Green Jobs

Discover Green Jobs – A guide to finding green jobs

We’ve been talking about the growth of green jobs for years, but many are still unsure about how to find green jobs.

Before we look at how to find green jobs, it’s worth exploring the definitions and terms used and understanding how green jobs can are categorised. It’s also helpful to understand that green jobs can also be described as environmental or sustainability jobs.

What are green jobs?

The International Labour Organization (ILO) describes green jobs as “… decent jobs that contribute to preserve or restore the environment, be they in traditional sectors such as manufacturing and construction, or in new, emerging green sectors such as renewable energy and energy efficiency.”

Green jobs have also been described in broader terms as jobs that have a positive impact on the planet. As governments around the world adopt laws and policies aimed toward net zero, most jobs will become green or at least greener.

Greening the world of work – three kinds of green jobs

O*NET’s ‘Greening of the World of Work’ report describes how green jobs can be categorised. They identify three categories which are: Green Increased Demand Occupations, Green Enhanced Skills Occupations and Green New and Emerging (N&E) Occupations.

Green Increased Demand Occupations are green occupations that experience an upsurge in demand. A more rapid shift to renewable energy sources, for example, would result in increased opportunities for Solar Photovoltaic Installers, Solar Power Plant Technicians and Solar Sales Representatives.

Under the category of Green Enhanced Skills Occupations, jobs might become greener due to changes in policy for instance. Take, for example, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Goal number 13 focuses on Climate Action which an organisation might adopt into its policies. This will likely result in changes to how a company does business which in turn will lead to a role becoming greener.

Green New and Emerging Occupations are newly created roles within the green economy. Some examples include Solar Energy Systems Engineers, Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report Verifiers and Environmental Certification Specialists.

Exploring green job careers

If you are interested in exploring green job careers, here are some ideas for how you can identify career options. 

Employer research

Before you research employers, it’s important to think about which sectors appeal to you most. Let’s say you are interested in working for a large organisation whose efforts are focused on tackling climate change. Some stand-out employers in that space could be World Wildlife Fund or Climate Action NetworkVisit the organisations’ websites and look for their ‘Work with us’, ‘Careers’ or ‘Jobs’ section. You will find current and recent vacancies listed. There might also be further information (videos, case studies and guides) about working in that organisation, their values and recruitment process.

If your interest lies in the green energy sector for example, you will need to identify the biggest employers in that industry and conduct research to understand the opportunities that exist.

How to find a green job

In response to government announcements about the growth of green jobs, many have turned to Google in search of a green career. Global heating company Viessmann reported that nearly 20,000 searches a month were performed on Google in the UK for the terms ‘green jobs’, ‘environmental jobs’ and ‘sustainability jobs’.

They put together a list of five top green jobs which are:

  • Senior Energy Carbon Consultant
  • Electrical Engineer (Renewables)
  • Energy Analyst
  • Thermal Insulation Installer
  • Heat Pump Installer

You might already know what kind of role and sector you would like to target. This can be an easier way to find a green job. With specific job titles in mind, you can search for these in several ways. If you are targeting Environmental Policy Officer, for example, you can try searching for jobs via LinkedIn’s job search feature or use any of the mainstream job board sites and filter results via sector.

Green job websites

While there are dedicated green job websites, these are not the only way to land yourself a green job. If you’re looking for a green job, consider exactly what kind of role you are looking for. Many green jobs aren’t necessarily marketed as ‘green jobs’, so limiting your job search to just green job websites can be a bad idea. Still, they can be a good place to start and can be a good part of your overall green job search.

Here are just some of the job search sites that feature green jobs, environmental jobs, and sustainability jobs*.

While the above website links might provide an answer to the question of how to find a green job, it is not the only way. Let’s look at some other approaches to finding green, environmental and sustainability jobs.

Traineeships and apprenticeships

Traineeships and apprenticeships are increasingly available for green jobs. A traineeship or apprenticeship involves on-the-job training alongside the completion of industry-recognised qualifications. These qualifications can range from entry-level right through to degree-level apprenticeships. The UK government has put together a helpful resource to help you understand the opportunities available and the requirements. 

Other ways to find green jobs

As mentioned earlier, identifying potential employers is a good way to understand the opportunities available in any given sector. Once you’ve narrowed down the kind of green career you are interested in, you can shortlist potential employers. While you can search available vacancies on their website, you should also consider reaching out to the shortlisted preferred employers. This approach is often referred to as a speculative approach in that there is no actual job vacancy available but you are contacting the employer to express your interest.

There are a number of reasons why this approach is so effective. Firstly, you will stand out as having a genuine interest in working for that employer. Secondly, while they might not have any vacancies listed on their website, you might happen to reach out to them at just the right time to have a heads up on upcoming roles. 

Another strategy is to attend green jobs fairs, industry and training events. These are a great way to connect with potential employers as well as growing your network. Some organisations at the event will be actively recruiting while others might be offering insight through presentations. Conferences especially can be an excellent way to learn about the sector and rub shoulders with key decision makers. Just being at an event like this demonstrates your commitment to a green career which is bound to impress any employer. 

You can also use this as an opportunity to conduct informational interviews. Informational interviews are when you speak to someone, typically someone in your target role, about their career. This gives you the ability to dive deeper into the day-to-day tasks and responsibilities, challenges and opportunities. You will broaden your professional network and might even learn about job opportunities.

Some key questions might be:

  • What does this job involve?
  • What are the requirements for the job?
  • What training is available?
  • What are the pros and cons of this job?
  • What is the typical salary in this job?

Whichever strategy you choose, do your homework, and set your sights on the end goal of landing yourself a green job. Good luck!

Summary

In this blog post we’ve explored definitions of green jobs. We have also looked at the different types of green jobs and sectors where green jobs exist. Finally, we’ve looked at some of the different green jobs, sustainability and environmental jobs websites as well as some strategies that will help you find a green job.

*Links are provided for informational purposes only; they do not constitute an endorsement or recommendation. We take no responsibility for the accuracy, legality, or content of any external sites. If you have any questions regarding external sites’ content, please contact them directly.

Lisa LaRue, MCareerDev,  RCDP, MAC

Lisa LaRue, MCareerDev, RCDP, MAC

Career Coach, EMCC-Accredited Master Practitioner Coach and CDI-Registered Career Development Professional with more than 20 years’ experience helping achieve successful and fulfilling careers.

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