In the coming years we will witness the emergence and proliferation of greener jobs. Eco-sustainability is no longer just the focus of a number of people under what is called the “Greta effect”. In recent years, it has become instead a prerogative in every area of our life in order to face the climate crisis that affects us more and more.
We hear a lot about green economy and circular economy, economic development models that want to overcome the industrial model, since it uses big amounts of natural resources then turned into products that end up in landfills based on the take-make-waste ideology. The first one involves an economic development that takes into account the environmental impact of the production activity, the second one instead focuses on the recycling and reuse of existing materials and products, therefore increasing their life cycle and reducing the amount of waste.
It is in this context that green jobs find their place. The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the UN agency that deals with environmental protection, defines green jobs as “those occupations […] that contribute in an incisive way to preserve or restore environmental quality” also specifying that they do not concern only works strictly linked to sustainability, but also all those related to the creation and transformation of goods and services in a green perspective.
In every sector we can think about, we will find new professional figures that arise from this new evolution towards a more sustainable world. In the tourism industry, in the last years eco-sustainable tourism has seen a boom in glamping, the glamor camping with (almost) zero impact, and the consequent search for personnel to be included in the context, not to mention the increasing demand for guides with knowledge of nature. In the legal department, the creation of an increasing number of laws aimed at protecting the environment, led companies to look for professionals specialized in environmental matters, such as environmental lawyers. It is the need to integrate buildings into landscapes that led to the birth of green designers, and still there are bioengineers, environmental chemists, sustainable chefs, bioinformatic scientists and so on.
What skills are required?
Green workers have generally a high level of education, a lot of experience and specific skills that make them much sought after and difficult to find. According to a study conducted in Italy, 35.2% of job applications require a university degree; 32.3% of contracts demand for specific experience in the sector, while for the 17.7% experience may not be strictly connected to the profession to be filled. Another comforting data is about contractual conditions. In fact, more than 49% of green jobs have a permanent contract.
The sectors that will offer more jobs
Although, as we have seen, the change affects all sectors, according to recent research, some appear to be more prolific than others. Among these there are mobility sector, the construction industry, the energy sector and the circular economy.
On top of the list we find renewable energies, which according to IRENA (International Renewable Energy Agency), in 2019 gave a job to 11.5 million people worldwide, especially in photovoltaics sector. The largest number of green employees is concentrated in Asia, with China having 38% of the market.