Future Jobs: Green Professions

Many industries are currently facing sustainability-driven changes, opening up numerous positions in green professions. In this article we will cover the skills necessary to reinvent yourself in jobs that put great emphasis on biodiversity and preserving ecosystems.

According to the World Economic Forum report on the jobs of tomorrow, green professions will lead the way in growth and opportunity in 2020-2022. In this series, we discuss ways you can enter the job market in the field of your interest with the help of internships, scholarships, and new skills gained through online courses.


What Are the Green Professions?

According to the International Labour Organization, green jobs are positions in any economic sector which contribute to preserving, restoring, and enhancing environmental quality. Such activities tend to reduce the carbon footprint and environmental impact of companies and manufacturers by exploring alternative energy sources, protecting ecosystems, and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions.

Environmentalist collecting water sample for analysis
Environmentalist collecting water sample for analysis

Green jobs may be either modified versions of already existing jobs or completely new positions. Either way, green professions require the workforce to acquire new skills in order to keep up with this everchanging field. Some sectors, i.e. renewable energy, construction, environmental services, etc., may experience shortages in skills which can slow down the development of new technologies.


Hard Skills in Green Professions

In order to prepare the future workforce for green jobs, the World Economic Forum has come up with ten in-demand hard skills which will increase one’s employability and job-readiness.

The more transferable and universal skills include digital marketing, social media, and email marketing. Green marketers tend to apply all three of these skills to promote environmentally friendly services and products and follow purchasing trends for green products.  The professionals who work in these jobs develop marketing strategies, target the right audience for their products, and determine the effectiveness of the courses of action taken. The more hands-on skills include wind turbine maintenance and solar installation, which usually requires a two-year-long vocational training program at a community college.

Solar panel instalation
Solar panel instalation

Another transferrable skill which can be applied in a number of jobs is proficiency in Microsoft Power BI suite. This business analytics service aims to provide interactive visualizations and business intelligence capabilities through a simple interface. Its key components include a desktop-based application, mobile apps, and tools to sync external data in and out of Power BI.

To have a better understanding of requirements and job conditions you will need to consider, let’s have a look at some of the job openings in the field of green professions.


Emerging Green Jobs

Wind turbine maintanance
Wind turbine maintanance

Emerging green professions are those that have experienced the most growth over the previous five years. To arrive at these conclusions, LinkedIn and Burning Glass Technologies track the number of job openings posted in digital job boards and the number of professionals who are hired into new opportunities. Here are a few openings in this field:

Other Opportunities

Any additional experience that you gain throughout your studies will demonstrate your work readiness to potential employers. To do that, consider applying for an internship or taking part in a competition. Here are some of the opportunities you may look into:

Schneider Go Green Global Student Competition

Go Green is one of the biggest global student competitions seeking bold ideas that can shape the future of the world. Students can already pre-register for the 2021 competition. You will need to send ideas for one of the four segments within energy management, namely sustainability & access to energy, buildings of the future, plants of the future, and grids of the future. At least one team member must be a female.

Remote Sustainability Internship

Amyris is a biotechnology company headquartered in Emeryville, California. Amyris’s products include ingredients for cosmetics, flavors, and fragrances. As an intern, you will support the sustainability department for the Biossance and Pipette brands. Responsibilities will include research and managing sustainability and volunteerism projects. Applicants should be currently working towards completion of a Bachelor’s degree.


Learning Priorities

Data scientists at Coursera have looked at the learning activities of individuals employed in emerging professions and have created a list of distinctive priorities for upskilling in those fields. Here are the top courses to take as a supplement for anyone employed in green professions:


Natural Attenuation of Groundwater Contaminants: New Paradigms, Technologies, and Applications

Cleaning up the large number of groundwater contamination sites is a significant and complex environmental challenge that faces a mix of physical, chemical, and biological constraints associated with active in-situ cleanup technologies. As part of the course, you will build upon basic environmental science and environmental engineering principles to discover how best to implement monitored natural attenuation as a viable treatment for groundwater contamination plumes.  Additionally, you will delve into the relevant history and make predictions about new directions for this technology.


Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Specialization

Knowledge of Geographic Information Systems is an increasingly sought after skill in industries from agriculture to public health. This specialization will teach the skills you need to use GIS software in a professional setting successfully. You will learn how to analyze your spatial data, use cartography techniques to communicate your results in maps, and collaborate with peers in GIS and GIS-dependent fields. In the final capstone project, you will create a professional-quality GIS portfolio piece using a combination of data identification and collection, analytical map development, and spatial analysis techniques.


Global Environmental Management

Students will learn about the best environmental technologies for sustainable development and how they are managed in various settings around the world. This course gives you an opportunity to learn about global trends that influence our environment and living conditions and how different management systems and approaches are used around the world to manage the environment. This includes current environmental technologies built for the environment and technologies for sustainable soil management, groundwater protection methods, and integrated Water resources management.


Water Resources Management and Policy

Water management today is faced with new challenges such as climate change or the effects of human activity. This course is intended to develop an understanding of the problems related to water management. By the end of this course, you will know how to identify the main issues and strategies linked to water resource management and acquire the key reading material needed to understand the variables which affect water management.

Green jobs are emerging in all sectors and industries, and those professionals who have the hard skills specific to their field can easily upgrade their portfolio with more environment-oriented skills and knowledge.

Photos: Shutterstock / Photomontage: Martina Advaney

Other articles on Future Skills and Jobs here:

Future Jobs: Care Professions

Future Jobs: Data and Artificial Intelligence

Future Jobs: Engineering and Cloud Computing

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