To manage the transition to a green economy, upskill workers.
The future of work and the planet are inextricably linked. New industries will emerge, and others will need to transform. With that will come new jobs and fresh skills focused on making the world more sustainable. According to the International Labour Organization's 2018 World Economic and Social Outlook report, a net 18 million jobs will be created as countries work to meet the Paris Agreement's 2 degree Celsius goal. Data from LinkedIn's Global Green Skills Report 2022 suggests the demand for individuals with green skills is outpacing supply.
The report defines green skills as "skills that enable the environmental sustainability of economic activities." Examples include pollution mitigation, sustainable procurement, ecosystem management, and environmental policy. According to the report, "sustainable fashion was the fastest-growing green skill globally, with an average annual growth rate of 90.6% from 2016–2020."
LinkedIn examined roughly 15,000 job listings on its site and divided them into four categories ranging from those requiring robust green skills to those for which green skills aren't necessary. Job postings requiring green skills grew 8 percent annually between 2016 and 2021, outpacing the 6 percent growth of individuals with green skills. The report offers actions employers can take to reduce the green skills gap.
Prepare employees. Companies need to understand how the green transition will affect workers' roles and explore ways to use L&D to upskill them with green skills.
Reimagine both open and future roles. When acquiring talent, evaluate job tasks for vacant and new positions, and identify opportunities to emphasize sustainability for business functionality and the environment.
Find and fund internal green entrepreneurs. Tap employees' imagination and ingenuity to create green products and services and perhaps new green jobs.
Partner with government job creation and workforce development programs centered around green skills. For example, the US government's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy offers online and on-site training in areas such as energy and cyber-security integration, operations and maintenance, and resilience planning.
Avoid re-entrenching existing inequalities. The LinkedIn study found emerging disparities along income, gender, education, and age lines in the burgeoning green transition. Thus, businesses should prioritize creating jobs and skill development opportunities that meet diverse, inclusive, and equitable goals.
All companies will benefit from a stable natural environment, and the green economy will be a success if businesses can find the right balance between increased green skills and job transitions.