Authored by Brad Marley
As we find ourselves a month into 2023, a return-to-office mandate seems to be gaining steam among employers as a looming recession threatens to remove the upper hand workers have enjoyed as wages have increased amid labor shortages.
If the United States does, indeed, enter a recession, giving up your job to find a new one if your current employer demands you return to the office might not be as feasible as it once was. It might come down to making a daily commute or risking unemployment, even though the World Economic Forum estimates individuals save two hours a day commuting when working from home.
But as more and more people are faced with this decision, the return of workers to an office could impact climate change, at least in the short term. Here in the states, individuals’ reliance on cars is a major reason why emissions are so high. That’s also why they dipped during the pandemic. If workers are called back into an office setting, it stands to reason emissions will jump.
But there is a larger dynamic at play here that can allow workers to be more environmentally friendly—green careers.
As more careers take on a hint of green, the future of work for those who want to find their footing in a fulfilling environmental role is promising.
According to the LinkedIn Global Green Skills Report of 2022, green talent has increased from 9.6 percent in 2015 to 13.3 percent in 2021. That’s accumulative growth of 38.5 percent.
But what does “green talent” mean?
UNIDO defines “green talent” as “the knowledge, abilities, values, and attitudes needed to live in, develop, and support a sustainable and resource-efficient society.”
The shift toward these skills has increased in recent years, with more emphasis on sustainability. And it’s expected these numbers will grow as more jobs take on a green hue.
LinkedIn has identified 25 roles that are growing in demand in the United States in 2023, and they’ve included “Sustainability Analyst” as one of the roles that are sure to gain in importance this year and beyond.
A sustainability analyst researches and tracks an organization’s environmental impact to develop strategies, practices, and programs that support corporate sustainability efforts. As more companies realize the importance of these sustainability efforts, the need for individuals who can help them reach their goals will only grow.
This is good news for companies that might not have the expertise in-house to track their progress and individuals who want to work in the sustainability industry but might not know where to start.
If you’re interested in pursuing a green (or greening) career, consider these factors:
- To pursue this line of work, it’s recommended to study sustainability, environmental science, engineering, or a related field.
- Some universities even have specific programs that are geared toward a career in sustainability.
- Seek out a career coach who can help you identify areas where companies are in need of sustainability support, both now and in the future.
As everyone makes their way toward the goal of becoming more sustainable, green business possibilities are going to continue to come fast and furious.
According to McKinsey, reaching net zero by 2050 might mean a 60 percent increase in capital spending compared to current investments. By focusing on just 11 value pools—i.e., hydrogen, transport, etc.—a transformation of the global economy would create significant growth potential for climate technologies. The entire report is here, and it unveils some fascinating insight into why building green businesses is top-of-mind for many executives.
Of course, you can always find companies to work for that are already entrenched in the sustainability game. They aren’t hard to find. And we are always looking for those who want to help us create a brighter tomorrow. A career with us means you can help us Reimagine Waste on an unprecedented scale and make real changes in the communities where we live and work.
I am bullish about the future of business and believe there is a greenish tint to it that will only become more pronounced as humanity uncovers new solutions that might not even be on our collective radars.
Businesses have a role to play in our sustainability journey, and I am excited about what lies ahead.