The professional sustainability industry is booming, which has its pros and cons.
The job market is highly competitive and complex with seemingly endless job openings. This can pose challenges for young professionals seeking to work in sustainability-related fields.
The professional sustainability industry is booming, which has its pros and cons. Notably, the fact that it isn’t fully formed can create puzzling standards for applicants. However, there are a few indicators of which green skills or types of additional experience could assist earnest applicants.
The benefit of the prevailing vagueness in the field is that applicants can create new standards for the sector. Job descriptions and expectations evolve as new professionals enter the field so the market, albeit competitive, remains malleable.
Not only is it evolving, but the industry is also changing faster than fossil fuel industries like coal and oil. Jobs involving solar panel manufacturing and electric vehicle engineering are becoming far more common than openings in coal mines. This trend has been rising for years and is only expected to continue as regulations worldwide attempt to curb and phase out fossil fuels entirely.
The professional sustainability field can encompass any industry. The perception of how many jobs could have a sustainable angle outside scientists and social organizations is also evolving. The United Nations divides sustainable development into three pillars: economic, social, and environmental.
This accentuates the scope of sustainable jobs. The 2022 LinkedIn Global Green Skills Report highlighted the green movement’s most prevalent and demanding fields. It also revealed industries where environmental development is lacking.
Employers usually look for skills in fields as diverse as pollution prevention, sustainability research, and environmental policy. These skills can be put to good use in numerous sectors, including sustainable fashion and sustainable landscape design, to name two. Each of these then has subsections. Sustainable fashion, for instance, can also focus on environmental policy and environmental auditing.
Yet education in this respect continues to lag and in a world developing faster than ever educators will need to teach new sustainability-related skills. How are future politicians supposed to advocate for green policies or how are civil engineers to construct environmentally focused plans if they are not taught these skills in school?
Even applying for jobs that aren’t directly related to sustainability could have a sustainable lens. Professionals often forget they can provide suggestions to employers about how they can bend a job’s expectations for a sustainable focus.
Entering the sustainability field is often an ethical choice as climate change becomes more severe and nations attempt to mitigate its effects. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a hot topic as companies without a clear sustainable focus recognize their impacts on ecosystems, biodiversity, and global temperatures. The pressure instilled by businesses engaging in environmentally focused CSR creates accountability for other industries to follow suit.
With corporate greenwashing, countless organizations try to mislead consumers for profit or manipulate prospective employees by exaggerating unrealized green initiatives. By entering a profession in sustainability, the responsibility can be ours to shift industry mindsets towards positive global impacts.
We can discuss with employers how it could benefit their reputation to engage with honest, eco-friendly initiatives to create professional sustainability in any field. And we can stress that not taking action now will affect companies over the long term if they end up destroying their reputation in the eyes of their customers or being called out for false marketing on their products and services.
Understanding your professional goals and priorities is essential before entering any field. However, people driven by sustainability could be motivated by more than just a salary and embrace the potential to create global impacts even in regular 9-to-5 jobs.
© 2022 Sustainability Times.
This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 SA International License.