Going green, getting hired: a guide to sustainable careers

Darcy Nathan, Editorial assistant
April, 2024

Whether you're passionate about renewable energy, sustainable architecture, environmental policy, or eco-friendly technology, there are countless paths to explore within the world of sustainability

What are green jobs?

Green jobs are careers that focus on preserving or improving our environment. They can involve anything from developing renewable energy sources to reducing pollution or waste. Jobs in sustainability span a range of industries, from science and engineering to construction and architecture.

How big is the sustainability sector?

The UK job market is embracing sustainability like never before. According to PwC's Green Jobs Barometer, which measures the success of the UK's regions and industries in creating green jobs, the number of sustainable jobs advertised has almost tripled in 2024.

And it's not just companies driving this trend, but also employees accelerating the green transition. The World Economic Forum's The Future of Jobs Report 2023 reveals that just over a quarter of adults consider sustainability a non-negotiable when looking for a job. This represents a major shift in the priorities of the workforce, with employees increasingly seeking roles that contribute positively to the planet.

Can anyone secure a green job?

While promising professional and scientific opportunities exist, a critical gap threatens progress on the track to net zero - a lack of skilled workers in trade positions.

Green skills are the knowledge, abilities, values, and attitudes that enable a person to contribute to a more sustainable future. This includes technical expertise in renewable energy and energy efficiency, and the ability to think critically about environmental issues and develop innovative solutions.

According to LinkedIn's Global Green Skills Report 2023, only one in eight workers possesses green skills, while companies are 29% more likely to hire candidates with green capability.

Recognising this challenge, the government's Green Jobs Taskforce prioritises removing barriers for underrepresented groups, particularly women, to access green jobs.

What qualifications do I need to get a job in the green market?

First and foremost, consider upskilling. If you don't have existing sustainability experience, explore training programmes to bridge the gap. it's crucial to equip yourself with the necessary skills and knowledge to thrive in this evolving field. While traditional academic qualifications are valuable, don't underestimate the value of practical experience, certifications, and specialised training in sustainability-related fields.

Kickstart your sustainability journey with a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). These courses allow you to demonstrate your passion for sustainability while acquiring valuable new skills. Here are some examples:

How do I get a job in a green industry?

Continued professional development is a valuable option for those already employed.  Explore professional qualifications such as:

Proactively seek opportunities to gain hands-on experience to make significant contributions to sustainability initiatives. Consider joining a university sustainability club or an employer-led programme to bolster your professional portfolio.

Internships offered by many global players can also be a springboard to demonstrate your commitment to sustainability:

Make sure you tailor your CV and cover letter by highlighting your experience, whether this is through accreditations, internships or work experience to boost your chances in a competitive job market.

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