The State of Green Jobs

Sign of Green JobsIf you are trying to plug into the green economy as a business owner or a green employee, I encourage you to read Kevin Doyle’s recent Hire Definition post on the GRIST blog.

Kevin Doyle, the president of Green Economy, a Boston-based training, consulting, and research firm and coauthor of The ECO Guide to Careers That Make a Difference: Environmental Work for a Sustainable World, provides us with the best “State of the Green Job” summary I’ve seen.

If you are looking for clear-cut data about the number of green jobs and which industries provide the most green jobs, you are likely to be a bit frustrated by Kevin’s assessment of green employment.

Much like the recent GreenBiz’s State of Green Business report I wrote about recently, Kevin’s post highlights more questions than it answers.

The fact is the green economy is too new to quantify in any meaningful way.
Not having clearly understood definitions of the variables that need to be measured is the biggest obstacle to solid statistics.

  • There’s no agreed upon definition of terms such as green career, green job, or green collar job
  • There’s no agreed upon standard to determine whether a company is green or an industry is green.
  • It’s becoming clear that companies within the same industry may have different degrees of impact on the environment based on the technology and processes they are using.

As time progresses, the infrastructure of the green economy will take shape. We’ll eventually know how to categorize jobs, define terms, and measure the impact a job or a company has on the environment. In the meantime, we are where we are.

  • The bad news is that no clear map exists to show you how to get a green job. There’s no way to predict where green industries are going to be in three years, five years, or ten years. There are no established career paths to follow.
  • The good news is that opportunities abound in an economy that’s just taking form. Those who are observant and willing to step forward before the path is completely clear are likely to reap rewards. The key to success is having the ability to solve problems and find untapped opportunities.

I agree with Kevin’s advice to the job seeker. Don’t wait for crystal clear definitions and well thought out statistics. Begin your quest for your green career now.

I’ll take the advice one step further.
Use your own passions and interests to fuel your quest. Immerse yourself in the industry that interests you most. Prepare yourself by reading, interviewing, listening, and doing as much as you can in your target field. Leverage your personal career history by applying your expertise to help your profession/industry move in a green direction. Your expertise will help you see the opportunities that you are well-positioned to solve.

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