Reports and articles about jobs and professionals in the health, safety, environment, and quality (HSEQ) space indicate that there is an ongoing shift from specialists to generalists and a growing demand for management skills. In the future, professionals in the space are expected to take a multi-disciplinary approach to problem solving and exhibit attributes such as systems thinking, emotional intelligence, and occupational health and safety advocacy
Growth in the Number of HSEQ-Related Job Postings
- According to EHS Daily Advisor, a website that serves environment, health, and safety professionals, "the opportunities for safety professionals are expected to continue growing over the next several years at a rate higher than most occupations."
- While data showing the growth in the number of HSEQ-related job postings worldwide could not be located in the public domain, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the number of occupational health and safety specialist and technician jobs in the United States will grow by 4% or 4,800 jobs during the period 2019-2029.
- The bureau also reports that the number of health and safety engineer jobs in the country will grow by 4% or 1,000 jobs during the period 2019-2029.
Shift from Specialists to Generalists
- Some sources suggest that there is an ongoing shift from specialists to generalists in the health and safety space. This shift may partly explain why the number of job postings covering all of health, safety, environment, and quality is growing.
- For example, an article published by Industrial Safety & Hygiene News in July 2019 shows that plants that used to have an environmental specialist, a safety engineer, and an industrial hygienist now manage with just one generalist.
- According to this article, plant-level generalists tend to have more job security than technical specialists.
- One safety manager for a medium-size steel mill said he feels secure about his job because he is an all-rounder. This safety manager shared: "I handle it all here — safety, industrial hygiene, environmental. What I don't do I contract out."
- Safety professionals also tend to have greater job security than the more technical industrial hygienists because they are more versatile and their responsibilities are broader in scope. Nowadays, the skills and expertise of industrial hygienists can be outsourced. Management thinking is also better ingrained in safety professionals than in industrial hygienists.
- Professor Andrew Hale of consultancy firm Hastam, recently said: "Previously, safety professionals were dealing with the risks directly, applying the regulations. Now, they have moved up a hierarchical level to management, delivery methods, and management systems."
- According to James Bourne Cmiosh, a health and safety manager at Viridis Power, the role of the occupational safety and health (OSH) professional has changed from one that gives instructions and identifies non-compliance to one that works with people and understands people.
- A study published in October 2019 in the journal Safety Science also shows that in Italy, the health, safety, and environment (HSE) role has evolved from a technician role to a professional role and is expected to eventually evolve into a managerial role.
Increase in HSE Budgets
- The projected increase in HSE budgets is likely one of the reasons the number of HSEQ-related job postings is growing.
- A report published in 2019 by the International SOS Foundation, an organization that advances the improvement of the health and safety of mobile workers worldwide, shows that 49% of HSE professionals worldwide expect that their HSE budgets will grow by at least 25% by 2030.
- Six percent of HSE professionals worldwide believe their HSE budget will increase by at least 100% by 2030.
- Sixteen percent of HSE professionals worldwide believe their HSE budget will increase by at least 50% by 2030.
- Twenty-seven percent of HSE professionals worldwide believe their HSE budget will increase by at least 25% by 2030.
- It is expected that technology that can automate HSE processes and enable data analysis will have the lion's share of the HSE budget.
Expansion of the HSE Market
- The expansion of the HSE market is likely also one of the reasons the number of HSEQ-related job postings is growing.
- According to Grand View Research, a market research firm, the size of the global HSE market was $51.79 billion in 2019 and is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.9% during the period 2020-2027.
- Grand View Research expects the size of the global HSE market to reach $88.39 billion by 2027.
- Transparency Market Research, another market research firm, expects the market to grow from $4.7293 billion in 2019 to $11.5005 billion by 2027. It projects that the market will grow at a CAGR of 11.7% during the period 2019-2027.
- Driving the growth of the market are the increasing number of government regulations and the growing demand for HSE products and services in the following industries: energy and mining, chemical and petrochemical, construction, manufacturing, telecommunications and information technology, and healthcare.
- Other growth drivers are the growing environmental concern, the growing incidence of injuries, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic
- According to the American Society of Safety Professionals, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the important role that OSH professionals play in helping organizations and companies protect workers, guarantee business continuity, and communicate risks.
- Many OSH professionals, particularly those located in the United States, are focused on planning and preparing for the possibility of local COVID-19 transmission in areas or regions where their company or organization operates.
- Recommendations from government agencies have driven safety and health professionals to make considerable administrative and engineering changes such as the repositioning of workstations, the installation of plastic partitions, and the modification of heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems.
Growth in the Number of HSE Manager Jobs
- Career site Zippia provides some information on the growing number of HSE Manager jobs.
