We are in an intriguing time where solar power is affordable, there are energy storage products available, and there are more electric vehicles than ever. Some fortunate early adopters have home solar power systems with home batteries and they can charge their EVs with their own self-generated electricity. On the consumer side of the equation, we have options available to us, if we can afford them, like never before. The trend for green jobs is also positive.
Green jobs are a part of the US economy, and rightfully so, considering the pressures of climate change. LinkedIn recently published an article about its green jobs data, and George Anders, Senior Editor at Large for the huge careers site, answered some questions about that data for CleanTechnica.
What was your analysis of the fastest-growing American “green jobs” based upon?
The fastest growing green jobs ranking is based on hiring trends for a wide range of environment-related positions in the United States since 2016. LinkedIn analyzed members’ profiles to identify which green jobs were growing the fastest between 2016 and 2022.
Why do you think the top two positions have to do with environment, health, and safety?
What we’re really seeing here is a realignment of the most common job titles for multi-function roles. If we turn the clock back a bit, “health & safety” titles were quite common. Anything to do with the environment was considered a separate (and smaller) area of responsibility. Now there’s a greater understanding of how much these three areas are interconnected. The result is a boom in the number of people holding “health, safety & environment titles.” We’re seeing annual growth rates of more than 20% in such titles, year after year.
The number three position is Sustainability Manager — can you provide a sketch of what someone in this role does and who hires such individuals?
You can find the title of “sustainability manager” in a wide range of industries, ranging from pharmaceutical makers to tech companies, universities and food processors. People holding these titles are likely to lead and coordinate pro-environment initiatives such as reducing packaging waste. They’re also the ones who coordinate all the work that’s necessary at large organizations to produce a fact-filled, realistic sustainability report each year.
On your special report page, it says: “~10% of job postings requiring skills have explicitly required at least one green skill.” What are green skills?
Green skills are skills that enable the environmental sustainability of economic activities. Green skills include things like pollution mitigation and waste prevention, environmental remediation, sustainable procurement, energy generation and management.
Where do individuals obtain their green skills?
We’re seeing a lot of professionals moving directly into sustainability roles upon graduating from programs in areas like environmental science and oceanography. Other pathways include moving into a sustainability-focused role within their industry within the first few years of starting careers. We also see many professionals with green skills moving from university to research positions with various climate-centered organizations before moving into the types of roles outlined in this report.
It also mentions a green jobs growth rate of 38.5% in 2022. What is driving this growth? Do you expect the growth rate to remain positive?
We’re seeing high demand in a very wide range of industries. The breadth of this interest suggests that this is a trend with a good bit of staying power. But our focus at LinkedIn is to analyze today’s labor market trends, rather than to make official, detailed forecasts.
Do you think that perhaps the old “Jobs vs. the Environment” framing has shifted to a degree?
Yes. There’s a lot of job creation right now that’s tied to environmental and sustainability goals. We’re certainly seeing that with regard to manufacturing and installation jobs involving solar or wind power. But, as our green-economy analysis reveals, there are a lot of white-collar and managerial jobs being created as well. That said, some pro-environment initiatives envision a much smaller role for fossil fuels — and those cutbacks could cost jobs related to traditional energy production and distribution. But the green economy’s ability to expand job opportunities is too significant to ignore.
Do electric vehicle jobs qualify as green jobs or would they be considered to be part of the automotive industry or manufacturing?
Electric vehicle jobs could theoretically be categorized as green jobs, but this particular report didn’t include them.
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