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Expanding Smart City Projects Will Usher in New Emerging Roles and Occupations: Report

By 20 May 2021 No Comments

(Ottawa, May 25, 2021) Autonomous Vehicle Scientist, Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Innovation Consultant, Chief Resiliency Officer—these are just a few of the emerging roles that increasing investments in smart cities are creating. Each role will entail specific technical skills, soft skills, and certifications.

This new ICTC report, Work in Progress: Emerging Smart Cities Occupations, describes in detail dozens of emerging roles spurred by smart city development.

Spending on smart city projects worldwide was estimated at $608.3 billion (USD) in 2019 and, despite the pandemic, the spend increased to $679.5 billion (USD) in 2020. Along with globalization, urbanization, and rapid digital disruption, smart city investments will impact existing jobs and drive demand for new occupations in this evolution of work.

Emerging roles (defined as currently non-existent or rare) in this report are grouped into five subject areas:

  • Privacy, Cybersecurity, and Risk Management
  • Equity, Ethics, and Inclusivity
  • Innovation and Growth
  • Infrastructure and Mobility
  • Sustainability and Resilience

Across all five categories, future skill needs will likely be centered around data and digital literacy combined with strong soft skills. Similarly, progressive career experience and professional or technical degrees will likely remain highly valued.

Although numerous junior-level occupations are likely to emerge in the smart cites of the future, senior-level roles currently drive global smart city developments, so the focus of this report is on professionals in senior positions.

These discussed occupations were identified through a literature review of emerging smart city roles, key informant interviews, and skills data associated with the five categories. Role evaluations includes a description of their creation and evolution, their accompanying responsibilities, backgrounds, skills, and team structures.

“Emerging smart city roles now reflect the changing nature of the economy and societal needs toward occupations that engage in innovation and sustainable development for a healthier, inclusive, and more prosperous world,” said Namir Anani, ICTC President and CEO.

The Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) is a not-for-profit, national centre of expertise for strengthening Canada’s digital advantage in a global economy. Through trusted research, practical policy advice, and creative capacity-building programs, ICTC fosters globally competitive Canadian industries enabled by innovative and diverse digital talent. In partnership with an expansive network of industry leaders, academic partners, and policy makers from across Canada, ICTC has empowered a robust and inclusive digital economy for over 25 years.

This project is funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program.

A copy of the study can be accessed here.

A French language version of this press release is available here.