ENVIRONMENTAL JOBS IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA

ENVIRONMENTAL JOBS IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA
ENVIRONMENTAL JOBS
        IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA

THE RESULTS OF A 2002 EMPLOYER SURVEY




                              in association with

          Dr David Annandale and Dr Angus Morrison-Saunders
School of Environmental Science, Murdoch University. Perth, Western Australia



                              Produced for the
 WESTERN AUSTRALIAN DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION & TRAINING
TABLE OF CONTENTS

Executive Summary ________________________________________________________________________ 4

chapter 1: introduction ____________________________________________________________________ 10

chapter 2: what is a 'green job?' _____________________________________________________________ 11

chapter 3: what do we know about green jobs in australia? ________________________________________ 12

  3.0       introduction_________________________________________________________________ 12

  3.1       summary of recent green jobs survey reports ______________________________________ 13
    3.1.1       The Green Jobs in Industry Research Report____________________________________________ 13
    3.1.2       The Perth Biodiversity Project_______________________________________________________ 14
    3.1.3       The Sustainable Energy Industry Surveys (2000 and 2002) __________________________________ 15
    3.1.4       Western Australian Environmental Management Training Needs Research (1997) ________________ 16

chapter 4: research methodology_____________________________________________________________ 18

chapter 5: introduction to the survey and responses _____________________________________________ 20

  5.1       introduction_________________________________________________________________ 20
    5.1.1       Objectives of the Survey ___________________________________________________________ 20
    5.1.2       Categorisation of Organisations______________________________________________________ 21
    The Earth Repair Sector_____________________________________________________________________ 21
    The Environmental Survey Industry Sector ______________________________________________________ 21
    The Resource Renewal Industry Sector__________________________________________________________ 22
    The Sustainable Energy Industry Sector _________________________________________________________ 22
    The Sustainable Communities and Cities Industry Sector ____________________________________________ 22
    The Clean, Green Food and Sustainable Agriculture Industry Sector ____________________________________ 22

  5.2       profile of employers __________________________________________________________ 23

  5.3       the structure of the data analysis ________________________________________________ 24

chapter 6: employment trends _______________________________________________________________ 25

  6.1       introduction_________________________________________________________________ 25

  6.2       Environmental Sector Organisations_____________________________________________ 25

  6.3       General Business Sector Firms _________________________________________________ 28

chapter 7: trends in key occupations __________________________________________________________ 29

  7.1       introduction_________________________________________________________________ 30

  7.2       Environmental Sector Businesses _______________________________________________ 30
    7.2.1       Government/Regulatory___________________________________________________________ 31
    7.2.2       Earth Repair ____________________________________________________________________ 31
                                      Environmental Jobs Survey 2002 - 2
7.2.3       Environmental Survey Sector _______________________________________________________ 32
     7.2.4       Sustainable Energy Sector _________________________________________________________ 32
     7.2.5       Sustainable Communities and Cities Sector_____________________________________________ 33
     7.2.6       Clean/Green Food and Agriculture Industry Sector ______________________________________ 33
     7.2.7       Resource Renewal Industry Sector ___________________________________________________ 34
     7.2.8       Ecotourism ____________________________________________________________________ 35
     7.2.9       Summary of "Additional Skills Required" ______________________________________________ 35

  7.3        general business Sector firms___________________________________________________ 39

chapter 8: Skill and training shortages for occupations ___________________________________________ 41

CHAPTER 9: Drivers of Green Job Generation _________________________________________________ 46

  9.1        environmental sector organisations______________________________________________ 46

  9.2        general business sector firms ___________________________________________________ 48

chapter 10: The Potential for Growth in Green Jobs______________________________________________ 49

chapter 11: Conclusions ____________________________________________________________________ 52

chapter 12: recommendations _______________________________________________________________ 56

appendix 1: survey questionnaire ____________________________________________________________ 58

appendix 2: full list of Key Occupations of Environmental Employees in Environmental Sector__________ 62

appendix 3: Full list of Environmental Occupations - Shortage of Skilled/Qualified Workers____________ 63

appendix 4: full list of Training Needs for Environmental Occupations _____________________________ 64

appendix 5: full list Additional skills requested by environmental sector organisations _________________ 66

appendix 6: full list of Additional Skills Requested By Environmental Sector (By ANSZIC Sector) _______ 68

appendix 7: full list of LIMITS TO GROWTH By Environmental Sector Organisations________________ 69




