Closing the talent gap in sustainable finance skills essential to Canada's successful transition to a low-carbon economy
TORONTO, Jan. 18, 2022 /CNW/ - A new report released by Toronto Finance International (TFI), the United Nations-convened Financial Centres for Sustainability (FC4S) and Deloitte Canada finds there is a need to address the growing gap between the current skills in sustainable finance and those that will be needed in the future.
"With Canada committing to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, the demand for professionals skilled in environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues will continue to rise, but this demand is outpacing the current availability of talent," says Jennifer Reynolds, President & CEO, Toronto Finance International (www.tfi.ca).
The report, Taking the lead in sustainable finance: A case for developing critical financial skills and competencies in Canada, surveys over 100 professionals in Canada's financial services sector and finds Canada's financial services sector is aware of the importance of having a workforce skilled in sustainable finance. For example, all survey respondents agreed that developing sustainable finance skills and talent within their organizations is important, while 90 per cent indicated that susainable finance is either already central to almost everything they do, becoming integral to much of what they do, or playing a growing role.
Concurrently, the report shows that ESG skills are scarce. Approximately two-thirds (68 per cent) of respondents' organizations are currently impacted by sustainable finance skills shortages. Of those experiencing skills shortages, 85 per cent indicated the impact was moderate or significant to their organizations.
"With growing stakeholder pressure and regulatory expectations on the horizon, it will become increasingly difficult to meet the demand for sustainable finance skills with the current supply and pipeline of talent," said Usha Sthankiya, Partner, Sustainable Finance & ESG, Deloitte Canada (www.deloitte.com/about). "Resolving this imbalance is essential to the future viability of the Canadian financial services sector and health of the Canadian economy."
In addition, challenges exist with recruitment, as 43 per cent of respondents experienced difficulties in recruiting experienced staff for sustainable finance roles, which can be multidisciplinary in nature spanning expertise in law, political science, business, environmental science, engineering and more. The recruitment challenge is why almost all (95 per cent) respondents expect that existing employees will be upskilled to contribute to sustainable finance mandates. However, many organizations currently do not have any formal internal upskilling programs and are not aware of external training opportunities.
"The lack of sustainable finance skills extends beyond Canada – it's an international challenge," said Stephen Nolan, Managing Director of the FC4S Network (www.fc4s.org). "Addressing this talent gap is key to the success of the global financial services system's climate transition and that's why FC4S is pleased to support this critical work."
The report proposes several recommendations to develop sustainable finance skills at a faster pace with each pillar of the ecosystem playing a key role:
"While some financial services institutions, professional training and education organizations are taking steps to close the sustainable finance talent gap, more needs to be done for Canada to harness its world-class financial sector to facilitate the transition to a low-carbon economy," added Reynolds.
SOURCE Toronto Finance International
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