- According to Zippia, the number of HSE Manager jobs in the United States is projected to grow by 10% during the period 2018-2028.
- Zippia expects that during this period, the HSE Manager career will generate 46,200 job opportunities in the country.
Multi-Disciplinary Approach to Occupational Health and Safety
- In its report, "Safety and Health at the Heart of the Future of Work," the International Labor Organization emphasized the need for a multi-disciplinary approach to OSH.
- According to the organization, "occupational hygienists have become less of a professional presence and less influential in those economies in which manufacturing, heavy industry and mining have declined, while more general OSH practitioners may have grown in number and influence."
- The OSH field now requires new skill sets and a holistic view of hazards in the work environment.
- The organization believes that for OSH teams to be successful, they need to be knowledgeable in the following disciplines: law, work design, tools, the environment, human nature, physical and social impacts, medicine and neuroscience, work organization, and human resources.
- Stuart Hughes Cmiosh, the head of health and safety for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team, says that OSH professionals must be well-versed in business, finance, logistics, and production. They must be able to speak the language of the leaders of their organization.
Attributes of the OSH Professional of the Future
- Based on a study published in October 2020 in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, the OSH professional of the future is expected to exhibit several attributes.
- According to the study, these attributes are systems thinking, emotional intelligence, collaboration, and OSH advocacy.
- The OSH professional of the future should be able to apply a holistic approach to problem solving. He or she should be able to understand how parts of a system relate or connect with each other and how the system functions as a whole.
- The OSH professional of the future is expected to have emotional intelligence. He or she is expected to have strong interpersonal and communication skills, a strong work ethic, and a positive attitude.
- He or she is also expected to have strong collaboration skills. He or she should be able to cooperate with other fields or disciplines with ease.
- Lastly, the OSH professional of the future is expected to be an OSH champion, a person who will advocate for OSH at all opportunities.
- According to Justin Scace, a senior editor at Safety Decisions and EHS Daily Advisor, "[EHS managers] need to brush up on their business or financial acumen, and also work on soft skills as well, things like how to network effectively and be a persuasive advocate for safety."
Expansion of the Job Scope of HSE Professionals
- The report of the International SOS Foundation shows what occupational health and safety will look like after a decade. According to this report, there are expectations that by 2030, the job scope and responsibilities of HSE professionals will be broader than what they are now.
- Based on this report, 75% of HSE professionals worldwide expect their responsibilities and job scope to expand by over 25% by 2030.
- This report also indicates that because of the growing emphasis on legislation and compliance, there will be a greater focus on sustainability reporting among HSE professionals in the future. There will also be a greater need for HSE professionals to interact and engage with stakeholders from various levels of their organization.
- The projected expansion of the job scope of HSE professionals is in line with the projected increase in complexity of requirements relating to health and safety.
- Based on the report of the foundation, 84% of HSE professionals worldwide expect that by 2030, health and safety requirements will be more complex.
- Of HSE professionals worldwide, 48% expect health and safety requirements to be far more complex by 2030, while 36% expect health and safety requirements to be slightly more complex by 2030.
Expected Representation of HSE in the C-suite or Boardroom
- According to the International SOS Foundation, the majority of HSE professionals believe that OHS or HSE will be placed higher on the agenda and will be represented in the C-suite or the boardroom by 2030.
- Based on the foundation's global survey, 56% of HSE professionals worldwide expect that by 2030, OHS or HSE will be represented in the C-suite or the boardroom.
- Of HSE professionals worldwide, 35% believe HSE will be a board-level role by 2030, and 21% believe HSE will be a C-suite role by 2030.
- Of HSE professionals worldwide, 22% anticipate that HSE will be reporting into Operations, 13% anticipate that HSE will be reporting into Human Resources, and 4% anticipate that HSE will be reporting into Medical.
To find the desired information, we consulted reports and articles that were published by authorities in the space. By authorities, we mean organizations that specialize or are well-versed in occupational health and safety, such as the International SOS Foundation, the American Society of Safety Professionals, and the International Labor Organization, market research firms that publish reports on the environment, health, and safety (ESH) market, such as Grand View Research and Transparency Market Research, scientific journals that focus or touch on health and safety, such as Safety Science and the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, online magazines or news sites that focus on environment, safety, and health, such as EHS Daily Advisor, Industrial Safety & Hygiene News, and the IOSH Magazine, government agencies that provide labor statistics, such as the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, and career sites such as Zippia.
We kept in mind that not all jobs or roles in the space are labeled HSEQ. Some are labeled HSE, ESH, OSH, HSQE, or just plain safety and health.