                                      Environmental Jobs Survey 2002 - 3
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Review of Previous Studies
•   One of the fastest growing international industry 'sectors' is environmental goods and services. For example
    world demand for renewable energy is predicted to grow by 82% in the period 1990 to 2020. Worldwide demand
    for organic agricultural produce has grown 20% every year for the last 10 years, and is anticipated to grow from
    US$11billion in 1997, to US$100billion by 2006.
•   This growth means more employment opportunities and training in the skills needed for these emerging
    industries.
•   In Western Australia there is very little information about the current state of the green jobs sector. This survey
    was commission by the State Department of Education and Training to fill this information gap by identifying:
      -    the rate of growth in green jobs over the past five years in selected sub-sectors;
      -    the anticipated growth rates for the coming five years;
      -    emerging jobs in new categories;
      -    training needs;
      -    identify current and projected skill shortages; and
      -    impediments to growth in the environmental sector.
•   This report defines a green job as a job that reduces the negative impact made on the environment, relative to the
    status quo. These jobs occur across all industry sectors. Jobs and businesses that have been created to primarily
    address specific environmental needs are referred to as environment industries.
•   Previous studies on green jobs industries across Australia have shown rapid growth rates. The major ACF/ACTU
    survey of 1994 showed green employment grew by 81% between 1988 and 1993 in the 361 employers surveyed.
    This 1994 survey revealed a young industry sector with 33% of private sector firms surveyed beginning their
    operation between 1988 and 1993.
    The Sustainable Energy Industry Surveys of 2000 and 2002 also indicated continuing upward trends in growth
    rates and employment in their industry. It estimated that the sustainable energy industry in Western Australian
    alone employed 4,900 people in 2000 – 2002 with an expected increase of 6.5% for the following year.
•   The ACF/ACTU survey 1994 showed employment in the green jobs sector was spread across the 7 ABS
    occupation categories with professionals being the largest single group 21%. Demand for all occupations was
    increasing with strongest growth being in professionals. The WA sustainable energy industry survey confirmed
    this conclusion with 71% of those employed being managers, professionals or technicians.
    A review of training needs in the environmental management field in Western Australia conducted for the
    Department of Education and Training in 1997 also found that many in this industry are classified as small
    business with unique training needs. The review found that:
      -    There was a need for environmental awareness training across all skill levels.
      -    Business expressed a preference for technicians with management skills rather than managers with
           technical skills.
      -    Practical in-house training was the preferred mode of delivery.
      -    Training that supports the greening of jobs was supported above the creation of new green jobs.
This Survey
•   For the current survey, a questionnaire form was mailed and emailed to 1100 environmental businesses and
    organizations from the Enviroworks database and industry association contacts. In addition a random selection of
    400 general business from the electronic White Pages telephone directory were contacted. Phone and fax follow
    up resulted in 251 responses from environmental organizations and 100 responses from general business. The
    data obtained from the 351 respondents was entered into SPSS statistical analysis software as well as Excel
    spreadsheets, and analysed.
•   This survey set out to ascertain employment levels and trends in the environmental employment sector and the
    characteristics of those jobs. The survey went further than previous studies to look at:

                                           Environmental Jobs Survey 2002 - 4
-    skills and training needs and other potential limits to the growth of environmental jobs;
      -    what drives environmental job creation;
      -    whether environmental jobs in 'environmental' organizations differ from those in 'general business';
      -    whether responses differ depending on industry sub-sector using the categories developed by Peter Ellyard
           in 1998: Earth Repair, Environmental Survey Industry, Resource Renewal Industry, Sustainable Energy
           Industry, Sustainable Communities and Cities Industry and Clean Green Food and Sustainable Agriculture
           industry sub sectors. Two categories - ecotourism, and government and regulatory organisations - were
           added to the Ellyard sub sectors throughout this study.
•   The respondents in the survey sample were dominated by small business. For the environmental sector
    organisations, 74% employ less than 20 people. In the 100 'general business' firms 87% employed less than 20
    people.
•   The survey attracted the greatest number of environmental organization respondents from the
    government/regulatory sub – sector 27%, followed by resource renewal firms 20%. The other Ellyard sectors
    were relatively evenly spread with between 6 and 11% of the sample of 251 responses.
•   The four key industries represented in the ‘Environmental Sector’ sample were
    government/administration/defence, agriculture/fishing/forestry, construction/ and mining/mineral processing.
    For the ‘General Business Sector’ sample they were manufacturing, construction, mining/mineral processing, and
    retail trade.
Employment Growth Rates
•   Respondents were asked to supply information about the total number of workers in their business as well as the
    number of employees in environmental jobs. Jobs across the surveyed industry have been decreasing as a whole
    with general business survey respondents reporting reductions in full time, part time and subcontractor positions
    of between 66% and 90% between 1997 and 2002.
•   The picture for the environmental sector respondents is in sharp contrast with significant job growth rates
    particularly for environmental jobs. Between 1997 and 2002 employment in environmental jobs increased by
    64% in the environmental sector with an expected increase of 15% between 2002 to 2007.
      Organisation Category               Percentage change                     Expected percentage change 2002-
                                          1997-2002                             2007
      Environmental Sector
      all workers                         10% decrease                          3% decrease
      environmental workers               63% increase                          15% increase
      General Business Sector
      all workers                         88% decrease                          64% decrease
      environmental workers               73% decrease                          100% decrease


•   Full-time ‘all workers’ are expected to decrease by 36% in the public sector, but increase by 77% in the private
    sector. For full-time environmental workers, projections are for a decrease of 14% in the public sector, and an
    increase of 82% in the private sector. This observation is consistent with the ongoing shift of employment away
    from the public sector as a result on contractions in public spending in recent times.
•   The increase in jobs in the environmental sector has been across full time, part time and subcontracting positions.
    Employers expect the number of jobs will continue to increase between 2002 and 2007 in full time and part time
    work but employment for sub contracting is predicted to decrease by 9%.
•   Overall, there is considerable consistency between the 1994 ACF/ACTU study, and our findings. It would appear
    that respondents apply some caution when estimating future growth compared with growth rates experienced.
    This needs to be taken into account when planning training needs for anticipated employment levels.
•   Government and regulatory organisations, resource renewal firms and sustainable energy firms responding to the
    survey, employ the most workers in environmental jobs in Western Australia.
•   The number of full time workers across all eight amended Ellyard categories grew between 1997 and 2002. The
    largest increases were experienced for environmental jobs in resource renewal 141%, and earth repair 131%.




