If it’s not already clear, the future is green. This means that individuals and companies are striving to make sustainability a possibility in every way. One aspect of life where changes are being implemented is the workforce. Jobs involving work that benefits the environment (also called “green jobs”) are on the rise, and are worth considering if you’re passionate about sustainability. So, here’s more on what green jobs are and how you can find them.
What are green jobs?
First thing’s first: Let’s dive into the basis of green jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides these two detailed definitions for jobs in the green economy on their website:
- Jobs in businesses that produce goods or provide services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources.
- Jobs in which workers’ duties involve making their establishment’s production processes more environmentally friendly or use fewer natural resources.
Job positions that are a part of the green economy include water resources engineers, landscape architects and environmental health and safety officers. A 2022 PromoLeaf report estimated that green jobs account for 0.6 percent of the total US workforce with 875,000 Americans working in these roles. The report also revealed that the median annual salary in a green job is $76,530–which is higher than a national median salary of $58,260. Plus, green jobs are on a growth trajectory of almost nine percent (the equivalent of 114,300 jobs) over the next decade.
What skills do you need for the green economy?
Although all green jobs don’t require a college degree, “green skills” help effectively complete tasks. These skills can range from ecosystem management and pollution prevention to sustainable finance and urban planning. The green economy relies on these skills, but everyone entering this job sector isn’t prepared.
A 2022 global survey conducted by Plan International found that out of 2,229 people between the ages of 15 and 30, only 29 percent believed they were knowledgeable in skills needed for green jobs. Additionally, survey results showed that young female respondents felt less component in these skills than young men. The organization discovered that two main barriers to green jobs were a lack of start-up capital and skills. Possible solutions to address this issue included increased education on green skills and more opportunities in the green economy.
“It’s clear that urgent and targeted action is needed to rise to this moment and equip young people with the skills and knowledge and provide opportunities to lead and support the rapid acceleration of sustainable economies worldwide,” Jessica Cooke, Climate Change Advisor at Plan International, explains on the organization’s website. “If well managed, we have a unique opportunity to not only protect the environment, but advance gender equality and intergenerational equity, at the same time as creating millions of jobs.”
How do I find green jobs?
Finding a green job that fits your passions in the environmental space is rewarding. Not only will you feel proud about your work, but it also benefits the environment. Online job boards such as Greenjobsearch.org, Edf.org, Blackoakcollective.org and Ecojobs.com all specialize in listing available positions in the green economy across the country. Here are five green jobs you should consider as you’re researching for open positions:
- Project Manager, Energy Transition, EDF+Business (Remote) – Apply at Edf.org by April 6, 2023
- Senior Policy Analyst – Renewable Energy, Ocean Conservancy (Washington DC preferred) – Apply at Blackoakcollective.org by April 4, 2023
- Environmental Justice Coordinator, Public Health Management Corporation (Philadelphia, PA) – Apply at Recruiting.ultipro.com (job posting still open)
- Plant Health Care Manager, Charleston Tree Experts (Charleston, SC) – Apply at Greenjobsearch.org by May 2, 2023
- Aquatic Field Technician (Stillwater, NJ) – Apply at Greatblueinc.com by April 1, 2023
With all of the advancements in the climate and environmental field, expect green jobs to be more in demand in the coming years. Over time, that should hopefully help reduce our carbon footprint—both in the workplace and in everyday life. Plus, these jobs encourage innovation in how natural resources and elements are used. All of these signs are pointing to green jobs leading the overall job market, which is a very exciting prospect.