World | Trends

New job titles we could never have imagined

Inspired by advances in technology to climate change, a new set of careers is gaining in popularity

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young Muslim woman working as technician, servicing a office serverA cloud computing specialist must be able to effectively weigh the potential risks of IT solutions against a company’s IT needs (Getty Images/Hero Images)

As the business world evolves, so too do the job titles involved in keeping it running. Who would have thought, five years ago, that there’d be a role for a sustainability manager, or chief accessibility officer? Who would have even known what some of these titles meant, such as cloud computing specialist or AI architect?

Here’s a look at six new roles and how they fit into our (sometimes brave) new business world.


Thanks to climate change, sustainability is a hot topic these days, so it makes sense for companies to have someone in charge of figuring out how to go green. Sustainability managers develop and implement sustainability strategy, analyze problems, and generally keep up with the latest developments in the area so they can best advise their employers. The role is often tied to other related initiatives such as diversity, inclusivity and social impact.


The cloud presents challenges the IT pro in his or her data centre doesn’t face. To choose the right cloud for the job, the specialist needs to understand both the applications that are candidates for migration to the cloud and the various available cloud environments. Responsibilities may involve providing design input, collaborating with customer service and analysts on project milestones, and analyzing weaknesses and recommending system improvements. A cloud computing specialist must also be able to effectively weigh the potential risks of IT solutions against a company’s IT needs.


We’re by now accustomed to roles wrapped around the acquisition, storage and use of data. The extension of its use into analytics, and from there into machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) is now creating new positions beyond those of data manager or analyst. One key function is the AI architect, who performs much of the same role for AI as an IT architect does for infrastructure in linking business strategy, objectives and constraints into an implementation plan that both meets current requirements and can evolve to serve the future. It is frequently tied to other fields such as cloud computing, data architecture, and analytics environments and methodologies—all components of a successful AI implementation.


With the legalization of cannabis in Canada, a whole new industry has emerged with its own set of hitherto unheard-of jobs in cultivation, harvesting, processing, manufacturing, and administration. According to BNN Bloomberg, StatsCan reports that 9,200 people currently work in the sector, up from 2,630 in 2018. One such position is held by Mitchell Osak, at MNP’s Cannabis Consulting practice. As a consulting partner, his purview includes corporate strategy, capital markets, branding and operating model design for the cannabis industry. “My engagement in the industry was pure chance,” he said in an interview on MNP’s website. “I used to write a column in the Financial Post. Back in 2015, an executive director of a leading cannabis industry association read one of my articles on best ‘practice’ market and consumer segmentation and asked me to do similar analysis for the Canadian cannabis sector. The rest is consulting history.” 


One form of inclusivity that’s become increasingly important is accessibility. The job of an accessibility officer entails identifying and correcting situations that might prevent people from accessing facilities, products, or jobs. Microsoft’s Chief Accessibility Officer, Jenny Lay-Flurrie, regularly posts examples on her Twitter feed, highlighting both the problem and the solution. Microsoft doesn’t regard this as an expense; it’s a win-win situation for both the company and those in need of better accessibility.


Maintaining employee satisfaction and well-being is a growing priority across organizations. The CHO (Chief Happiness Officer) is responsible for ensuring team members feel valued and empowered, as well as helping to promote their growth and maintaining a positive work environment. Companies such as Google, Airbnb and Salesforce all count a CHO on their staff roster. In Canada, CHO SVP, a Montreal-based company, outsources CHOs to businesses, describing them as “hyper concierges” that “specialize in the office environment user experience.” 


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