                                          Environmental Jobs Survey 2002 - 5
Occupation Types
•   Approximately 50 environmental occupation types were identified by environmental sector respondents, and
    approximately 60% of these are in the professional and paraprofessional categories.
•   The most common environmental occupations were Environmental Officers, and Project/Business Managers.
•   Other key occupations in the environmental sector were landcare coordinator, administration, labourer/machinery
    operator, laboratory assistant/scientist, and parks staff. All of these occupations were included in general business
    responses. 10 of the top 14 occupations in the environmental sector were perceived to be increasing. All
    environmental occupations in the general business responses were perceived to be increasing or remaining static.
•   The environmental sector perceived that there would be decreases in two of the most common occupations
    identified: project/business management and landcare coordinator. This may well be due to the fact that these
    positions are heavily dependent on government grants and lack perceived security of tenure.
•   Analysis of occupations within the environmental sector by Ellyard categories shows sub sector differences. In
    the government/regulatory sub sector there is a concentration of environmental officers accounting for 78% of
    occupations listed by respondents. All sub sectors have the majority of employees listed in
    coordination/management roles. This is indicative of emerging industry need for people with development skills.
•   The majority of occupations across the sub sectors are full time. There are more casual and part time and
    contractor employees in the clean/green food and agricultural sector and the ecotourism sector. Perhaps because
    these sub sectors are less well established than other sub sectors.
•   The great majority of respondents from the environmental sector across all Ellyard categories felt that these
    occupations listed were either increasing or remaining static. This shows considerable optimism in their
    industries.
Training Needs Within Current Positions
•   Respondents provided information about additional skills required for environmental occupations both currently
    and into the future. Most "skills required" fall into the ANSZIC Clerical category with this accounting for 55% of
    the entries.
•   Within the "Clerical category", the most dominant need is for generic skills (eg. Management, Interpersonal skills,
    IT skills, Sales skills, Quality systems and Consulting). These account for 32 (29%) of the total "additional skills
    required".
•   Practical skills specific to particular occupations is the next most frequent group (eg. GIS training, Bushland
    regeneration, Flora and fauna identification skills, Resource recovery/land application knowledge, and Product
    knowledge). These account for 25 "additional skill requests in total (23%).
•   The third most prevalent group within the "Clerical" category relate to more general environmental skills that may
    apply across a range of occupations (eg. Practical environmental planning and implementation, Sustainability
    issues and Chemical management). These account for 18 "additional skills required" in total (17%).
•   Many of the training needs listed are already being provided. For example, one of the highest ranked training
    needs - bush regeneration skills - is already on offer through the Conservation and Land Management Training
    Package Natural Area Management stream as well as competencies through the Land, Parks and Wildlife stream.
    This Training Package also offers competencies in many of the landcare-related skills identified by employers as
    current needs and training that is difficult to access. This suggests that organisations are not accessing training
    that already exists. The Jones 1997 report stating that industry wants in-house job and equipment specific training.
    The challenge lies with the Department of Education and Training and training providers to offer shorter courses
    to meet within industry needs.
Skills Shortages
•   The environmental sector and general business identified similar occupations where a shortage of skilled or
    qualified workers is experienced. The key occupations are environmental health officer, environmental planner,
    hydrogeologist, environmental engineer and landcare coordinator.
•   It is not clear from this survey whether there are insufficient graduates from current university and TAFE courses
    to fill these job vacancies or whether the shortage arises from a lack of practical experience in people training to
    undertake these jobs. Information from TAFE statistics concerning the number of university graduates attending
    TAFE and courses by other registered training organisations suggest that practical experience is needed to secure


                                           Environmental Jobs Survey 2002 - 6
employment. Universities and other registered training organisations need to be made aware of the survey results
    indicating skills shortages in specific industries.
Training Difficult to Access
•   Employers identified that it was difficult for them to access training for a range of generic management and
    communication skills and in a wide range of more specific technical skills. The most common training identified
    as difficult to access were: bush regeneration skills, soil and water interactions in wetland and for rehabilitation,
    management skills, flora and fauna identification, organic agriculture, environmental impact state preparation,
    environmental assessment and monitoring, and training in industry standards. The training needs were primarily
    in the ANSZIC clerical category.
•   The environmental industry sector is an emerging industry with special training needs:
      -    Generic skills across all sectors of emerging industries
      -    Industry specific skills within an emerging industry
      -    Occupation specific skills
•   Training organisations need to be specifically equipped and focussed to meet these training needs to close the
    time gap between industry development and delivery of skills needed for emerging industry growth.
•   This survey aimed to provide an overview on training needs across all environmental employment with the
    environmental sector and general business. It was not able to gather the detailed information needed to ascertain
    the specific needs of environmental sub sectors. This should be the subject of more detailed training needs
    analysis based on the findings of this survey.
Drivers of Employment Growth
•   Respondents were asked what 'drives' the development of new environment-related jobs in their organisations.
    61% of respondents in the environmental sector organisations agreed or strongly agreed that their organisations
    create environmental jobs because they support sustainable development practices. 41% of respondents agreed
    that creation of environmental jobs helps to maintain business profitability. This suggests that environmental job
    generation is driven by a vision for sustainable jobs as well as profit.
•   Legislative requirements are not a driver for most environmental sub sectors although, as could be expected, this
    is more of a driver in the government and regulatory sub sector, 27% agreement, which is responsible for
    ensuring industry meet government standards.
•   75% of respondents in environmental sector organisations agreed or strong agreed with the statement that the
    environmental sector will grow substantially over the next 5 years. In addition, 86% of respondents agreed or
    strongly agreed that continued growth is desirable with 48% agreeing or strongly agreeing that the environmental
    sector would grow in the next five years and that this growth is desirable.
•   A high proportion of environment sector organisations (75%) agreed that the sector as a whole will grow
    substantially in the next five years, and 86% think that further growth is desirable. . General business respondents
    were also quite positive about the future of environmental jobs. Combined with the expectations made for
    employment growth in their own organisations, these statistics provide strong evidence of the expansionary
    potential of the environmental sector.
Limits to Growth
•   The main limits to growth identified by 186 environment sector organisations were: lack of commitment and
    funding (35%); need for community education (8.6), lack of demand (5%); and lack of enforcement of legislation
    (5%).
•   19 of the general business sector organisations lack of commitment and funding (36%); legislation not up to date
    (10%); and government attitude too casual (10%).
•   Industry is looking for a commitment from government at all levels, from public awareness 16% raising to
    provision and enforcement of legislation 11% to provision of adequate training 10%. While such needs would be
    expressed by industry across the board, they are even more critical in an emerging industry sector such as the
    environmental sector where job growth has been occurring for the past decade and is anticipated to continue in the
    face of general business employment decline.



