Menu Menu

Gen Z want green jobs but don’t know how to get them

60% of Gen Z workers are reportedly keen to launch their green career in the next 5 years, but less than 20% have any idea about where to begin.

Existential dread about the state of the climate is part and parcel of being a Gen Zer, but many of us want to avoid the pit of nihilism by jumping into green careers.

Unfortunately, however, information and guidance on how to get started is extremely scarce. New analysis from LinkedIn states that only one in 20 Gen Z workers have acquired the specific skills needed for those jobs and even fewer know where to begin.

‘Gen Z are hungry to work on this,’ says Efrem Bycer, a sustainability and workforce policy expert at LinkedIn. ‘They care a lot. They’re anxious about it, and they want to figure out how to translate that anxiety into action.’

If you’re after a career in the arts, construction, fashion, or science there is an abundance of routes to take to put yourself in good stead. The yellow (or green) brick road to securing an eco-conscious position, meanwhile, probably isn’t well known by your old UCAS rep.


The misconception about green job availability

A common misconception among Gen Z students and workers is that there are not enough green jobs available, when, in-fact, the opposite is true.

This sector is rapidly increasing, spanning from renewable energy to climate tech startups. LinkedIn’s reports highlights that the growth rate is almost double that of the overall workforce with green skills, which is obviously a problem.

Now, it’s worth noting that a job doesn’t have to be explicitly ‘sustainable’ by nature to apply. There are companies making a sizable environmental impact without effectively communicating the fact, and that can deter Gen Z job seekers off the bat.

Bycer suggests that the climate potential of various roles must be underscored in job listings going forward. Someone involved in the supply chain of a company, for instance, could identify and support sustainable companies through partnerships – though that may not be immediately clear in a listing on Indeed.

‘If you’re hiring for a sustainability manager, it’s [green potential is] obvious. But if you’re hiring for a software engineer, maybe it should show up there too. Maybe it should show up for somebody who works in marketing,’ says Bycer.

Before reaching this point, though, there’s the crucial matter of acquiring green skills.

Bridging the green skills gap

LinkedIn’s analysis suggests that just one in eight workers have acquired any form of green acumen to date. For Gen Z, the gap is even wider despite our palpable interest in the elusive sector.

Like most industries, nepotism and sheer luck play a large part in who ends up in sustainable roles, but there are ways of being resourceful and taking initiative.

Job seekers can start by browsing listings on platforms like Climatebase to identify skills needed for certain jobs. These specific skills, and broader climate education, can then be acquired through online classes offered by platforms like Terra.Do.

Many universities now offer climate-related courses and further education graduate programs are emerging for those with a keen eye. The MIT, for instance, is running a lifecycle analysis class, while UC Berkley has launched a master’s degree in climate solutions.

Specific networks and communities also exist to help those seeking advice on what to do and where to go. The Work on Climate Slack group is a renowned hub for helping people learn about the sector and transition into climate roles, if you’re interested.

Our generation clearly feels an innate sense of responsibility to contribute positively to the climate crisis, but truth be told, the lion’s share lays squarely at the feet of corporations and brands. How about meet us halfway!