There is no denying that job roles are changing – and fast.
Rapid digitalisation, the rise of AI, and the accelerated clean energy transition is leading to fast change in the world of work, with even faster change expected.
According to LinkedIn’s latest research, the skills needed for jobs have already changed by 25% over the past eight years, and this rate of change is expected to reach at least 65% by 2030 – with AI further accelerating the pace of change.
LinkedIn’s Jobs on the Rise list for 2024 reveals the 25-fastest growing roles over the past five years – and as you might expect, those focused on technology (AI and cybersecurity) and sustainability and energy dominate the lists both in Europe and the US.
Incredibly, some 68% of the roles on the list did not even exist 20 years ago, including Environmental Health Safety Manager and Sustainability Analyst.
Sustainability Analyst and Manager are In-Demand
Among the top 10 fastest-growing jobs in the US for 2024, three are focused on sustainability including Environmental Health Safety Manager (3rd fastest-growing), Sustainability Analyst (5th) – and despite the recent backlash against DEI, the role of Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion (seventh-fastest growing position in the country).
Commenting on the data, Deidre Osei, Global Brand Marketing Manager for Barbie at Mattel, says there is a slow but steady shift in priorities.
“This shows that companies are acting on the need for corporate citizenship, addressing environmental issues, and emphasising diversity and inclusion. This change is crucial for long-term success and demonstrates a commitment to sustainable and ethical practices, highlighting a positive shift in the business landscape towards valuing social and environmental impact alongside financial performance.”
In Europe, meanwhile, where ESG commitments are more progressive, green jobs featured among the top three fastest-growing roles in many countries, with Sustainability Analyst the fastest-growing role in Sweden.
In Germany, whose commitment to achieving a carbon-neutral economy by 2050 places it among the top greenest countries in the world, the role of Sustainability Manager is the fastest-growing job in the country.
Charged with devising, implementing and coordinating a company’s sustainability strategy, Sustainability Manager is also the fastest-growing job in the UK – and third-fastest in Spain.
According to LinkedIn data, more women than men are currently hired in these roles with 53% and 60% of women hired in 2023 as Sustainability Analysts and Sustainability Managers, respectively.
These are the fastest-growing sustainability roles in Europe and the US, according to LinkedIn data:
- Environmental Health Safety Manager Involves ensuring employers are “fostering a safe and sustainable workplace for employees, managing risk and ensuring compliance to health, safety and environmental regulations”
- Sustainability Analyst Responsible for analysing, evaluating and reporting on the company’s environmental impact, they develop strategies to make business operations more sustainable, including energy efficiency measures, waste reduction and responsible use of resources
- Sustainability Manager Oversee environmental and sustainability strategies for organisation, analysing, assessing and reporting on environmental impact, with skills in carbon foot-printing and corporate sustainability.
- Vice-President of Diversity and Inclusion Responsible for cultivating inclusive workplaces through the design and implementation of policies relating to DEI, this role is most in demand in NYC, Washington DC and Chicago.
Green Economy Hiring Rising but Talent Remains Scarce
This sustainable direction of travel backs up WEF’s The Future of Jobs Report, published in April 2023, which found “the fastest-growing roles relative to their size today are driven by technology, digitalisation and sustainability”.
The Report lists AI and ML Specialists as soaring in demand, tailed by Sustainability Specialists, described as experts who design and implement sustainable policies and practices within corporations.
According to the report: “Businesses predict the strongest net job-creation effect to be driven by investments that facilitate the green transition of businesses, the broader application of ESG standards and supply chains becoming more localised, albeit with job growth offset by partial job displacement in each case.”
This is certainly true for some industries more than others.
Just this week, in the UK, Tata Steel said it expects around 2,800 jobs will be slashed, due to the closing in 2024 of two blast furnaces and replacement with a new electric furnace in 2027, as the conglomerate transitions to green energy.
Where are the Green Skills?
Ultimately, the green transition is expected to have a net-positive impact on jobs creation, with benefits seen in clean energy, electrification, energy efficiency and research and development.
Globally, the International Labour Organisation estimates transition could lead to 25 million net jobs by 2030.
And business leaders are optimistic about the green transition, according to the just-released Green Skills Outlook research from Economist Impact, supported by Iberdola – with almost three-quarters (73%) saying it will create more jobs than it eliminates, and 81% say that it will create higher-quality jobs for workers.
Green hiring was up around 25% compared to other industries in 2023, according to LinkedIn’s Global Green Skills Report, with more than 50% of jobs predicted to be transformed to include some green skills as part of their skill portfolio.
But the skills just aren’t there it seems, with green job postings growing nearly twice as fast as the share of green talent between 2022 and 2023.
Bridging emerging gaps in green skills is an imperative to driving the transition forward – and will require coordination and innovative strategies on the part of governments, educational institutions, and the private sector.
“The opportunities presented by the transition are vast, but it is critical that both businesses and policymakers are sharply focused now on ensuring people are equipped with the right skills and training,” says Ignacio Galán, Executive Chairman of Iberdrola and Chairman of Avangrid.
“Without skilled workers, the transition will not be delivered, and the benefits will not be realised.”
Despite an overwhelming majority (81%) of business leaders in the US agreeing that skills will be the most important driver of the green transition, as per the Economist Impact report, just 58% are implementing or planning to implement relevant programmes to create these for their workforce.
Commenting on the demand for green skills, Kevin Nilsen, President of ECO Canada, says: “All individuals will need to acquire green skills - if a person doesn’t have basic green literacy skills, they won’t be able to effectively carry out their role.”
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