As sustainable businesses grow, so does the need for a skilled labor force that can help guide the green revolution. Jobs focusing on energy efficiency have grown by 500% in the last seven years, and sustainable jobs are projected to continue growing. In order to prepare students to lead the way when it comes to sustainability, it is helpful for universities and colleges to remember the following in-demand skills:
- Management of Business Relationships: To navigate the world of green business and sustainable practices, it’s important to create and maintain relationships with investors and government agencies.
- Technical Skills: Much of the green job boom has a technical focus (installation of solar panels, for example).
- Marketing: Sustainable businesses are often trying to sell alternative technology and products in a market that is saturated with non-sustainable options. Smart marketing can go a long way in ensuring success.
- Certifications, Credentials and Licenses: By providing students with the tools and the background to navigate the certifications and credentials (LEED certifications or professional engineer licenses, for example), higher ed can do much help meet the demand for green jobs.
Higher ed has the important responsibility of training students to lead on sustainability. By providing the skill sets and training needed for environmentally-focused jobs, we can ensure that climate action is transformative.
As sustainable business enters the mainstream, there is a growing need for a skilled labor force that can meet the needs of socially and environmentally focused firms. The rate of growth for jobs with “environmental compliance” as a keyword has increased by 24 percent since 2010, while jobs focusing on “energy efficiency” have grown by 500 percent since 2009, according to data from job search engine SimplyHired.com, compiled by Coyne College.
California, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Wisconsin, Indiana, Georgia, Virginia and Maryland are the top states for sustainability jobs, based on the number of job listings on Simply Hired. Many of these states, particularly California, are where there has been the mostjob growth in the cleantech sector.
The sustainable buildings sector is also a major source for sustainable business opportunity. California, Texas, Illinois, Maryland and Virginia topped the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) recent list for top states for number projects for LEED, the world’s most widely used and recognized green building rating system.
But sustainable job growth is happening almost everywhere. In some cases, existing plants are being repurposed for more sustainable purposes — the Philip Morris cigarette plant in Concord, North Carolina, for example, has switched to producing batteries to store energy for wind and solar farms.
What kinds of skills are these forward-thinking firms looking for? Luckily, they are quite varied. According to the Simply Hired data, here are some of the top skills sustainability-driven companies are looking for in their employees.