The sustainability job market is white hot. By many counts, green jobs are being added faster than in any other sector. But what constitutes a green job? Sure there are the obvious industries like clean tech, energy efficiency, advanced vehicles and renewable energy, which includes solar, wind, biofuels, biomass, wave power, tidal power, geothermal, small
scale hydropower, and more. And these industries alone have created more than 2.5 million green jobs, according to E2’s 2016 Clean Jobs America report.
There are great opportunities to make an impact within the public sector too. Green jobs at federal, state and city agencies, as well as non-profits work to develop, implement, and regulate energy, climate and transportation related policies. According to a 2017 EDF report, the public sector accounts for nearly 900,000 green jobs.
EDF estimates that total green jobs across these public and private sectors number between 4 and 4.5 million, up 25% from 2011. Indeed, the green job market is growing fast: solar and wind sectors are creating jobs 12-times faster than the rest of the economy, and the advanced automotive sector saw job growth of 48% from 2015 to 2016.
But green jobs are also being created in more traditional industries, such as utilities and oil and gas—and these industries are on the cusp of massive change. Even non-energy related industries are creating sustainability jobs, from tech companies in Silicon Valley to professional services, banking and retail, to consumer-packaged goods. According to a recent GreenBiz report, 70% of large company CEO’s surveyed were at least “interested” in climate change, and 89% of Fortune 500 companies publish some form of sustainability report. No matter the sector, talented people who are passionate about climate change and other sustainability issues are landing green jobs and creating positive impact.
Green jobs versus green sectors
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies green jobs into two broad categories:
Jobs in businesses that produce goods or provide services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources.