What are green jobs?
Green jobs are yet to be clearly defined.
But, broadly, we group them as jobs that look to make a substantial positive impact on the environment.
The UK will need to recruit around 400,000 workers in the energy industry to meet its zero-carbon target, for example. Companies in all industries will also be looking to hire experts to assess their sustainability practices.
Mr. Quennell agrees, adding that “all companies must look at having ‘sustainability officer roles’” and that “all employees should be made aware of their impact on the environment and an internal carbon budget should be attached to every job.”
He goes on to add that “millions of people doing small things to reduce carbon emissions will have a massive impact”. Businesses need to align their goals with the goals of the planet.
But one of the main issues companies face is the green skills gap. Companies need to upskill to assure they’re keeping pace with sustainable trends.
With research showing that hiring graduates could seriously help in closing the skill gap, it is important to ask whether employers and graduates are aligned when it comes to prioritising sustainability.
Do graduates care about the climate crisis?
With green jobs on the rise, it is important to consider whether this demand will be met by graduate jobseekers.
We reached out to a past candidate, recently placed within the sustainability sector, for their green insights:
Why do you think young people are attracted to jobs in sustainability? What attracted you?
“I think there is real desire amongst young people to ‘do good’ in every aspect of their lives – including their careers, not despite them.
As environmental education expands, especially on social media, younger people have started to appreciate the scale of collaboration needed, driving them to increasingly consider sustainable job roles.
With the consequence of environmental degradation and climate change disproportionately affecting the younger generation, there’s a sense of empowerment that comes with trying to have a direct impact on the situation we are faced with.”
What do you find most rewarding about working within sustainability?
“In being part of a mission larger than yourself or even your company, there’s a sense of collaboration and resource sharing that comes more naturally across the sector.
As awareness grows, there’s a conversation to be had about sustainability almost everywhere you look, so it’s rewarding to be developing genuinely valuable expertise.”
Correspondingly, The Deloitte Global Millennial Survey found that the majority of young people are indeed concerned about the climate crisis, with sustainability proving to be the top personal priority for 28% of participants.
Evidently, sustainability is a sought-after business ethos for the younger generation.
Will graduates fill the green skills gap?
Given the eco-consciousness of young people, it makes sense for companies to aim to fill the green skills gap with the next generation of graduates.
However, it is important for businesses to understand that a green job does not automatically equate to a good job.
After all, sustainability is perceived to be a necessity, rather than a benefit.
When looking to hire graduates, employers must therefore view green jobs in a holistic manner:
- It is important that businesses do not use the eco-friendly nature of a role as an excuse to offer a lower salary.
- Given that the rising demand for green jobs is met with a skills gap, graduates with the right expertise will have the luxury of being picky with their job options.
- If the industry standard for an Energy Forecasting Analyst is £29k, offering below this will not secure top talent.
- Considering the competitive nature of the green jobs market, it is not good enough to only specify the competitive salary and sustainable practice as the role’s main benefits.
- Other incentives to consider include, but are not limited to: professional development, work-life balance and exciting projects.
Beyond the initial hiring process, going green also proves to be a key factor in employee retention.
As reported by the Millennial Survey, job loyalty increases when businesses address the climate crisis in meaningful ways, with young employees staying at such companies for at least five years.
With the promise of high job retention rates, it is also important that employers view their green hiring processes proactively.
Businesses ought to be taking initiative and reaching out to universities to excite students about green opportunities before they graduate.
The time to act is now!