Finding a job or career in today’s challenging economic times requires just a little foresight as you prepare your job search. Targeting your skills and experience to sectors with the most potential to expand into the 21st century will not only help your own prospects for a rewarding career, but help the economy as a whole as it changes and adapts to our times.
One of the most promising sectors for job and career growth is in the green economy. Too often just the mention of the “green economy” conjures up a political or ideological stance that is mostly unwarranted and a waste of time in our modern economy.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics defines a green job as:
- Jobs in businesses that produce goods or provide services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources.
- Jobs in which workers’ duties involve making their establishment’s processes more environmentally friendly or use fewer natural resources.
Green jobs driving the economy
The fact is that green jobs and the green economy are a leading source of jobs and innovation in today’s transitioning economy. In March of 2012 the Labor Department reported that about 3.1 million Americans had green jobs, with green job growth expanding at four times the rate of the rest of the economy.
Nearly 40,000 jobs were added in second quarter of 2013 in the clean-tech. and renewable energy sector, compared to only 10,800 jobs announced for the same period in 2012.
The tally for third quarter 2013 was a more modest 15,000 jobs, year-on-year green career growth continues to pick up steam and drive the economy as a whole.
What is a green job?
Green jobs include many traditional occupations – accountants, managers, marketers – in support of the green sector, which includes renewable energy, energy storage, energy efficiency, green building, clean transportation, corporate sustainability, forestry and agriculture, and environmental science. But green jobs are not just limited to energy and clean-tech.
A professional online marketer can focus on sustainable marketing solutions, or an accountant can keep the books for any business in the green sector. Moving your traditional skills to the green sector is one option. Another is updating your skill set to offer specific services and knowledge.
You can get an idea of the kinds of green jobs available state-by-state from the Environmental Entrepreneurs website e2.org
Getting certification in Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) gives you expertise in corporate sustainability reporting. There are numerous programs to become LEED certified (which stands for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design), a widely recognized professional credential that places you as a leader and expert in sustainable building design, construction operations and maintenance. Any organization will understand the value of LEED certification and is a sure way to jumpstart you green career.
Your local college or university likely has green education programs to build your skills for the green economy.
There are also programs to learn to become an eco consultant, an added skill you can offer as an employee or you can hang out your own shingle and offer the service as an independent business owner.
There are many options for building a solid, profitable rewarding green career while working to reduce your carbon footprint. Demand is growing for people with the specific skills and expertise in sustainability, efficiency and green energy. There are also a growing number of companies in the clean-tech sector in need of traditional support and management personnel.
As you plan your job search for 2014, consider the green job market. It could be the best choice you ever made, for yourself and for the planet.