Last month, Forbes published its predictions for sustainable developments in 2023. Chief among its predictions was how the pace of embedding sustainability into the tech sector will increase and how tech workers will migrate to applying their skills in the green sector.
What is the difference between specific green jobs and jobs that have a strong green influence – so-called “greening” jobs and what are the opportunities and skills required to work in the green sector?
What are the skills required to work in the green sector?
Most of the jobs typically referred to as green jobs have their foundations in science – eg research and monitoring of renewable energy and land usage. Typical job titles would be : Environmental Specialist/Scientist, Ecologist, Geologist, Energy Manager, Sustainability Engineer, Environmental Health and Safety Officer or Solar Panel Installer. However, there are other skills that have become relevant in addressing the sustainability challenges presented by climate change.
In 2021, the World Economic Forum highlighted some of these skills and the sectors likely to provide employment opportunities to harness them. These sectors included agriculture, transport, architecture, manufacturing, and fashion. All of these sectors are creating ‘greening’ jobs, where sustainability is becoming ever more important due to the carbon emissions that have been part of their traditional operations. People who can think creatively and urgently are especially suitable to work in these sectors given the constant need for new ideas to brought to the discussion on climate change and how to adapt to its challenges.
Do I need a science background to get a job in the green sector?
Greentech companies is a term given to describe businesses that have positive environmental impact at their core – they are founded with the purpose of protecting the environment. While you may not have work experience or qualifications in a science or environmental related industry every company whether greentech or not needs associated business support functions – eg finance, HR, sales, marketing, IT, procurement, data analysis etc. These skills can be transferred from other companies that are not necessarily green companies.
For example: in your previous role you gained 5 years experience of analysing data for a global social media platform, now you will be analysing data for a business that uses real time data to help public transport companies be more efficient and reliable in providing the service. This will lead to more people opting to use public transport over taking their car. Or if you have a background in SaaS sales in the finance industry now you will be selling software that monitors energy usage and suggests how to reduce it. You are using the same interpersonal and communication skills and they are definitely transferable across industries.
A growing area for job opportunities
In 2022, several Irish companies at the forefront of this expansion were chosen for Bord na Mona’s Accelerate Green programme. These included GoEve, which is building technology to assist the transition to electric vehicles and EpiSensor, which builds IT platforms to monitor electricity, water and gas usage.
Other Irish companies involved in green skills include Cygnum, which uses technology to build timber frames, and CitySwift, which uses data and analytics to assist bus logistics. In addition all companies and businesses, regardless of their industry have an obligation to monitor and reduce their carbon footprint. This has led to increased opportunities for people with skills in assessing and evaluating ways to make businesses more efficient and hence more sustainable. Manufacturing companies are hiring Sustainability Analysts to track how well they are meeting their targets and Sustainability Marketing Associates to convince their customers just how well they are doing it!
Where can I look for jobs?
Use a job listing website eg LinkedIn and search by related keywords – eg Environmental, Sustainable, ESG, Social Impact. CSR, Ethical etc.. Remember that the main activity of the company may not be directly related to science or the environment. If you would like upskill or increase your knowledge in the area you could check out relevant courses on Qualifax or Springboard using the same search keywords.
Contact us for advice on securing your next role.