Reimagining green jobs
Today, we are in the midst of a historic reimagining of the future of work. At the same time the world faces a potential green skills shortage. It is up to us to use this moment to power the transition to a green economy. We must empower people with green skills to fill green jobs. Policymakers, organizations and individuals must all work together to close the green skills gap before it becomes the decarbonization divide.
Make no mistake, out of this climate crisis an economic opportunity is emerging. According to LinkedIn’s 2022 Global Green Skills Report, the share of global green talent increased from 9.6 percent in 2015 to 13.3 percent in 2021; a compound growth rate of almost 40 percent. Additionally, we’ve witnessed double-digit growth across dozens of green skills over the last five years.
It’s no wonder why this is happening.
Climate change is a threat multiplier in the world, and solving it needs to be a skills multiplier. That’s why every job needs to become a green job. We need to move beyond our traditional view of green jobs as niche and reimagine all jobs playing their part in the green transition. And we’re already starting to see that happen.
Green jobs are everywhere. Jobs like health workers, fleet managers, farm managers and construction managers are going green. In fact, sectors experiencing the most significant spike in demand for green skills are corporate services, manufacturing, energy and mining, public administration and construction. Green entrepreneurship is growing at a faster rate than overall entrepreneurship, including in areas like software, design and FinTech.
There’s cause for celebration — and cause for concern.
Demand is outstripping the supply of green skills, and at the current rate we will have a shortage of green skills in just five years time. Globally, green workers are being hired at a higher rate than non-green workers. And we must seize this opportunity. If not, the risk is we could see a whole new class of workers being left behind, stranded on the outside looking in at this green revolution. Green job postings grew at 8 percent annually over the past 5 years, while the share of green talent has only grown to 6 percent annually, all before the biggest accelerants to the green transition kick in.
Governments, companies and individuals must come together to build the supply of green skills and talent needed in order to meet the growing global demand.
We need collaboration across sectors.
We need to reimagine training in America.
From community college to laboratories of experimentation, education will play a vital role. Policymakers can provide clarity and direction on policies and legislation that advance green skills training and education. They can ensure that new policies create opportunities for the equitable development of green skills, supported by significant investment to make green skilling opportunities more accessible to diverse groups.
The private sector has a role, too. Business leaders can adopt a targeted approach to progressively focus on green upskilling and reskilling capabilities.
The green transformation is a golden opportunity. Workers everywhere can share in it. We need to share in the responsibility of making it happen.
Former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman (R) served as President George W. Bush’s EPA administrator and is chair of the board of the American Security Project.
Sue Duke is LinkedIn’s global vice president of Public Policy and a former Irish government climate official.