                                           Environmental Jobs Survey 2002 - 7
RECOMMENDATIONS
Recommendation 1
The growth in green jobs has been much stronger than in the general business sector over the course of the last
five years. Stronger growth and overall environmental business sentiment is predicted to continue in the
upcoming five year period. Government industry policy needs to recognise the job growth in the 'new'
economy, and should create specific industry support programmes to facilitate further growth and new
economy developments.
Recommendation 2
In line with the recently released draft State Sustainability Strategy, education and training on sustainability
issues should be integrated across all industry sectors. This would require the development of modules on
sustainability including how sustainability can be implemented within different industry sectors.
Recommendation 3
While the decrease in public sector environmental employment is being substantially offset by increases in the
private sector employment, this 'transfer' is not necessarily direct. For example, many of the jobs lost from the
public sector will be in areas that are regulatory in nature, or where there is no operating private market. An
example of the latter would be bush regeneration/landcare activities that are largely support by public funding.
Hence, Government needs to provide ongoing funding based on consolidated revenue and not ad hoc grant
schemes for activities that will never become profit earning.
Recommendation 4
Survey respondents were asked to comment on what 'drove' the generation of green jobs in their organisations.
The demands of regulation have only a small role to play in the generation of environmental sector jobs. Profit
motive plays a secondary role in an organisation's drive to establish green jobs. The strongest drivers of job
creation in the environmental sector appear to be 'support for sustainable development practices', and
'adherence to environmental practices'. This seems to suggest that if the Government wishes to encourage the
further development of green jobs, it should target the interest that organisations have in practical
environmental and sustainable development activities.
Recommendation 5
Significant percentage employment increases are expected in resource renewal, earth repair, and to a lesser
extent, environmental survey and clean green agriculture. It is suggested that further research be undertaken in
these sectors to identify required training and industry assistance needs.
Recommendation 6
Many organisations presented a list of training needs that they perceived could not currently be met. The
reality is that a number of these needs are already being catered for by existing training providers. It may be
that this is a marketing problem that the Department of Education and Training and registered training
providers could remedy through better advertisement of existing training programmes. It might also suggest
that some existing training programmes are not tailored to the individual needs of organisations. Some training
is only being provided by full-length qualifications. It may be that short courses might better fit the needs of
some organisations.
Recommendation 7
Universities and registered training providers should be alerted to the findings of this survey and particularly in
regard to the training needs identified.
Recommendation 8
Funding for the Landcare Training Initiative should be continued as a key mechanism for delivery of
appropriate funding and training support to a range of emerging environmental industries. The Landcare
Training Initiative would be more appropriately named the Sustainable Environment WA Initiative with close
links to the State Sustainability Strategy.

                                          Environmental Jobs Survey 2002 - 8
Environmental Jobs Survey 2002 - 9
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION
There is no doubt that one of the fastest growing international industry 'sectors' is environmental goods and
services.
There are many cases of extraordinary growth in 'green jobs' in recent years. For example, worldwide demand
for organic agricultural produce has grown 20% every year for the last 10 years, and is anticipated to grow from
US$11billion in 1997, to US$100billion by 2006 (McCoy and Parlevliet 1998). Data presented in the
Sustainable Energy Policy Green Paper (Commonwealth of Australia 1996) predicts the world demand for
renewable energy to grow by 82% in the period 1990 to 2020.

New industrial development is catalysed by the 'push' of government regulation, and the 'pull' of the market.
Both of these catalysts are, in turn, strongly influenced by the quality and quantity of the natural resource base.
Medium-term projections for population and consumption indicate an intense pressure on the natural
resources that fuel international economic performance. Conservative scenarios developed by the UN
Environmental Programme in 1997 as part of the first Global Environmental Outlook study, indicate that the
combined impact of population growth, consumption intensity, depletion of non-renewable resources, urban
growth, conversion of natural lands and pollution, will have a radical influence on the structure of economies
(UNEP 1997).

The implications for employment can be summarised as follows (UNEP 1997, Annandale 1999):
•   more employment in alternative energy supply and energy efficiency, as a consequence of non-renewable
    resource depletion and the need to respond to climate change;
•   more employment in intensive agriculture as a means of meeting food demands and stopping the
    expansion of land needed for growing food;
•   more employment in alternative transport techniques as a consequence of growing cities and declining non-
    renewable fuels;
•   more employment in preserving the integrity and quality of land and water resources, and repairing
    degraded resources. Both of these new areas of work will be generated as a consequence of increased
    demand for both types of resource;
•   more employment in resource renewal as a consequence of continued demand for materials; and,
•   more employment in the recycling and re-use of materials as a consequence of the continued rise in
    material consumption.

In Western Australia there is very little information about the current state of the green jobs sector.
The purpose of this study, commissioned by the state Department of Education and Training, was to undertake
a survey of the existing environment sector, and to prepare a report recommending strategies to support the
growth of the environmental sector in Western Australia.

Results from the survey will be used to:
•   quantify the rate of growth in green jobs over the past five years in selected sub-sectors;
•   document the anticipated growth rates for the coming 3 -5 years;
•   identify emerging jobs in new categories;
•   identify training needs;
•   identify current and projected skill shortages; and
•   identify impediments to growth in the environmental sector.

This report documents the results of the survey, recommends strategies to meet identified training needs and
skills shortages, and identifies strategies to address impediments to growth.

This report consists of a further five chapters.

