As careers go, the field of sustainability is still relatively new. But demand for green jobs is growing daily. The Bureau of Labor Statistics defined green jobs as either: Because companies must address sustainability issues, the creation of green jobs continues to rise in every sector. Here are four reasons to expect sustained growth in green jobs:
Investments in Solar and Clean Energy Continue to Rise
Connie Blaszczyk at monster.com says that investments in green energy are increasing at major companies like Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and private venture capitalists as opportunities in alternative energy increase.Google announced in 2015 that they were investing $300 million with SolarCity, which has established a fund of $750 million to finance a lease/rental program for 25,000 residential solar homes. While this is the largest fund for residential solar energy, this makes a total of $1.5 billion that Google has invested into renewable energy.
Green Jobs Have Become More Mainstream
Gone are the hippie days of environmentalism. According to Blaszczyk, the environmental job sector is growing because of mainstreaming. “Once thought of as more ‘crunchy granola’ than ‘big business,’ green products and services are becoming a significant part of the mainstream economy in agriculture, transportation, energy, consumer goods — you name it.”
Sustainability is also becoming more integrated into business through the next generation of business students. Nicki Gloudeman, greenbiz.com, points out that many schools require some classes on sustainability practices in their business programs, even aside from those getting sustainability management degrees.Environmental management degree jobs now come in all shapes and sizes—allowing graduates to work in fields like agriculture, natural science, environmental policy, water and energy resources, pollution management, and more.
Green Jobs Are Changing the Construction Industry
From energy-efficient homes to LEED-certified buildings, the construction industry has perhaps had to adapt top-to-bottom more quickly than other sectors. Jobs have increased for architects, interior designers, tradesmen, and construction workers, not only in new construction, but in energy-efficient and compliant retrofits.
Booz Allen Hamilton compiled a study for the U.S. Green Building Council and reported that while 2.4 million green construction jobs generated $123 billion in labor earnings from 2000-2008, those numbers were projected to climb to 7.9 million jobs and $396 billion in labor earnings between 2009 and 2013.
Changes Must Be Managed and Implemented
Between government regulations and pressure to be environmentally responsible, companies have their work cut out for them. It is not enough to spout a promise of change at an annual company meeting; new policies have to be carefully managed. In a February 2015 report, Yaowen Ma of Verdantix stated that in the last ten years, the market for sustainability consulting has grown into its own niche consulting category with a forecast of $877 million to be spent by large corporations in 2015 alone. With growth, the market is forecast to grow to over $1 billion by 2019.
Changes in policy then must be implemented from the ground up. Not only are green jobs required in every industry, they also affect many departments within each industry. Sustainable practices may affect the material and supply chain, transportation, manufacturing, distribution, administration, and even the company cafeteria. The implementation of some changes may require new personnel to oversee retooling, retraining, or the creation of new employee procedure manuals. Corporations will also need personnel to ensure compliancy standards are measured and met.
While environmental jobs used to just be specialized niche jobs, today there are environmental jobs in every niche of every industry and in every corner of the globe. Green jobs will continue to increase, not just because they are good business, but because they are also necessary to sustain our planet.
Dixie Somers, based in Arizona, is the author of this article.
You can read articles written by Dixie Somers here.
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