The proposed carbon tax is proving controversial on many fronts, but when it comes to jobs one thing is clear: certain sectors will benefit enormously.
Kym Quick, Chief Operating Officer of recruitment specialist Clarius Group, said she anticipates that the Carbon Tax and later emissions trading scheme (ETS) will result in a marked increase in demand for these industries.
‘This will boost demand for professional advice from accountants, lawyers and other professional advisors as businesses seek to understand their obligations, minimise costs and capitalise on available government assistance. It will also create new opportunities in the IT space, manufacturing sector and research and development’, said Quick.
The comments come off the back of Clarius’ Quarterly Skills Index, which measures national labour supply and demand. Ms Quick said that the looming carbon pricing mechanism is poised to have a significant effect on employment patterns.
‘While employers don’t consider the impacts of the carbon tax to be immediate, they do recognise it to be an important factor in future hiring patterns. However, it will likely create new jobs in the future and add pressure on the availability of skilled labour’, she said.
This means more opportunities for budding accountants, with a greater number of businesses likely to need professional counsel on the potential impacts of the tax, how to manage its repercussions, and how to capitalise on available government assistance.
Lawyers seeking to specialise in carbon pricing also stand to benefit from the mechanism, providing outsourced advice on its commercial legal ramifications, including compliance responsibilities, liability obligations, the commercial appropriateness of passing on direct and indirect costs of the scheme, and what the tax means for existing contracts.
Large banks are also expected to do well as the plan is rolled out, through carbon trading, assisting polluters to moderate their carbon usage, and through other financial advisory services.
The new research from Clarius corresponds with that of IBIS World earlier this year, which anticipated a surge in accountancy work by 3.4 per cent, and that of lawyers by 3.8 per cent – both as a result of the introduction of a carbon pricing mechanism.
Much political discussion has centred on how the carbon tax will cost jobs and consumers, but there has been little talk of job generation following the introduction of the policy, and who exactly – apart from the environment – is likely to benefit from it.
The bulk of discussions of the economic benefits of pricing carbon have centred on the economic opportunities in manufacturing, innovation and investment in the renewable energy industries of solar, wind, geothermal, hydro and natural gas – and not the advisory services needed to facilitate those opportunities.
According to the government’s Clean Energy Future (CEF) Plan, the carbon tax, to be introduced on 1 July 2012, will shift to an ETS in 2015.
It is hoped the plan will cut emissions by 5 per cent by 2020, equating to 160 million tons of carbon pollution annually.
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