- Jobs that are focused on combating climate change, reducing emissions and building a sustainable future are on the rise.
- There are many industries, from energy and agriculture to design and tourism, that have green jobs available. In fact, you may already work in one!
- If you’re looking for a new job, there are dedicated online job boards to help you find a green-collar job in your industry.
When you hear “green job”, what comes to mind? Is it being outdoors all the time or something to do with plants perhaps? It’s actually the fastest growing job sector in the world. Not only is it providing new jobs and new opportunities, but it also provides a chance to make a real difference, have meaningful work, and join in the fight to combat climate change, which is currently impacting people all over the world.
What Is a Green Job?
A green or “green-collared” job is any job that is doing work towards a sustainable future. While you may immediately think about careers building wind turbines or planting forests, a green job can be much more.
Ultimately, many jobs can be considered “green” if it’s helping preserve or restore the environment in some way and is operating in a renewable and sustainable way.
What Sectors Have Green Jobs?
Green jobs are everywhere. With focus turning more to slowing and reducing the impact of climate change and building a sustainable future, more jobs are being created to support these goals. The “green sector” is fast-growing, with new roles and positions being created every day that would have been completely unheard of 20 years ago.
There are several different industries that are employing more and more people in green jobs. Here are a few.
Food and Agriculture
The sustainable production of food to feed our population is always going to be needed, which is why there will always be jobs in this sector. From eco-friendly farm management to lab grown meat research, there are a large variety of green careers in the food and agriculture sectors.
Renewable energy is likely the sector that springs to mind when you think about green jobs. According to IRENA, the total number of people employed in the sector is around 11.5 million globally – and there are plenty more jobs planned in this sector in the coming years.
It might surprise you to know that the main employer is solar power. However, there are also jobs in wind, hydropower, and many more as the world move towards decarbonization.
Architecture and Building
Nowadays, when building anything, sustainability is a huge consideration. In fact, you’ve likely seen more housing developers offering sustainable housing communities in the past couple fo years. No matter what, buildings needs to be constructed in a way that brings them as close to net-zero emissions and using renewable resources that have been harvested sustainably.
Eco-design, in sectors from tech to furniture and everything in between, is on the rise. Innovation is needed to change processes and materials for existing products and to create new ones altogether that don’t have a negative impact on the environment.
The way that we travel is something that has come under a lot of scrutiny over the last few years. This is because of the reliance of modes of transportation like airlines and traditional gasoline vehicles on non-renewable resources. To combat this, this sector has created a lot of new green jobs as it aims to reduce emissions and create electric modes of transportation where possible.
Tourism may not seem to be a green sector at first glance, but it’s fast becoming one. An increasing number of travelers are concerned about the impact of their trips on the planet. As a result, ecotourism, or sustainable travel, has been developed. This includes everything from eco-friendly hotels and other accommodation to hiring local-owned and operated guides. All of these allow people to travel more responsibly and in a way that improves the well-being of locals and outdoor spaces.
What Education Is Required for a Green Job?
You don’t necessarily need to have a post-secondary degree in anything specific to get on the green career ladder. However, for certain industries, a specialized degree is useful and for a select few, it’s required.
The first step to discovering the right degree for you is deciding what industry you want to go into. Do you want to build wind turbines or are you looking to go into conservation?
Common degrees include:
- Environmental Engineering: Engineering with a focus on natural resources, conservation, and development projects, as well as new energy systems.
- Environmental Sciences: The study of the physical, chemical, and biological processes of the Earth. This degree is a great general degree that can lead to any number of green jobs.
- Sustainable Development: This is the focus on how we as humans can continue to develop in a way that works with, and not against, the natural system. This is a great path for those looking to work with governments or NGOs.
- Renewable Energy Engineering: If you want to work with renewable energy and help to make it as efficient as possible, then this is the degree for you.
- Sustainable Agriculture: Agriculture is changing. As such, this degree is a response to new developments in agriculture. If you’re interested in agriculture or in rural development, a degree in sustainable agriculture might give you a boost towards a green career.
These are just a handful of the multitudes of degrees available for someone looking to get a green job. If you already have a degree, there are other certifications and training that you can take. These will help to your resume stand out when applying for a green job.
Governments around the world are also offering retraining for people working in certain sectors, such as oil and gas. If you’re interested in being retrained, search online for opportunities and grants being offered by your state.
Where to Find Green Jobs Online
Finding a green job online doesn’t have to be difficult and you may be able to find then on traditional online job boards, mixed in with other types of employment. However, there are several resources to help you in your search that cater exclusively to green jobs. In the U.S., some of these include:
- Green Jobs Network
- Renewable Energy Jobs
- Eco Jobs
The Yale School of the Environment has an excellent list of environment-specific job sites, which you can access here.
When looking for any job, networking is always key. Be make sure to reach out to your contacts and see if anything comes up. If the green sector is completely new to you, try volunteering somewhere to get experience and make connections, or start cold calling or emailing organizations or businesses in your area that you’d like to work for.
No matter what type of green job you’re looking for, there’s an opportunity for everyone to join in on this thriving and critical new sector.