Green Jobs 101: How The Sustainability Industries Are Bucking Job Trends

Green Jobs and Sustainability Roles span far beyond buzzwords. 

As we reflect on years of green growth, rising demand for sustainable business practices worldwide, and expanding generations of people fueling a passion for greener initiatives in the workplace, 2024 is shaping up to be the tip of the iceberg for green jobs and the hiring market. 

To sift through the noise, Celarity is here to break down the findings and walk through them individually. In collaboration with our Manager of Client Experience and Sustainability extraordinaire, Connor Duffy, we’ll dive into all things green jobs, what they mean for marketing and creative job seekers and professionals, and how hiring managers can expect to fill roles in an eco-conscious environment.

A Rundown on Green Roles

Green jobs can take on many different meanings, but at the bottom line, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics chalks green roles up to two core components:  

  1. Jobs in businesses that produce goods or provide services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources.
  2. Jobs in which workers’ duties involve making their establishment’s production processes more environmentally friendly or using fewer natural resources.

Essentially, green jobs encompass the roles that address the environment and the Earth’s natural resources in the workplace. As such, they are not limited solely to eco-focused roles, like Environmental Analysts or Sustainability Strategists, as they can be present in the daily practices of roles spanning from communications to finance and operations. 

For marketing, creative, and digital professionals, green initiatives may look like shifting responsibilities to represent organizational movements, developing emerging skills to successfully support green efforts, or even altering team hiring practices to ensure green steps are accounted for in business operations.

How Green Jobs Impact the Hiring Market

Green Jobs Mean A Lot of New Roles

In recent years, green energy has been a hot topic for economists, business leaders, environmentalists, and professionals of all fields. Coming off of 2023, filled with many job market twists and turns, the focus on green energy and sustainability has positioned the professional world for an encouraging outlook: new jobs, and lots of them

LinkedIn outlines, “While overall hiring slowed globally between February 2022 and February 2023, job postings requiring at least one green skill have grown by a median of 15.2% over the same period. And since March 2020, workers with green skills have been hired at a higher rate for new jobs than those without green skills in every country we studied.”

The most intriguing part? Growth for green roles is far from predicted to stop at today’s crossroads. In fact, in the wake of the 2021 Renewable Energy and Jobs Annual Review, an estimated 38 million roles are expected to involve some sort of renewable energy or sustainability-focused skill by 2030 – A significant increase from the 12 million reported in 2020. Adding to the pressure, the World Resources Institute predicts that the United States alone can add 4.5 million jobs annually with an investment in clean energy and low-carbon growth strategies.

So, as we look to the future of the job market, it’s clear that the rise of green roles has only just begun – posing new additions to the hiring scene in 2024 and beyond.

Green Jobs Mean Responsibility Shifts 

While green initiatives inevitably mean new roles, they also mean something for the current priorities of Marketing and Creative professionals: an expected shift in responsibility to account for implementing green business efforts. 

Among a number of the top skills on LinkedIn’s 25 fastest-growing roles in the U.S. report, responsibility changes for folks in the Marketing and Creative industries may involve the following: 

  • Reporting on sustainability initiatives
  • Developing content to reflect green initiatives
  • Representing organizational social responsibility 
  • Managing media relations
  • Creating effective internal and external eco-friendly communications
  • Driving digital and brand awareness to reach audiences
  • Designing and producing content that is inclusive and representative of various green communities 

As with any emerging trend, these shifts will have a different impact on all professionals, role types, and organizations, but the bottom line is that they will somehow shift most workers’ core responsibilities and tasks. Combined with an estimated 82% of Generation Z expressing concern for the state of the planet, responsibility moves to encompass sustainability, green-focused consumerism, and the expected state of the economy will mean new strategies and processes to establish company reputations, drive engagement and present audiences with the things they prioritize the most.

Green Jobs Mean New Skills

In alignment with shifting responsibilities are new, highly sought-after green skills. While seven out of eight workers lack a single green skill, and the share of green talent has trailed the number of jobs requiring green skills by 3.8% since 2018, green skills provide a pocket of opportunity in an otherwise overwhelmingly unpredictable job market. And, with skills-first hiring on the rise, individuals prioritizing developing green skills will have the chance to prepare for the longer-term job market and appeal to organizations curating green growth strategies. 

