Financial sector workers with a keen understanding of sustainable finance issues are in high demand in Canada, according to a United Nations-backed report.

The report, commissioned by the UN-linked Financial Centres for Sustainability, Deloitte and Toronto Finance International, was based on responses from individuals working at asset management companies, banks, insurance companies, pension plans and other financial sector organizations. While all of the respondents recognized the importance of developing sustainable finance skills and talents within their organizations, two-thirds (68 per cent) said their organizations face a shortage of employees skilled in sustainable finance.

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Almost three-quarters (73 per cent) of respondents described sustainable finance strategies as being integral to their organizations’ operations. An even larger share (77 per cent) said they believe the shortage of skilled sustainable investors has had a moderate impact on their employer’s fortunes.

To resolve this labour shortfall, 77 per cent of respondents said they expect companies to provide training in-house, while 22 per cent are in favour of colleges and universities including courses on sustainable investment in finance curriculums. In addition, 68 per cent of respondents said they’re disappointed by the sustainable finance expertise of recent graduates working at their firms.

In the report’s conclusion, the authors wrote that meeting the demand for sustainable investors will become increasingly difficult for Canada’s financial sector. Continued labour shortages, they warned, could hold back the country’s economy as a whole.

“Resolving this imbalance is essential not only to the future viability of the Canadian [financial] sector, but also to the future health of the Canadian economy as a whole. Sustainable finance has become a mission-critical core competency in Canada’s journey to lead, rather than follow, the global energy transition by becoming a trusted source of sustainable solutions, expertise and investment.”

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