An overview of the green skills market
LinkedIn published its Global Green Skills Report 2022 recently which provides an insight into the growing green skills market and the lack of adequate green talent being employed for the realization of green transition. The report makes the assessment that our global climate targets may not be met due to the lack of sufficient human capital. Without adequate upskilling of workers, the growing demand for green talent would not be met which would create a significant worker shortage globally. The report highlights while job postings requiring green skills grew at 8% annually over the past five years, the share of green talent has grown at roughly only 6% annually in the same period. It seems that although the impact of green transition has reverberated across all sectors, the demand for green talent has outweighed the supply.
The report, while bringing this challenge to light also offers a resolution in the form of sectors where the demand for green talent is significantly higher than other sectors with a larger potential to upskill workers. Sustainable fashion, renewable energy sector, emission reduction in the transport sector, and the agriculture sector offer opportunities for the blossoming of green enterprises and sustainable solutions. Additionally, green entrepreneurship, although nascent, is growing at a faster rate than overall entrepreneurship. The report also reiterates that by fostering growth and opportunities of green entrepreneurship, the opportunity for driving the development of green talent and green economies all over the world would be significantly higher through the networks founded, connected and resourced.
What are green skills and the role of the Great Shuffle in upscaling jobs to accelerate green transition?
Before a detailed discussion on green skills can kickstart, it is important to first establish its meaning. The report defines green skills as those that enable the environmental sustainability of economic activities. In simpler terms, green skills equip a worker to contribute towards sustainable development through reliance on knowledge, abilities and values that can help to support a sustainable and resource-efficient society.
The transition to a sustainable work force is defined at LinkedIn as the Great Reshuffle. What it means is that any efforts to transition to greener resources presents itself as an opportunity for governments and companies to build a more diverse and inclusive future for all workers. However, the report reflects on data that shows current inequities rising at the workplace which cut across demographic, gender, educational, and regional lines. Although a challenge, these inequities present themselves as opportunities for redirecting human talents to support the green transition by creating enough jobs, building new companies, and implementing supporting policies.
Addressing the demand and supply challenge for green jobs
The report through the data accumulated highlights that although promotion of green skills across all sectors has risen in recent years, we have globally not made enough progress in equipping workers with essential green skills they need to meet growing demand. Growth in the demand for workers with green skills has outpaced the growth in the supply of green talent. It is no wonder then how this is a significantly missed opportunity for the workforce and one that warrants immediate action.
The report suggests that some of the top in-demand green skills required by employers (2021) included sustainable development, remediation, Occupational Safety and Health Advisor (OSHA), Climate, Renewable Energy, Environmental Awareness, Environment, Health and Safety (EHS), solar energy, corporate social responsibility, and recycling. Some of these skills such as remediation, and recycling are higher in employer demand but have relatively lower prevalence in the workforce. While several of the fastest growing green skills across all sectors during the same time period were not necessarily in-demand skills, they suggest the emergence of new trends, including Sustainable Fashion, Oil Spill Response and Sustainable Business Strategies, among others.
Greening the APAC economies: a regional assessment of future green job trends
Australia, China, India, New Zealand, and Singapore are the five countries that make up the APAC region and are recognised as crucial to the green movement due to their size with respect to population, and high income economies. In that vein, without their active participation in the green movement, efforts by European countries and the US would fall short which is currently the case as the report underlines.
Hiring for green jobs in these five countries falls significantly behind the US with India seeing a higher decline in the share of green jobs since 2016 than China during the same period. While the report reveals that jobs requiring some green skills may eventually transform into fully green jobs in the future, at 9% share of hiring, greening jobs also account for a far greater share of global hiring than fully green jobs (1%), and are therefore arguably a more important indicator at this early stage of green transformation. Since 2016, greening jobs as a share of total hiring has declined in APAC. It is interesting to note that as hiring picked up post the first wave of the pandemic in 2021, green jobs’ share of hiring fell markedly in the US, Europe and the 5 APAC countries. The report also points out that as economies around the world recover, and company hiring settles into a new normal, careful observation needs to be made of whether this decline in hiring was a result of the pandemic, or the start of a worrying trend.
What is the future of green skills jobs?
While the report outlines the importance of all countries playing their parts in combating climate change and taking necessary steps, the five APAC economies share in this effort would need to be greater. The green transformation is heavily dependent on India and China who alone would make up 35% of global GDP by 2060.
Through coordinated action by workers, employers and governments, companies can weave green skills into new roles that continue to be non-green. The report supports the position that employers and governments need to identify existing jobs that can become more green and invest in upskilling their workforce to drive green transformation forward and promote inclusive transformation.
What do companies need to do?
Despite the current lack of green jobs, there is potential for companies to invest in upskilling their employees and converting part-time green jobs into full-time positions that can help meet the growing jobs demand. As a first step, companies can also integrate green ethos across the organization—from top executives to assembly line workers—to engage in daily corporate green sustainability efforts and activities.
Find out more about how companies can join the sustainability movement by signing up for the Institute’s Diploma in Business Sustainability course scheduled for January 2023. Learn more about how sustainability is impacting your business and how you can bring a “sustainability mindset” into your organization and gain the skills and tools to help shape your business to be more sustainable.
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