Global Sustainability Agenda #12: Hiring in the Green Economy – green jobs spike and the skills challenge

Hiring in the Green Economy – green jobs spike and the skills challenge

Global Sustainability Reality

Navigating The Green Skills Revolution: Your Roadmap (Forbes)

EU Banking Regulator Releases Proposed Requirements for Banks to Manage ESG, Climate Transition Risks (ESG Today)

2023 – The Year The Renewables Bubble Burst. What are the reasons for optimism for clean energy in 2024? (Forbes)

Where does banks’ biggest sustainability knowledge gap lie? Most financial institutions still have a sizeable knowledge gap when assessing their sustainability efforts. What can be done to buck this trend? (The Banker)

The People Have a Right to Climate Data (NY Times)

Global Sustainability Business Impact

New jobs, green jobs: planet-friendly roles dominate hiring (Financial Times)

UK facing ‘supply and demand’ issue over green skills and green growth. Research found that 71% of business leaders agree that green skills will be the most important driver to decarbonizing the economy. (Irish News)

What are the main sources of US greenhouse gas emissions?

In 2021, US transportation released more greenhouse gas emissions than any other sector: more than 1.8 billion metric tons of CO2 equivalent emissions, or 28.5% of emissions overall. (USA Facts)

320 Companies Commit to Begin Nature-Related Disclosure Based on TNFD Framework (ESG Today)

Curious about next big investment trend? Experts point to fintech, green tech, and EVs (Republic World)

The path forward

Despite economic uncertainties, there has been a consistent increase in demand for green roles over the past few years. The demand for environmentally focused roles and the training required for them is being propelled by both government initiatives and private investments. Sectors spanning energy, construction, and transportation are experiencing an acceleration in efforts toward achieving net zero targets, driven by programs like the US Inflation Reduction Act and the surge in Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investments.

In the past year, climate-related jobs have been hired at a rate nearly 25% higher than other jobs. In the UK, green jobs now constitute a third of job postings.

The hope is that the growth in green jobs will offset employment losses resulting from the shift toward sustainability. While the European Union estimates a potential loss of around 500,000 roles in fossil fuel-related areas, the UK has already created 250,000 green jobs, with a commitment to reaching 2 million by 2030.

Three pivotal sectors in meeting sustainability targets are energy production, transportation, and the finance industry. Roles such as land acquisition managers, waste management specialists, and sustainability analysts are becoming increasingly in demand. There is also a growing necessity for white-collar professionals to contribute to managing and financing the transition to green practices.

The imperative for integrating sustainability into operating models is clear to mitigate the severe consequences of climate change. This transformation is expected to impact all economic sectors globally, with the prediction that, in the future, all jobs will have a green component.

However, a green skills gap poses a challenge, with only about one-eighth of the global workforce currently possessing green skills.

Green skills encompass a range of abilities, from carbon accounting to solar panel installation. The challenge lies in the newness of these skills, reflecting evolving policies, technologies, and markets. Active employer support for reskilling and individual investment in certifications and courses is crucial for addressing this gap.

Companies should adopt a skills-based recruiting model, recognizing the need to develop the skills of their employees due to the novelty of many green skills. Forward-thinking investors are investing in workforce development to overcome the barrier of a lack of trained workforce.

Governments, as major employers, can create demand for green skills throughout the economy and fund retraining programs for workers in legacy industries.

Ensuring a just transition to a sustainable future is a shared responsibility among employers, governments, and skill providers. Academic institutions offering degrees in green subjects need support from employers and policy-based incentives for green skill development.

Sustainability represents a fundamental change in the business operating system, offering unique opportunities for employers and employees. Those with green skills are poised to be in high demand, akin to the engineers of Silicon Valley, and the most effective developers of these skills will reap the rewards.

Beatriz Canamary

Beatriz Canamary is a consultant in Sustainable and Resilient Business, Doctor and Professor in Business, Civil Engineer, specialized in Mergers and Acquisitions from the Harvard Business School, and mom of triplets. Today she is dedicated to the effective application of the UN Sustainable Development Goals in Multinationals.

She is an ESG enthusiast and makes it possible to carry out sustainable projects, such as energy transition and net-zero carbon emissions. She has +15 years of expertise in large infrastructure projects.

Member of the World Economic Forum, Academy of International Business and Academy of Economics and Finance.