                                           Environmental Jobs Survey 2002 - 10
Chapter 2 briefly defines what is meant by the term 'green job'. Chapter 3 then provides a summary of the
small amount of other work that has been produced in relation to green jobs in Australia over the last 10 years.
This review helped us to design our survey instrument, and to draw comparisons with other results. Chapter 4
presents the research methodology used by the study. Chapter 5 described and analyses the results of the
survey work, and Chapter 6 makes some final conclusions and recommendations.




CHAPTER 2: WHAT IS A 'GREEN JOB?'
CHAPTER SUMMARY
•      This report defines a green job as a job which reduces the negative impact made on the environment, relative to
       the status quo. These jobs occur across all industry sectors.
•      Jobs and businesses that have been created to primarily address specific environmental needs are referred to as
       environment industries.


Defining what is meant by the term “green job” can be a complex methodological issue. Some examples have
been provided in the ACF/ACTU “Green Jobs in Industry Research Report”1. The most significant include:

         -    is a recycling plant that emits air pollution a producer of green jobs?;

         -    is an aluminium smelter that dramatically reduces waste sent to landfill, yet contributes large
              emissions of greenhouse gases, a producer of green jobs?; and,

         -    are all jobs associated with “ecotourism” green jobs?

Clearly the answers are not straightforward. Given these problems, the simplest definition of a green job may
be one which “reduces the negative impact made on the environment, relative to the status quo”. This broad
definition would allow green jobs to be thought of as occurring across a spectrum from innovations that reduce
the environmental impact of traditionally “dirty” industries (as in the aluminium smelter example), to jobs that
are entirely new and have been initiated primarily to address specific environmental problems. In its report, the
ACF/ACTU defines this latter-mentioned category as “environment industries”.

In this report we will use the term “green jobs” to mean those that reduce the negative impact made on the
environment. Having said this, much of the focus of this report will be on the potential for new jobs in
environment industries.

As will be further explained in Chapter 4, this report is based on a survey of 351 organisations, 251 of which
have already been classified as 'environmental sector organisations' by way of their inclusion on the Department
of Education and Training's Enviroworks2 or through self selection as part of industry associations. The other
100 were 'general business' organisations selected randomly.




1ACF/ACTU 1994, Green Jobs in Industry Research Report. Melbourne: Australian Conservation Foundation and the
Australian Council of Trade Unions
2   http://www.training.wa.gov.au/access/content/enviroworks
                                            Environmental Jobs Survey 2002 - 11
CHAPTER 3: WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT GREEN JOBS IN
           AUSTRALIA?
CHAPTER SUMMARY
•     Previous studies on green jobs industries across Australia have shown rapid growth rates.
•     The major ACF/ACTU survey of 1994 showed green employment grew by 81% between 1988 and 1993 in the
      361 employers surveyed. 59% of private firms in the 1994 survey expected green employment to grow by more
      than 20% between 1993 and 1995.
•     This 1994 survey revealed a young industry sector with 33% of private sector firms surveyed beginning their
      operation between 1988 and 1993.
•     The Sustainable Energy Industry Surveys of 2000 and 2002 also indicated continuing upward trends in growth
      rates and employment in their industry. It has been estimated that the sustainable energy industry in Western
      Australian alone employed 4,900 people in 2000 – 2002 with an expected increase of 6.5% in employment
      between 2001-02 and 2002-03. The sustainable energy industry in Western Australia is dominated by two large
      players.
•     The ACF/ACTU survey 1994 showed employment in the green jobs sector was spread across the 7 ABS
      occupation categories with professionals being the largest single group 21%. Demand for all occupations was
      increasing with strongest growth being in professionals. The WA sustainable energy industry survey confirmed
      this conclusion with 71% of those employed being managers, professionals or technicians.
•     A review of training needs in the environmental management field in Western Australia conducted for the
      Department of Education and Training in 1997 supported the conclusion of previous studies that many in this
      industry are classified as small business with unique training needs. The review found that:
        -    There was a need for environmental awareness training across all skill levels.
        -    Business expressed a preference for technicians with management skills rather than managers with
             technical skills.
        -    Practical in-house training was the preferred mode of delivery.
        -    Training that supports the greening of jobs was supported above the creation of new green jobs.



3.0         INTRODUCTION
The wave of interest in environmental issues that began in the late 1980s resulted in a number of research
projects in developed countries during the 1990s, focused on the employment potential of the green sector.

The most comprehensive Australian example of this kind of research is the 'Green Jobs in Industry Research
Report' completed by the Green Jobs Unit of the Australian Conservation Foundation, and the Australian
Council of Trade Unions, in 1994.

Since that time, other Australian research studies have been produced that focus on the environment sector.
These include the ‘Enviroworks' report produced for the Western Australian Department of Education and
Training in 19993, the Sustainable Energy Industry Surveys of 20004 and 20025, the Perth Biodiversity Project.6,
and an environmental management training needs evaluation7.


3Annandale, D., 1999, Enviroworks: The Potential for Green Jobs in Western Australia. A Report for the Department of
Education and Training.
4Sustainable Energy Industry Association 2000, SEINS 2000: The First National Survey of the Australian Sustainable
Energy Industry.
5Mark Ellis and Associates 2002, Economic Performance and Contribution of the Sustainable Energy Industry 2002:
Australia and Western Australia.
                                           Environmental Jobs Survey 2002 - 12
All of these research reports have produced valuable information on the current state of employment and
business activity in the 'environmental sector'. This study builds on the experience gained by previous work
and, in part, aims to extend this collective effort.

The rest of this chapter briefly reviews the reports mentioned above.

3.1        SUMMARY OF RECENT GREEN JOBS SURVEY REPORTS

3.1.1      The Green Jobs in Industry Research Report

The 1994 Green Jobs in Industry report is the most important Australian research to focus on the
environmental sector in the last decade. Based on a post-out Australia-wide questionnaire responded to by 560
employers, the Green Jobs report focused on employment and industry trends in five sectors: energy efficiency
and renewable energy; waste management and clean production; recycling; ecotourism; and water/wastewater.
The report presents useful statistical data on the performance of the environment sector in the early 1990s,
along with a range of case studies outlining business successes.

