7 In-Demand Green Skills Right Now

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Every major change in the world impacts the labor market, and climate change is no exception. As environmental crises escalate and new challenges emerge—like meeting the 2030 emission reduction target—companies are pushed to invest in sustainable practices. To navigate this shift, it’s important to have a workforce equipped with the necessary expertise. That’s where green skills come into play.

Literacy and technical knowledge in green practices are poised to become prerequisites for many roles. This presents a crucial moment for workers: a chance to upskill and adapt. For some, it could even be an opportunity to reposition or pursue a career change.

But what exactly are green skills, and which jobs require them? Read on to find out.

What are green skills?

Green skills encompass the knowledge and abilities needed to make business practices and industrial processes more sustainable. “People with green skills are able to act in ways that promote ecologically friendly practices,” says Jessica Munday, co-founder, people culture manager, and former head of HR of Custom Neon.

“These green skills span a wide range of competencies,” she explains, and aren’t confined to industries directly involved with environmental practices. As the fight against climate change requires a collective effort, companies across all sectors are actively embracing green practices—and you should consider developing them too.

Read more: How I Made “Going Green” Into a Full-time Career

7 in-demand green skills you should consider

“Businesses need to be able to follow environmental laws and society’s expectations for eco-friendly behavior in order to build an efficient and sustainable economy,” says Munday. This translates directly into a rising demand for a variety of green skills, “from soft skills like environmental consciousness to technical knowledge of sustainable building techniques,” she adds.

Below, we break down seven sustainability skills that companies are seeking right now:

1. Environmental law expertise

Understanding environmental regulations and their impact is crucial for various green careers. Environmental lawyers play a key role in ensuring companies’ compliance, but this knowledge can also benefit professionals in sustainability consulting, environmental policy analysis, and even certain roles within green building or eco-conscious product development.

Find environmental lawyers jobs on The Muse

2. Carbon footprinting

You’ve likely heard the buzz about carbon footprinting. It’s basically a way to measure how humanity’s actions affect the environment. It takes into account both the direct emissions of carbon dioxide (think car fumes) and the indirect ones (like the energy used to power your lights at home).

No wonder, right now, knowledge in carbon footprinting is one of the most important skills for green jobs out there.

According to The Global Green Skills 2023 Report by LinkedIn, “skills in carbon accounting, carbon credits, emissions trading, impact assessment, and sustainability reporting are among the fastest-growing green skills in the U.S. and the European Union (EU).”

3. Green building skills

The construction industry is poised for change, and its workforce will need to develop the so-called green building skills to keep up. These include waste management and reduction, implementing sustainable methods and materials for retrofits, and optimizing energy usage, for example.

Read more: 20 Highest Paying Blue-Collar Jobs

4. Renewable energy

Essential as it is, energy production often generates greenhouse gasses that contribute to global warming. This reality makes skills in renewable energy more important than never, “especially for solar and wind farms,” says Munday.

As a part of the effort to reduce carbon emissions while keeping traditional industries alive, knowledge of renewable energy is also needed in the engineering and the construction markets. “Energy-efficient design is being used in an increasing number of engineering and architectural projects,” she adds.

5. Sustainable agriculture

Another major industry adopting sustainable practices is agriculture and food production. Expertise in sustainable agriculture includes, but is not limited to, waste reduction, organic farming, and permaculture.

“As more ecologically friendly food production techniques are adopted by the agricultural industry, there is an increasing demand for ecologists and sustainable farmers,” says Munday.

Find agricultural jobs on The Muse

6. Climate data analysis

According to The Future of Jobs Report 2020, data analysis is in the top three jobs in the U.S. with increasing demand across industries. This includes the sustainability sector, where data analysts play a critical role in evaluating climate data to make informed decisions for a greener future.

Find data analysts jobs on The Muse

7. Environmental awareness

Environmental awareness is an essential soft skill to have if you want to succeed in a sustainability-driven industry. Think about it this way: To excel as a doctor, being empathetic and valuing human life is just as crucial as having the technical knowledge, right?

The same goes for people trying to get into the green industry. It’s important to educate yourself. Find reliable sources that cover the current state of the environment and become more mindful of the effects human action has on the planet.

Jobs that require green skills

“Opportunities are being created in a range of jobs due to the rise in demand for green skills,” says Munday. LinkedIn’s Global Green Skills 2023 Report highlighted 34 green jobs and roles that require sustainability skills, across many different industries and levels of education, including:

  • Policy advisor
  • Architectural manager
  • Construction administrator
  • Business engineer
  • Director of interior design
  • Heating and air conditioning engineer
  • Construction inspector
  • Transportation engineer
  • Winemaker
  • Geographic information system officer

You could also pursue an entry-level job with tasks related to sustainability. According to the Linkedin’s Report, these are some green jobs in the U.S. that offers opportunities for workers without prior green experience:

  • Solar consultant (50.5% hires with no green experience)
  • Waste management specialist (49.7% hires with no green experience)
  • Environmental technician (32.9% hires with no green experience)

Ready to kickstart your green career? Check out open jobs on The Muse »

Developing your green skills

As you can see, the demand for green skills is on the rise, and soon they could become indispensable for many jobs. If you want to stay ahead of the curve, it may be time to start upskilling.

You can develop your green skills by taking online courses or pursuing traditional education, like post-graduation programs. This is especially valuable if your degree aligns with industries shifting towards sustainability or offering green job opportunities.

It’s worth noting that green jobs require more than just technical expertise. Soft skills like creativity, innovation, leadership, and adaptability are equally important. These are transferable skills valuable in any role, regardless of your job title and industry.