Green jobs are booming – but too few people have the skills to fill them

Green jobs are booming

An army of employees are needed to meet today’s global sustainability challenges – product designers, supply managers, economists, scientists, architects and many others with the knowledge to both recognize unsustainable practices and find ways to improve sustainability.

Employers are increasingly looking for people with these qualifications and skills. According to some reports, there’s been a tenfold increase in the number of jobs with “sustainability” in the title over the last decade, reaching 177,000 in 2021. While the number of “green jobs” grew globally at a rate of 8% per year over the last five years, the number of people listing green skills in their profiles only grew by 6% per year, according to a LinkedIn analysis of its nearly 800 million users.

There are simply not enough skilled workers to meet the rapid growth in green and sustainability jobs available. As a result, MRI has also seen a corresponding increase in the number of recruiters who specialize in the sector to reduce the talent gap. Too few people have the specialized and relevant expertise and experience, finding them requires the kind of comprehensive network of potential candidates that recruiters cultivate, and once identified competition to hire them is fierce.

As talent has grown scarce, salaries paid by companies in the industry have risen and are expected to keep growing. Notable variations exist among geographies, individual positions, and company types, according to research conducted by McKinsey: Renewable development: Overcoming talent gaps. Unsurprisingly, US companies pay significantly more than their European counterparts: the average US salary is roughly 40 percent higher, says McKinsey.

To find the right talent at affordable salaries, companies will have to rethink critical HR and recruitment strategies and processes and be willing to invest heavily in attracting and retaining talent. In addition to seeking out specialized recruiters, they have to work on cultivating a strong brand, developing a clear career path for key job positions, and building bench strength by focusing on early capture of potential talent.