated with environmental and clean technology activities production in Canada.

The HRM complements and enhances the analytical capacity provided by the Environmental and Clean Technology Products Economic Account and allows for a broader insight into the sector's role in the economy by providing more detailed human resource information (e.g., gender, age, education, immigration status, Indigenous identity, wages and occupation types).

Data for this module are available upon request. They replace the data released on August 19, 2019, which covered the period from 2009 to 2017. This article provides a sample of the data available through the HRM.

Estimates for 2018 and 2019 are preliminary and will be revised when updated data become available, including the supply and use tables for those reference years.

The HRM provides annual estimates that cover employee jobs only. These estimates are based on national data from the Canadian Productivity Accounts, which are a key input to the HRM, as well as Labour Force Survey data. Data from the Census of Population for 2006 and 2016, as well as from the 2011 National Household Survey, are also incorporated.

Environmental and clean technologies are defined as any process, product or service that reduces environmental impacts through any of the following three strategies: environmental protection activities that prevent, reduce or eliminate pollution or any other degradation of the environment; resource management activities that result in the more efficient use of natural resources, thus safeguarding against their depletion; or the use of goods that have been adapted to be significantly less energy or resource intensive than the industry standard.

Contact information

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