The basic survey form used in the Green Jobs report was used as a model for the survey instrument used in our
research. However, unlike our research, the Green Jobs report designed different questionnaires for each of
the five sectors mentioned above. Table 1 outlines the nature of the survey sample analysed in the Green Jobs
report.
Table 1: Profile of Respondents to the Green Jobs in Industry Employer Survey8
    Total Number of Employers in the             361
    Survey Sample
    Industry Breakdown                             20% waste management and cleaner production survey
                                                   13% recycling survey
                                                   24% water and wastewater survey
                                                   24% energy efficiency and renewable energy survey
                                                   19% ecotourism survey.
    Private or Public Organisations                70% private sector firms
                                                   27% utilities or joint public/private bodies
                                                   3% public sector
    Employer Size                                  58% employed 0 - 20 people
                                                   24% employed 20 - 100 people
                                                   18% employed >100 people.
This profile has been used as a benchmark to compare against our own survey sample, as outlined in Chapter 5.

The Green Jobs in Industry Report resulted in a number of useful findings. The most important are
summarised below:
•      Total green employment in the 361 responding firms grew by 38% between 1988 and 1993, and was
       expected to increase by an additional 9% by 1995.
•      When water is removed from the figures, total green employment in the surveyed industries grew by 81%
       from 1988-93 and is predicted to grow a further 20% between 1993 and 1995. (This strong growth in
       energy, ecotourism, recycling and waste industries is masked in the above aggregate figures due to the
       magnitude of job losses in water board downsizing.)




6Western Australian Local Government Association 2002, Perth Biodiversity Project: Councils Caring for their Natural
Communities. Survey Analysis Report.
7Peter Jones and Associates Pty Ltd 1997, Western Australian Environmental Management Training Needs Research.
Report for Western Australian Department of Education and Training.
8   See footnote 1, page 34
                                          Environmental Jobs Survey 2002 - 13
•      The average number of green jobs for the 249 employers existing in 1988 increased by 13% between 1988
       and 1993 and was expected to increase by an additional 9% by 1995.
•      47% of all employers and 59% of private firms expected green employment in their workplace to grow by
       more than 20% between 1993 and 1995.
•      32% of large employers (100+ employees) expected their green jobs to increase by more than 20% between
       1993 and 1995.
•      Only 10% of employers expected to reduce the number of people employed in green jobs between 1993
       and 1995.
•      34% of private sector firms more than doubled their green employment between 1988 and 1993, while
       14% decreased green employment in the same period.
•      23% of private sector employers expected their green employment to increase by more than 100% by 1995.
•      The sample also reflects a young industry – 33% of private sector firms surveyed began operation between
       1988 and 1993, employing on average 14 people in 1993.
•      Employment in the sector is spread fairly evenly across the 7 ABS occupation categories, with professionals
       the largest single grouping (21%), followed by plant and machine operators (18%).
•      Occupation figures show increasing demand for all occupations, with the strongest increase for
       professionals followed by plant and machine operators.
    Source: ACF/ACTU 1994

Survey respondents of this 1994 Survey consistently reported, and predicted, future growth of green
employment inside their organizations. What this table does not show is that whole firm employment during
the study periods (1988 to 1993 and 1993 to 1995) was decreasing. In other words, green employment in the
surveyed organizations was increasing as a proportion of the whole. In fact, green employment grew from 12%
of whole firm employment in 1988, to 21% in 1993.

Increases in actual and projected private sector employment were strong in sustainable energy and ecotourism,
but strongest of all in the waste management sector.

Occupation data showed a fairly even spread across all the occupations in 1993. According to the survey
results, professionals made up the largest single occupation group (21%), and were expected to increase their
proportion of the total faster than other occupations.

3.1.2      The Perth Biodiversity Project

The Perth Biodiversity Project is a local government initiative to improve the conservation of biodiversity in
the Perth Metropolitan region. The Project is largely funded by the Natural Heritage Trust, and involves 29
participating local governments. Part of the project consists of a detailed survey of local government
environmental officers9.

The Perth Biodiversity Project survey indicates that Perth local governments spent a total of $5.14 million on
salaries and activities related to biodiversity conservation in the 2000-2001 period. These Councils spent an
estimated $21 million on other environmental protection and an estimated $16 million on natural resource
management activities during this period.

Eleven out of the 29 surveyed local governments employ both an Environmental Officer and a Biodiversity
Officer, with another 10 having one or the other. Perth local governments dedicate 41 full-time equivalent
officers to on-ground bush regeneration. The Project report states that there is disparity between the amount
of biodiversity managed by local government and the amount of financial and human resources dedicated to
biodiversity conservation. Half of the 22 officers are employed in only 5 local governments, where a Bushland
Team or crew has been formed and given recognition.

9   Local Government Biodiversity Conservation Capacity Survey 2002.
                                           Environmental Jobs Survey 2002 - 14
Over half (57%) of local governments provide and/or fund biodiversity-related training opportunities for their
staff. Almost all of the respondents to the survey saw value in their local government providing additional
ongoing training for staff involved in bushland management and biodiversity conservation. There was also an
indication that Councillors have a special need for tailored training, given their decision-making responsibility.

3.1.3      The Sustainable Energy Industry Surveys (200010 and 200211)

The Sustainable Energy Industry Association has published two nationwide surveys of its members. The first,
undertaken in 2000, was based on a survey sent out to over 2,200 firms. The 15% response (approximately 300
firms) was considered large enough to be externally valid. Responses were extrapolated to make conclusions
relative to the Australia-wide industry.

