The popular ‘going green’ catchphrase signifies sweeping change across the mainstream global economy. Widespread social interest in addressing environmental issues, along with responses by government regulators and industry, are creating jobs in a growing ‘green collar sector’. This term refers to employment opportunities loosely related, but not limited, to the climate change, energy and sustainability arenas. Many employers are quickly jumping on board.
A major trigger for companies hiring in these areas arises from their implementation of corporate social responsibility (CSR) charters. CSR charters aim to ensure that an organisation is mindful of public interests in its decision making, and considers the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit.
Many future jobs and industries will interface peripherally or directly with the green economy. Career roles are diverse and not limited to people with high-level scientific research training or environmental backgrounds. Think of the green collar sector as an ‘umbrella’ that covers many different disciplines. As our growing economic, social, technological and environmental needs and consciousness become increasingly focused on solving sustainability issues, new employment opportunities for graduates are opening across all sectors. There is already a scarcity of experienced, capable people in various green collar areas and the sector projects strong growth.
So what work is out there?
Evolving key green areas are likely to create demand for graduates in roles such as economists, mathematicians, marketers, public relations experts, legal professionals, scientists, engineers and designers.
Example areas include:
- renewable energy generation and design (including solar, tidal, geothermal and landfill gas power sources)
- environmental impact assessment
- energy management and distribution
- carbon capture, storage, mitigation and management
- climate change strategy and adaptation (e.g. the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, or CPRS)
- public transport infrastructure development
- manufacturing developments (e.g. electric cars)
- building design and construction
- engineering design
- public policy and legislative development
- advertising and marketing of green/environmentally sensitive initiatives
- CSR and sustainability initiatives
- ‘greening’ of existing companies and their practices
- community engagement.
As a new graduate, you may gain professional training and exposure through hands-on, creative developmental work. As a fresh face to the workforce, you’re unlikely to be constrained by many of the attitudes that have limited the development of sustainable practices. The contemporary ideals of new graduates are a big plus in the green economy.
It’s our planet at stake – why not play a role in its ongoing livelihood?
GCA and Graduate Opportunities thank Golder Associates for assistance with this article. For more information, visit www.golder.com.
Environmental Jobs Network: www.environmentaljobs.com.au