Working in Cleantech

The Future of Cleantech

Cleantech plays a vital role in Canada’s oil and gas industry. It balances the world’s energy needs with environmental priorities through the use of innovation and technology to decrease carbon emissions, water use and land disturbance.

While Canada aims for net-zero carbon, cleantech is a powerful way to reach this goal. With more environmental innovations emerging, there will also be greater demand for skilled workers to fuel this growing industry.

The Career Change Pathway

Ease of Transition

A career change from oil and gas to cleantech has a high rate of transferability. In most jobs, oil and gas workers will have an easy transition as the skills and experience needed are very similar.

Doing the Research

Before making a career change to a different sector, you should explore and assess your individual skills and experience, evaluate what technical skills may be needed to transition, consider consulting with a career advisor and identify how working in the sector may be different. Characteristics to consider in cleantech include:

Skills and Experience
  • Highly solutions-oriented, capable of designing new processes, technology and equipment
  • Ability to think outside the box
  • Increase knowledge of sub-surface geology and applied math
  • Improve familiarity with regulatory frameworks and their impact on industry
  • Increase knowledge of oil and gas operations and processes
  • Understand how to develop, pilot, commercialize and deploy technology at scale
  • Increase business development acumen and proposal-writing
  • Increase knowledge surrounding application of data analytics and data science
  • Improve communication skills
  • Compensation for jobs in this sector is likely similar to the average oil and gas salary range
  • Opportunity to remain in the oil and gas industry
Work Environment
  • Heavily relies on innovation
  • Work collaboratively
  • Organizations are often small start-ups
  • Have a less formal organizational structure
  • Have an entrepreneurial focus
  • Work is iterative and process is likely to change
  • Accommodate ongoing feedback
  • Relationship building
  • Incorporate technology in day-to-day work

Did you know

Engineers make up 23% of the people working in Canada’s cleantech industry.

The Future of Employment in Cleantech

Canada is a leader in cleantech development, with more than $1 billion of the total $1.4 billion invested each year by Canadian companies coming from the oil and gas industry. (Source: Clean Resource Innovation Network)

The entire energy industry needs cleantech to continue to innovate and develop technologies that will improve sustainability as Canadian companies and governments strive to reach emissions-reduction targets. So, this symbiotic relationship is a win-win for everyone.

Cleantech is developed like anything else – it begins with an idea. Ideas are shared, invested in, designed and plans are realized. And as an emerging sector, cleantech relies heavily on innovation and collaboration from a variety of contributors and employers including the oil and gas industry, academia/research institutions, investors (including accelerators), and governments.

The Five Cleantech Stakeholders

Subject Matter Experts

Generate potential cleantech solutions and offer expertise throughout the innovation cycle. 



Oil and gas industry invests, pilots and adopts technology. 



Contributes to innovation and cleantech development in lab or field environments. 



Plays a key role in attracting investment, developing export markets and establishing regulatory frameworks. 



Commit funds to cleantech development and adoption. 

Bringing an idea to life requires a broad range of engineering, technology, science, environmental, trades and business skills, and experience.

Interested in Joining the Cleantech Sector?

Good cleantech candidates:

  • Like a less formal workplace with an entrepreneurial culture
  • Are solutions-oriented with a mind for designing new processes, technology and equipment
  • Can adapt to changes, feedback and iterations 
  • Know how to ask the right questions, visualize work, and accommodate ongoing feedback
  • Value perseverance and continuous improvement, and partake in ongoing learning to achieve technical excellence
  • Trust and collaborate to work collectively on problems
  • Have strong communication skills to share important stories of successes and failures and inspire involvement
  • Express a commitment and passion for improving the future through “out of the box” and visionary thinking
  • Are interested in helping the industry find solutions to mitigate emissions and responsibly manage land and water use
  • Demonstrate resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility to work in a changing environment
  • Already incorporate technology in their day-to-day role
  • Possess business acumen to create value for the business and customer


Learn about more career opportunities in cleantech.

A Day in the Life

Lesley Manager, Pipe Flow Technology Centre™

After a decade of working as an engineer in the oil and gas sector, Lesley decided to change cities, provinces and careers. When she moved from Alberta to Saskatchewan, she joined the Saskatchewan Research Council as manager of the Pipe Flow Technology Centre™.

Want to know what it’s like to transition to a job in cleantech? Check out Lesley’s story.

Read Lesley's Story

I would say that anybody coming from oil and gas probably has an impressive set of transferable skills.