Global green skills: how is the world addressing supply and demand?

Energy / Global green skills: how is the world addressing supply and demand?

William Geldart

William Geldart
July 8, 2022

“The green economy needs to grow faster.” That’s one of the key takeaways from the LinkedIn Global Green Skills Report 2022.

Leveraging data from the platform’s near 800m members, LinkedIn has been able to take a comprehensive temperature check on the growth of green jobs.

Green talent is rising worldwide but not fast enough to meet future demand.

In 2021, “less than 1% of hiring involved green jobs.” And by 2026 it’s projected that there will be a 2% gap between the demand for green jobs and the supply of people with relevant green skills. Therefore, it’s essential that action is taken now to meet future skills requirements.

"Achieving our collective global climate targets is a monumental task and it is going to take a whole-of-economy effort to make it happen. That means we need a transformation in the skills and jobs people have if we’re going to get there."
Ryan Roslansky, CEO, LinkedIn

supply and demand (1)-1

Source: LinkedIn Global Green Skills Report 2022

Defining green skills and jobs

The green economy is growing across the globe. However, its true potential lies beyond traditional green jobs, such as those involved in renewable energy.

Wholescale change will only be realised through the further growth of green jobs, while at the same equipping people with greater green skills. The latter will ensure a higher number of people can transition into green jobs, greening jobs, or those with greening potential.

defining-green-skills-and-jobs (1)Source: LinkedIn Economic Graph – An Action Plan for Climate Change

LinkedIn has developed its own green skills taxonomy and labelling to present the different shades of green jobs. Their methodology also measures what they’ve described as ‘green skills intensity’. This qualifies the extent by which different countries, sectors and jobs use green skills. This intensity will need to increase in every country and sector if we’re to meet our climate goals.

The following classification is based on LinkedIn’s evaluation of 15,000 jobs and their green skills intensity:

Green: Requiring extensive green skills. E.g – solar technician.

Greening: Can be performed without green skills, but typically require at least several green skills. E.g – civil engineer.

Greening potential: Can be performed without green skills but require at least one green skill. E.g – data analyst.

Not Green: Do not require green skills. E.g – nurse.

key takeaways group (1) (1)

Green jobs and skills growth

What’s clear from LinkedIn’s data is that certain sectors and roles are outperforming others when it comes to the green transition. In some cases, this is to be expected.

For example, Sustainability Manager and Wind Turbine Technician rank amongst the fastest-growing green jobs between 2016-2021.

However, the fastest-growing greening jobs can be found in a variety of sectors, amongst less specialised disciplines. Here you’ll find Compliance Manager, Facilities Manager and Technical Sales Representative in the list of fastest-growing jobs that require at least a few green skills.

In summary, most jobs requiring green skills are not traditional green jobs. The green skills required will need to be added as part of the wider green transition.

In a similar vein, LinkedIn’s analysis also features fast-growing green skills that are part of emerging trends.

One example is ‘Sustainable Business Strategies’. While this green skill didn’t make the top five list below, it did feature amongst LinkedIn’s extended list of fastest-growing green skills during the past five years. Given the increased prioritisation of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) strategies, the demand for this skill is likely to rise.

Annual growth between 2016-2021

Fastest-growing green jobs:
1. Sustainability Manager (30%)
2. Wind Turbine Technician (24%)
3. Solar Consultant (23%)
4. Ecologist (22%)
5. Environmental Health and Safety Specialist (20%)

Fastest-growing green skills:
1. Sustainable fashion (90.6%)
2. Environmental services (82.5%)
3. Oil spill response (80.4%)
4. Climate (68,7%)
5. Sustainable Growth (67.2%)

Source: LinkedIn Global Green Skills Report 2022

In-demand green skills

Right now, the supply of green skills is largely meeting the demand with many in-demand green skills falling within traditional green or greening job specialisms. However, as mentioned, we’ll soon reach a tipping point whereby this will be reversed.

When further dissecting LinkedIn’s analysis we can see that the green skills make-up of its members closely matches the demand from employers.

‘Sustainability’ is #1 in both the demand and supply (top green skills added by members) lists. It featured in a share of 27.6% job postings requiring the skill (out of jobs postings requiring any green skill).

Meanwhile, 12.6% of members added ‘Sustainability’ as a skill in 2021 (out of members adding any skill).

Top in-demand green skills required by employers:
1. Sustainability
2. Remediation
3. Occupational Safety and Health Advisor (OSHA)
4. Climate
5. Renewable Energy

Top green skills added by members:
1. Sustainability
2. Environmental Awareness
3. Renewable Energy
4. Environment, Health and Safety (EHS)
5. Sustainable Development

Source: LinkedIn Global Green Skills Report 2022

Country analysis

At the present time there is a large degree of variance in green skills intensity across different countries and sectors. This further highlights the different pace of change.

According to LinkedIn’s report, “the average job in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia uses roughly two to three times more green skills than the average job globally.”

In conjunction, the top 25 countries with the highest number of sectors with green skills have different concentrations of green skill intensity.

Overall, the United States ranks above the global average in each of the 24 sectors plotted. Meanwhile, developing countries such as India outrank some of their global counterparts, with 18 sectors ranked above the global average.

Ultimately, every country and sector will need to adopt its own unique approach to green skilling the workforce. And LinkedIn’s green skills intensity measurement is a useful indicator of how workers in different countries are applying green skills in their jobs.

Countries with relative green skills intensity above the global average

Countries with relative green skills intensity above the global average

United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, India, Brazil, Italy, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Indonesia, United Arab Emirates, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Finland, Turkey, Netherlands, Greece.

country intensity (1)

Source: LinkedIn Global Green Skills Report 2022

Coupled with country-by-country analysis, we’re also now able to get an early picture of the growth in green skills intensity across different sectors.

Industry analysis

According to LinkedIn data, sectors such as Corporate Services and Manufacturing are attracting the greatest intensity of green skills. Energy & Mining is another traditionally high emissions industry that is starting to witness the impact of increased green skilling.

hexagons (1)

Source: LinkedIn Global Green Skills Report 2022

LinkedIn’s reporting breaks down the green transition by sector and further highlights the trends taking shape. Here are some definitions and examples:

Leading: Sectors with an above-average green skill intensity. For every 100 workers transitioning into non-green jobs, up to 256 workers transition into green/greening jobs.
Includes: Agriculture, Design, Energy & Mining, Manufacturing and Public Administration.

Trending positive: Sectors with a below-average green skill intensity. But workers are transitioning into green/greening jobs faster than workers in non-green jobs are transitioning into green/greening. For every 100 workers going into non-green jobs, up to 477 workers transition into green/greening jobs.
Includes: Consumer Goods, Finance, Healthcare, Real Estate and Software & IT Services.

Unclear: Sectors with a below-average green skill intensity. These sectors are not showing major shifts in job transitions.
Includes: Hardware & Networking and Non-Profit Organisations.

Trending negative: These sectors have an above-average green skill intensity. However, workers moving out of green/greening jobs are doing so faster than workers are transitioning into green/greening roles. In fact, for every 100 workers transitioning into non-green jobs, as little as 47 workers transition into green/greening jobs.
Includes: Construction and Education.

This is a chapter excerpt taken from ‘A Global Update on the State of Green Hiring – 2022 edition’.

Get the guide and learn more about the pace of change and how we can enable a just transition to a greener future. 

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