Green jobs are on the rise, but employees need more skills to meet emerging demands

With an increasingly educated population on corporate activities’ impact on Mother Nature and our well-being, governments and businesses are more focused than ever on encouraging sustainable practices and taking proactive steps. As recently released reports show, the number of positions in the green labour market is growing by leaps and bounds, meaning that efforts are being made to benefit the market players and the environment simultaneously.

The green job sphere is expanding with decreasing reliance on fossil fuels to produce energy and a highly-needed switch to renewable energies like solar and wind power. Adhering to renewables as part of the Paris Agreement is expected to generate 5 million more positions by 2050 compared to the number of jobs developed by continuing to use fossil fuels.

Green demand has outpaced green talent, but prospects look promising  

In 2022, approximately 10% of listed positions demanded having no less than one green skill, corresponding with a tenth of the employees assigned to green or greening jobs. This means candidates with one or two talents would have an advantage over competitors lacking similar skills. However, the same findings show a discrepancy between the number of job postings demanding green skills and that of individuals with green talent. While the first category rose 8% year-on-year, the green talent proportion has only increased 6% y-o-y.

In the United Kingdom, green jobs made up one-third of role postings in the past year on Linkedin, according to the employment-focused platform. The findings show that the pace at which the green jobs market grows exceeds the rate at which professionals can be taught, skilled, or reskilled to close the demand gap.

There’s a rising need for skilled employees to occupy positions in developing sectors, with the United Kingdom making no exception. Despite reducing the number of job postings in the country, the study shows that demand for green skills is almost 15% higher year on year. The example of the United Kingdom is even more critical as the country has the highest number of job postings assigned to reel roles, reaching 33%.

More measures are needed to satisfy the growing demand for green skills

Indeed, the rapid growth in green roles and sustainability impacts the corporate world positively. The accelerated rise paves the path for greener business operations, such as partnerships with leaders in sustainability practices like Miltek, which finds solutions to dispose of waste in an environmentally-friendly way that also benefits the companies’ bottom line through the outcomes generated. However, at the same time, concerns prevail around how companies can skill and reskill employees and prepare them for emerging green careers. As the number of green jobs has almost doubled globally since 2022, the figures show that the trend will spread even more, making choosing a career in this domain a viable option.

The talent shortage goes beyond the United Kingdom and impacts markets worldwide, even at a lower scale. For instance, if only 12.5% of the UK employees have green skills, almost 14,3% of the workforce can boast this talent in France, and one in 6 employees in Germany.

While the transition to green work is positive, more efforts are needed to simplify shifting to a green job for employees and those breaking into the workforce, necessitating combined action from educational groups, companies, and policymakers alike. On-site training programs and reskilling measures are the keys to creating a new workforce that can respond to emerging business needs and resolve the climate challenge. The United Kingdom, for instance, is developing a strategy to improve green skill sets, aiming to have two million people work in green job positions by the end of the decade. However, achieving these objectives requires structured plans and investments in specific areas.

Governments pour money into green initiatives, creating more jobs in this sector

While anyone, from the average environmentalist to the most significant business, can contribute to ongoing efforts to create a greener future, it’s most often up to governments to take the initiative and provide guidance and the necessary tools to make a change. Even if market participants can be the most impactful players, being those whose actions weigh the heaviest, they can’t alone come up with solutions to find the answer to the problem. In this regard, governments are expected to drive the highly needed green transition.

Many governments have established targets that should be accomplished by a specific date, some written into the law, while others work as guidelines for businesses and organizations. The most pressing goal is to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, meaning decreasing greenhouse gas emissions to the point where the amount left in the atmosphere is lower than that taken out through carbon removal.   

Institutions and organizations offer training programs to close the green demand gap

There’s a prevailing belief among employees that the transition to a green economy will impact their job lives or leave them financially unable to provide for their families, given the increased difficulty of finding a job down the road. Yet, several institutions and organizations have come up with a solution that may appeal to a number of workforce participants, especially Gen Z. This category is expected to drive growth in this direction. Regarding work in sustainable settings, many may envision positions like wind turbine engineers or solar panel technicians, but they are more nuanced than black and white. LinkedIn highlights four areas, spanning from non-green work to greening jobs.

Pollution prevention, environmental policy and ecosystem management are the most sought-after skills at the moment. To cater to this demand, universities and professional groups offer programs to help develop and master the needed skills.

Sustainability is gaining traction in university programs, with related courses becoming available in many institutions. More than 3500 programs are on the “sustainable” side in the US, representing a significant rise compared to the 13 available fifteen years ago.

Additionally, mid-career workers who lack the time to participate in lengthy programs aren’t overlooked. They can earn micro-credentials aimed at helping them gain specific skills through different courses, like how ESG can benefit business operations.

Green jobs are becoming increasingly commonplace, so prepare for the change should you want to work in the sustainability sector someday.

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