You are currently viewing Green skills at work : the stakes of a growing phenomenon

Climate change has been a significant concern for societies worldwide. In response, efforts have been made – and continue to be made – to reduce/stop it. It has been put into light that not only we could take action not only in our personal lives, but also in our workplaces. As a result, green skills are now highly in demand.


The definition of a green skill

A green skill can be defined as a skill that helps a person reduce the impact of climate change at work. It could be the action of doing a carbon footprint, being able of analysing the cycle of life of products, knowing how to manage waste, or even putting into place CSR (corporate social responsibility) policies.

The United Nations enunciate that green skills “include technical knowledge, expertise and abilities that enable the effective use of green technologies and processes in professional settings. They draw on a range of knowledge, values, and attitudes to facilitate environmentally sustainable decision-making at work and in life.”

The objective of implementing green skills is to develop green economies that are helping to get towards the ecological transition. These skills are particularly needed in 3 sectors : energy production, transportation, and finance. The first two are prioritised due to their carbon emissions (being the biggest source of carbon emissions), and the third is vital for supporting the ecological of  its im transition.


Green skills in high demand

The reality is that not enough workers have green skills. A LinkedIn study revealed that only 1 in 8 people has at least one green skill. Indeed, the greens talents, meaning the part of the workers who hold a green job or at least one green skill, is insufficient to respond to the growing green demand.

This situation creates a green skill shortage, where the demand is higher than the offer.

But why is there such a high demand for green skills ? This can be attributed to the society’s growing concern about climate change and its impacts. In response to that, actions are taken to prevent it. For example, the European pact for climate (January 2022) pushes into developing green skills in their entities. These are some of the ambitions :

  • Encouraging companies and organizations into taking part with this pact that has a common engagement model for developing green skills in Europe
  • Participating to a social European fund with the goal of forming 5 millions person to green jobs
  • Encouraging professional conversion towards green jobs

However, there are only goals, and many companies are not ready to commit to them. Nonetheless, there is a certain alignment between countries, particularly in the EU.

The pros and cons for employment

It has been shown that possessing a green skill was more advantageous than problematic. Having a green skill can provide a competitive edge in the job market compared to individuals lacking such skills for similar positions. Given the growing demand for green skills across many jobs, it can only be an advantage in the work field. Moreover, it creates an environment where employees are more and more educated on the climate issue and are being a part of it to resolve it. These are more resilient jobs, with a lot more job averts and a much higher hire rate.

However, this phenomenon may lead to creating disparities between the workers. Indeed, there is evidence of a gender gap, often referred as a “green ceiling”. Knowing that the green talent pool is composed of 66% of males, they mostly benefit from it. Age disparities also exist, as younger individuals are more likely to possess green skills compared to older individuals. Similarly, educational background plays a role: those with higher education levels tend to have more green skills than those without a degree

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A propos de Charlen Chapotot