The survey resulted in the following main conclusions:

•    Total direct employment in the sustainable energy industry is in the order of 22,800 in 1999-2000 and
     25,600 in 2000-2001. This represents an annual growth rate of 12%.
•    The total employment effect of the sustainable energy industry on the economy is in the order of 64,000 in
     1999-2000 and 72,000 in 2000-2001.
•    The total value of the industry is in the order of $8billion in 1999-2000 and is likely to rise to approximately
     $10.2billion in 2000-2001. This represents an increase of around 28%.
•    The total economic effect of the sustainable energy industry is between $18billion and $26billion in 1999-
     2000 and between $22billion and $33billion in 2000-2001.
•    WA accounted for 5% of firms in the Australian sustainable energy industry.
•    The WA industry is heavily influenced by two large players.
•    The average number of full-time equivalent staff in WA firms was 29.2 in 1999-2000, and was expected to
     grow in 2000-2001 to 30.8.
•    A rough estimate based on survey responses suggests employment in WA is in the order of 600 in 1999-
     2000 with some indications that it may grow by 15% in 2000-2001.
•    The skill profile in WA is high, with 71.4% of employees being managers, professionals, or technicians.

The second survey, undertaken in 2002, used a similar research methodology and so the results are broadly
comparable. The results we were given access to were only in draft form, and did not include as much detail as
the 2000 survey. The 2002 survey was posted out to 2641 organisations across the country, with 551 being
from WA. The Australia-wide response rate was 27% (573 completed returns), with 29% in WA (135 returns).

The 2002 survey resulted in the following main conclusions:
•    Total direct Australia-wide employment in the sustainable energy industry was in the order of 26,685 in
     2000/2001, 27,550 in 2001/2002, and is expected to be 29,290 in 2002/2003.
•    Direct employment based upon survey returns in WA was 387 in 2000/2001, 500 in 2001/2002, and is
     estimated to be 492 in 2002/2003.
•    When non-respondents are factored in, these WA direct employment figures change to 4,942 in
     2000/2002, 5,105 in 2001/2002, and 5,437 in 2002/2003.

This suggests the following employment trends:
•    an increase of 29% in survey-based WA employment between 2000/2001 and 2001/2002;


10Sustainable Energy Industry Association 2000, 'SEINS 2000: Sustainable Energy Industry. The First National Survey of
the Australian Sustainable Energy Industry'.
 Mark Ellis and Associates 2002, 'Economic Performance and Contribution of the Sustainable Energy Industry 2002:
11

Australia and Western Australia'. Mark Ellis and Associates, Lilyfield NSW.
                                          Environmental Jobs Survey 2002 - 15
•   an expected decrease of 1% in survey-based WA employment between 2001/2002 and 2002/2003;
•   an increase of 3% in WA employment between 2000/2001 and 2001/2002 when non-respondents are
    factored in; and
•   an expected increase of 6.5% in WA employment between 2001/2002 and 2002/2003 when non-
    respondents are factored in.

3.1.4     Western Australian Environmental Management Training Needs Research (1997)

This report was based upon a comprehensive review of training needs research in Western Australia, and
through structured interviews with 84 industry representatives involved in environmental management
activities. The aim of the research was to generate information that would assist the Department of Education
and Training to effectively carry out its role as the strategic manager of the State's investment in vocational
education and training resources over a medium to long term (3-10 year) timeframe.

The environmental management area was divided into seven sectors: air quality control; arid zone management;
biotechnology; marine and coastal management; re-afforestation; recycling; and water and wastewater
treatment. The creation of these categories was an attempt to describe this rapidly growing industry sector,
they have been superseded by more recent work. The following detailed information is provided for each of
these seven industries:
•   the future direction and major changes for the next 10 years,
•   an indication of the employment trends,
•   the level at which job opportunities are most likely to occur,
•   the identification of future training needs,
•   the employment level at which the training will be most needed,
•   the preferred training provider,
•   the preferred mode of training delivery,
•   current training gaps or skill levels, and
•   details of job roles/occupations.

The six ANSZIC employment levels were used in the study: administration/management, professionals, para-
professionals, trades people, clerical/sales, and labourer/plant operator. Some of the conclusions of the
research relevant to Green Jobs were:
•   the predominate attitude appeared to favour training that supports the greening of jobs rather than the
    creation of green jobs;
•   environmental awareness training is a common thread running through the collected data. Two main
    avenues were identified as the primary focus for environmental awareness efforts: in the workforce at
    manager/supervisor/leading hand level and within all levels of education and training (ie. the development
    of an environmental culture for young people);
•   there is a widespread preference for 'technicians' with management skills rather than 'managers' with
    technical skills;
•   emphasis was placed on the need for training to be job and/or equipment specific and accordingly training
    prepared and delivered in-house was seen as important;
•   the provision of consultancy services was seen as an area of growth; and
•   across the environmental management industry area, many of the service providers are classified as small
    business which has its own series of unique training needs.




                                          Environmental Jobs Survey 2002 - 16
A number of recommendations for training were made including: 'that future WA Department of Education
and Training activities arising out of this report be governed by the following priority listing:
•   Primary
1) waste management/recycling
2) re-afforestation
3) arid zone management
4) air quality control
•   Secondary
5) marine and coastal management
6) biotechnology
7) waste, wastewater treatment.'




                                     Environmental Jobs Survey 2002 - 17
CHAPTER 4: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
CHAPTER SUMMARY
•      A survey was mailed and emailed to 1100 environmental businesses and organizations from the Enviroworks
       database and industry association contacts. In addition a random selection of 400 general business from the
       electronic White Pages telephone directory were contacted. Phone and fax follow up resulted in 251 responses
       from environmental organizations and 100 responses from general business.
•      The data obtained from the 351 respondents was entered into SPSS statistical analysis software as well as Excel
       spreadsheets, and analysed.



As was discussed in Chapter 1, one of the main aims of the project was to understand the current state of
employment and skills development in the Western Australian environment sector, and to analyse predictions
made about the future of the sector.

