The start of the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (otherwise known as COP28
) is swiftly approaching on 30 November 2023. As a result, sustainability and the urgency for a more environmentally conscious economy are in the spotlight.
With countries and industries moving towards greener practices, there are, thankfully, more chances to make a positive impact on the planet and your future through your career choices.
Here’s what you need to know about “green jobs”.
What is a green job?
When we hear about green jobs, we usually think of renewable energy or conservation, but it's much broader. Essentially, the goals of these types of roles are to decrease environmental impact, promote sustainability, and encourage the efficient use of resources.
You can find green jobs in industries as diverse as agriculture, transportation, and manufacturing – but also in roles with more of an administrative focus. Examples of green roles can include engineers developing clean technologies, urban planners designing eco-friendly cities, and policy advisors shaping environmental regulations.
Regardless of job title, all of them are vital for creating a sustainable future that aligns with the global environmental targets talked about at big events like COP28.
Where to find green jobs
Green jobs are sprouting up everywhere, from international corporations to local charities. This growth is being driven by an increasing emphasis on sustainability and a rising demand for eco-friendly products and services.
There are lots of opportunities to explore in both traditional and emerging sectors, including:
- Renewable energy: Starting with the most obvious place, wind and solar farms, as well as hydroelectric power stations, offer a range of roles that involve designing, installing and maintaining eco-friendly power systems. This also includes solar panel installers and heat pump engineers.
- Sustainable agriculture: The organic farming ecosystem focuses on sustainable food production methods – this also includes urban gardening, which is a growing field in major cities.
- Green building and design: Focusing on energy-efficient and low-impact construction, this sector needs architects, engineers and construction workers who specialise in sustainable practices.
- Environmental conservation: This covers roles in wildlife conservation, forest management and environmental advocacy – think field technicians, ecologists, labourers and local council engagement officers for parks and community spaces.
- Corporate sustainability: While these roles don’t directly involve tasks that minimise the impact of climate change, they’re important for driving positive change in businesses and throughout industries. Many companies look for specialist sustainability consultants or business analysts to help them reduce their carbon footprint and integrate green practices into their business models.
Online job boards, company websites, and sustainability-focused career fairs are excellent resources for hunting down green job postings. On New Job Today, for example, you can type in keywords like “conservation”, “sustainability” and “environment” to look for specific opportunities in these areas.
Also, don't forget that some traditional jobs have always been green – outdoor jobs involving working with the local environment or animals have a heavy element of biodiversity management!
How to get your first green job
To successfully make the leap to a green job, you’ll need a combination of education (formal or informal), skill-building and networking:
- If you’re completely new to the field, consider taking courses or certifications in environmental science, sustainable development or renewable energy.
- Many skills are transferable to green jobs. For instance, project management, data analysis and marketing are valuable in most sectors, but especially in corporate sustainability.
- Building a network in the sustainability sector is a must, as it can lead to mentorship opportunities and insider knowledge about job openings – sprucing up your online personal brand will help you connect with environmental organisations.
- Consider internships, volunteer work, or part-time positions in sustainability-focused organisations. As well as boosting your CV, this practical experience will give you a clearer picture of the field.
- Keep up with the latest trends in sustainability. Follow relevant news, subscribe to industry newsletters and reports (like LinkedIn’s annual Global Green Skills report) and join webinars. Being well-informed shows your commitment and can give you an edge in job interviews.
In a world dealing with climate change and environmental degradation, green jobs offer a chance to make a positive impact and find career satisfaction. Going into a sustainability-focused role might require some preparation and flexibility, but the rewards can be great for both you and the planet.
In the spirit of COP’s call to action, now is the perfect time to consider how your career choices can contribute to a more sustainable future.
Melody Sadé Abeni