For Marketers and Creatives, green skills may look like: 

  • Social listening
  • Community engagement
  • Communication
  • Stakeholder relationship building
  • Branding
  • Content Curation
  • Audience benchmarking

Whether through discussion with other green-oriented individuals, learning courses like this one from LinkedIn Learning, outside research, or somewhere in between, developing green skills can open career doors to new, on-the-horizon opportunities within the job market.

Hiring in an Eco-Conscious Environment

As job market trends continue to swing from one extreme to the next, recent years have painted a clear picture for hiring managers and business leaders nationwide: hiring is not always straightforward. While the shift to eco-conscious business practices adds a piece to the puzzle for hiring managers to consider, there are three key steps that we recommend working through to create an optimal hiring experience in the world of green ideals.

1. Uncover the Purpose

In today’s economy, green roles are not simply nice to have – they are paving the way for the future. So, when you begin to plan for the type of green skills, roles, or responsibilities that would add the most value to your Marketing or Creative team, we recommend first taking a deep dive into the purpose of your organization, your plans for the future, and the types of impacts that your team strives to create for stakeholders. 

Once you’ve created an image of your ideal team needs regarding green hiring, start rolling the ball to propel your plan into action. Organize your notes, speak with other hiring managers interested in green efforts, and determine what you need to succeed in hiring an individual with green skills based on your team and business purpose.

2. Consider the Market

While we always prefer to side with optimism, the rise of green roles poses one essential point for hiring managers to consider: the availability of green workers. As the statistics show, green jobs are rapidly growing worldwide, and demand for green skills is already outpacing growth in the supply of green talent.

So, what exactly can hiring managers do to navigate green growth? How can hiring managers in the marketing and creative realm hone in on the professionals they need to build sustainability initiatives?

There are four words to answer this question: Remain optimistic, realistic, and flexible. If you want to hire outside talent, consider the steps outlined below to make your case and show candidates that you have their best interests in mind. If you want to develop the skills of those already on your team, locate the resources and block off time to ensure your team is set up for success. And, if you’re looking to fill the gaps in the meantime, or if a shorter-term placement makes the most sense for your team, a staffing & recruiting agency (like us!) can help. 

Hiring is, without a doubt, a time-consuming and often stressful process. So, be sure to take care of yourself, gather the things you need to make your case and prepare to create lasting green impacts for your team and organization.

3. Make the Case

Justifying and building a case for additional staff is no easy feat, and hiring for green-specific skills will follow suit as we dive head-first into 2024. To make your case for short-term contract hires, freelance talent, or permanent employees, we’ve outlined six core steps to help you show stakeholders the necessity of your hiring needs. 

  1. Identify your team’s green hiring needs, considering the duration, role type, and core responsibilities of the help you seek.
  2. Be specific about what you’re asking for in a new hire, and create an outline to share with stakeholders. 
  3. Collect the data needed to frame your argument (Bonus tip: use this blog post as a guide to relevant statistics and findings!).
  4. Show your team’s current state and portray the consequences of not hiring green-skill individuals.
  5. Exhibit the positive impacts of hiring relevant to the growth of green roles and the projected future of the sustainability market.
  6. Determine when and where to discuss your findings with decision-makers.

While far from all-encompassing, these six steps should have you on your way toward creating an appealing case for your business stakeholders in no time.

Celarity Can Help

Emerging job market trends can be challenging, especially with a projected growth rate as large as the green and sustainability market. If you’re looking for guidance, our green job connoisseur, Connor, and the Celarity Team are here to help

We’re proud to have worked with organizations excelling in corporate responsibility, climate management, and environmental advocacy for decades, and we are committed to connecting people passionate about these causes to organizations at the forefront of sustainability.

Be sure to follow our LinkedIn page, where we’ll go live next month to uncover the latest and greatest green trends. 

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