The project was managed by a Committee convened by Ms Louise Duxbury, Projects Manager, Green Skills
Inc. and consisting of the following members:
•      Mr Craig Salt: Director, Sustainable Consulting;
•      Mr Klaus Winkler: Project Officer, System Planning and Industry Analysis, Western Australian Department
       of Education and Training;
•      Mr Stephen Phillips: Managing Director, Advances Energy Systems;
•      Ms Louise Hillman: Regional Employment Coordinator, Western Australian Department of Education and
       Training;
•      Ms Annabelle Newbury: Perth Manager, Green Skills Inc.; and
•      Dr David Annandale and Dr Angus Morrison-Saunders: School of Environmental Science, Murdoch
       University

The research was grounded in primary data. The main instrument used for collecting data was a post-out
questionnaire. The questionnaire was designed by the Committee and administered by Mr Ian McKenzie of
Asset Research. Questions were modelled on aspects of the studies reviewed in Chapter 3. The reason for this
was to allow comparative conclusions to be drawn. A copy of the post-out questionnaire is attached as
Appendix 1.
The questionnaire was posted out to a database of approximately 1100 businesses and organisations using the
Department of Education and Training's Enviroworks database and a range of other relevant sources compiled
by Green Skills.12 The Enviroworks database contained approximately 400 – 500 businesses self selected as
primarily focusing on environmental jobs. Five environmental industry organisations undertook to email the
survey to their email databases. The exact numbers on these databases was not available.
A number of follow-up initiatives were adopted. These included a telephone follow up of organisations that
had been sent questionnaires but had not responded by the nominated closing date for return of the
questionnaire. Potential respondents were invited to return the completed survey by fax or complete the survey
over the telephone. These options were offered in an attempt to encourage the representatives of these
organisations to participate in the survey. 251 responses were finally obtained representing a response rate of
21.9%. This volume of responses provided statistical information that is considered to be reliable within a
sampling error of +/- 5% at the 95% confidence level. A sampling error of this size is considered satisfactory
by the Office of the Auditor General as providing reliability of data.
The Committee also suggested that it would be worth undertaking a survey of 'general' business, the rationale
being that some conclusions might be drawn about the extent to which environment sector jobs had penetrated


12   See footnote 2.
                                            Environmental Jobs Survey 2002 - 18
the general business environment. The same questionnaire was posted out to 400 firms, selected at random
from the Electronic White Pages telephone directory. As for the environmental database survey a telephone
follow up was undertaken to ensure a satisfactory level of responses. In the end, data was obtained from 100
general business firms. This volume of responses provided statistical information that is considered to be
reliable within a sampling error of +/- 10% at the 95% confidence level. Whilst these results cannot be
considered as statistically reliable, they are nevertheless ‘indicative’ of results across the general business sector
within Western Australia.

The data obtained from the 351 respondents was entered into SPSS statistical analysis software as well as Excel
spreadsheets, and analysed. The results of this analysis form the basis of the statistical results presented in this
report.




                                          Environmental Jobs Survey 2002 - 19
CHAPTER 5: INTRODUCTION TO THE SURVEY AND
RESPONSES
CHAPTER SUMMARY
•     This survey set out to find out to ascertain employment levels and trends in the environmental employment sector
      and the characteristics of those jobs.
•     The survey went further than previous studies to look at:
        -    skills and training needs and other potential limits to the growth of environmental jobs;
        -    what drives environmental job creation;
        -    whether environmental jobs in 'environmental' organizations differ from those in 'general business';
        -    whether responses differ depending on industry sub-sector.
•     Analysis of the data was undertaken comparing:
        -    environmental organisations and general business respondents; and
        -    environmental employment by the categories developed by Peter Ellyard in 1998: Earth Repair,
             Environmental Survey Industry, Resource Renewal Industry, Sustainable Energy Industry, Sustainable
             Communities and Cities Industry and Clean Green Food and Sustainable Agriculture industry sub sectors.
             Two categories - ecotourism, and government and regulatory organisations - have been added to the
             Ellyard sub sectors throughout this study.
•     The respondents in the survey sample were dominated by small business. For the environmental sector
      organisations, 74% employ less than 20 people. In the 100 'general business' firms 87% employed less than 20
      people. These statistics are to be expected, given the predominance of the small business sector in WA, compared
      with the Eastern States.
•     The survey attracted the greatest number of environmental organization respondents from the
      government/regulatory sub – sector 27%, followed by resource renewal firms 20%. The other Ellyard sectors
      were relatively evenly spread with between 6 and 11% of the sample of 251 responses.
•     The four key industries represented in the ‘Environmental Sector’ sample were
      government/administration/defence, agriculture/fishing/forestry, construction/ and mining/mineral processing.
      For the ‘General Business Sector’ sample they were manufacturing, construction, mining/mineral processing, and
      retail trade.


5.1         INTRODUCTION
Survey responses were obtained from 251 entities already self identified as 'environmental organisations'. An
additional 100 responses were obtained from private firms contacted at random from the electronic Western
Australian 'White Pages' telephone directory.

A significant amount of information was obtained from the questionnaire survey. This chapter outlines the
objectives of the survey, discusses how responding businesses and organisations were classified, and presents a
profile of the responding organisations.

5.1.1       Objectives of the Survey

As has already been mentioned, our survey was significantly influenced by what has come before. To some
considerable extent, the design of our survey instrument was influenced by the ACF/ACTU Green Jobs in
Industry report. As with the 1994 report, the purpose of our survey was to ascertain employment levels,
employment trends, and occupational characteristics.

In a number of respects, however, our survey attempted to do more. In addition to the above, we were also
interested in:
•     what drives organisations to create jobs in the environmental sector;
                                            Environmental Jobs Survey 2002 - 20
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