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Labour Market Intelligence Report for Alberta’s Electricity Sector

EHRC’s new report identifies, contextualizes and addresses human resources issues impacting Alberta’s electricity sector.

Funded by the Government of Alberta, the report examines the impacts of evolving economic, technological, regulatory and environmental developments on Canada’s most unique power market and determines their likely labour market implications. It proposes a strategy to enable the sector to fully exploit its potential while pursuing the long-term goal of carbon neutrality.

The report is based on a rigorous analysis of economic, demographic and technical information, and uses multiple lines of evidence. Its recommendations will enable the electricity sector to continue to operate reliably and cost-effectively – in a way that advances economic growth and environmental sustainability in Alberta and Canada.

Key Findings

The generation, transmission and distribution of power employed 13,354 Albertans in 2022, accounting for 12.1% of Canada’s electricity sector workforce. On an average annual basis between 2017 and 2022, such employment expanded by 2.6% in Alberta and 2.3% in Canada. Most of the growth in both jurisdictions occurred in the renewable energy space.

EHRC has identified 21 specific occupations integral to Alberta’s electricity sector and categorized them into five main groups:

  1. Managers and supervisors
  2. Engineers, Technicians and Technologists
  3. Trades
  4. Information and Communications Technology (ICT)
  5. Other occupations
Projections Under Alternative Scenarios

EHRC conducted labour market projections for these occupations under two distinct scenarios: “Current Measures” and “Net Zero”.  Under the Current Measures scenario, the current mix of energy and environmental policies continue largely intact, whereas in the Net Zero scenario, concerted measures are taken to achieve a carbon-free electricity sector by 2035, and economy-wide decarbonization by 2050.

Under both scenarios, most of the job openings expected in Alberta between 2023 and 2028 arise from the need to replace retiring workers. Moreover, the Trades and Other occupational groups are expected to register the largest number of job openings. A significant number of vacancies are also expected in the Engineers group under the Current Measures scenario, and the Managers and Supervisors group under the Net Zero scenario.

Over the five years, employment in Alberta’s electricity sector is projected to increase at an average annual compound growth rate of 2% under the Current Measures scenario and 1.6% under the Net Zero scenario. Under both scenarios, no occupations are expected to face declining employment levels in the next five years.

Recruitment and Retention

It has become increasingly difficult for employers in Alberta’s electricity sector to recruit and retain enough employees with the right mix of skills and professional experience. This is largely because organizations in the oil and gas, construction, financial, and telecommunications sectors increasingly compete for workers who have the same skills that the electricity sector highly values.

Significant labour market imbalances will persist and, in some cases intensify, unless effective measures are taken to address this situation. The further integration of renewables, storage systems and smart grids into Alberta’s electricity sector, as well as efforts to electrify key economic sectors, will require the development of new skills, curricula and innovative human resources practices.


The key findings of EHRC’s report support the following recommendations:

  • Greater efforts must be made to systematically compile and disseminate timely and relevant information that sheds light on labour market conditions in Alberta’s electricity sector, particularly regarding occupations in the renewable energy space.
  • The sector’s ability to adapt to the evolving economic, competitive and environmental landscape will require an expansion of academic programming in areas such as wind and solar power, as well as geothermal energy. It will also require increased emphasis on carbon capture, storage and sequestration technologies, as well as long-term storage solutions, which change the way that consumers and producers interact with the electricity grid.
  • Alberta’s employers and academic institutions should collaborate more closely to develop new and compelling educational courses and programs that reflect the industry’s evolving skill requirements. There is a growing need for academic offerings that inculcate the skills and competencies required to operate an electricity system that will become increasingly burdened and decentralized over time.
  • Postsecondary institutions should develop and deliver academic programs that are more closely aligned with the skill requirements of employers in the province’s various regions and underserved communities, particularly those where electrification is expected to be integral to future economic development.
  • There should be a greater focus on DEI-oriented initiatives within the province’s electricity sector and academic institutions. Efforts should be made to increase and expand career pathways for historically underrepresented groups, especially internationally trained workers. Creating a workforce that more accurately reflects Alberta’s population will make the sector a more appealing potential employer among women, Indigenous peoples and visible minorities.
  • Apprenticeship programming should be expanded and enhanced, and more intensively promoted, particularly for Trades and ICT occupations that are integral to the electricity sector. This will encourage more youth to pursue careers in these fields.
  • Efforts should be made to eliminate disincentives (e.g., pension rules) that deter older workers from remaining in the electricity sector workforce, despite their desire to continue working.


EHRC is grateful for the generous time and support offered by employers, educational institutions and other organizations who participated in the primary research carried out as part of the study.

EHRC would like to express its sincere gratitude and appreciation to the following individuals who provided input and support in reviewing, writing, modelling data and managing the project to completion.

  • Brian McGurk, VP, People and Culture & Customer Experience at AESO
  • Kevin Burgemeister, SVP, Operations at ATCO Electric
  • Steven Tobin, CEO at LabourX Ltd.
  • Michelle Branigan, CEO at EHRC
  • Mark Chapeskie, VP of Program Development at EHRC
  • Sandiswa Sotashe, Project Manager at EHRC
  • Sheldon Polowin, Economist at EHRC
  • Yulia Nerovny, Economist at EHRC

Funded by the Government of Alberta

The Province of Alberta is working in partnership with the Government of Canada to provide employment support programs and services.