A green skills guide to the sustainability transformation

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Written by Erika
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From global warming and rising sea levels to increasing greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuel shortages, there are many indicators highlighting the climate emergency facing humanity and the planet. The environment is a subject of growing concern and society as a whole must get involved. 

Governments have already taken multiple measures in favor of a more sustainable world and companies should also be active in the fight. They must adopt more responsible behaviors and engage all employees on the issue. This can be done, for example, by creating green jobs, adopting sustainable practices or developing green skills internally. The important thing is to reinvent the professional world in order to control its environmental impact as much as possible.

So what are green skills? How can you promote green skills internally? Why and how can companies achieve this green transformation?

Let’s dive in.

Green transition glossary of terms

The green transition has given rise to new terms. We now hear about green skills, green jobs, non-green jobs, greening jobs and even potentially greening jobs, and it is important not to confuse them.

Before we dive deep into each of the following terms, here's a brief overview.

Green skills: The specific abilities through which employees can perform green jobs. We could, for example, cite being able to conduct energy audits, train people in recycling programs or measure the sustainability of a company's business activities as green skills.

Green jobs: The jobs that contribute to preserving or restoring the environment, whether in traditional fields or in emerging green sectors (renewable energies, sustainable development, etc.). 

Greening or greenifying jobs: These jobs do not have a purely environmental purpose, but integrate green knowledge and environmental issues into their work nonetheless.

Potentially greening jobs: Jobs that can be done without specific green skills, but may occasionally require them.

Non-green jobs: Jobs that do not require any green skills.

What are green skills?

The current state of the planet requires companies in all sectors to undergo a transition toward sustainability. This transition includes, for example, developing or supporting CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) initiatives and strategies. CSR covers all the actions implemented by the company to promote responsible activity (economically, environmentally and socially speaking) and move towards a more virtuous business model. But the sustainable or green transition can also include designing green jobs in order to face climate challenges.

Further, to succeed in these new jobs, the transition must also equip employees with specific skills called green skills. These are the skills that ensure environmental sustainability of economic activities and contribute, among other things, to reducing air pollution, better preserving natural resources and working in a more responsible way. 

Green skills have been steadily increasing on the marketplace since 2020. According to analysis of 220,000 job postings from 500 leading global companies from November 2020 to November 2022 conducted by the Data team at 365Talents, the most in-demand green skills were in the areas of: 

  • Energy transition (+73%);
  • Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) (+82%)
  • Carbon footprint (+75%);
  • Waste management (+65%)

Among those most frequently mentioned in job postings are sustainable development (+ 2.9%), energy transition (+ 2.4%) and ESG (+ 1.5%).

Currently, while the number of "green" profiles is on the rise —  60%+ since 2016 and 30%+ since 2019, according to a LinkedIn report — the numbers are not enough to enable a full shift to a greener professional world. For this reason, organizations need to redouble their efforts and train their people for this transformation. 

What are green jobs?

Tomorrow's jobs are oriented around green transformation, responsibility and sustainability. However, green jobs are not limited to those that are solely dedicated to protecting the environment. 

Green skills are, in fact, applicable to all types of professions making it possible to greenify all types of work. Green skills reflect a set of practices to adopt in order to transform one's way of working and make it more responsible in order to contribute to the preservation and restoration of the environment. And it's true: The emergence of new professions will be unavoidable and traditional professions may be replaced or redefined. That said, not all future jobs may be 100% green, but they should be as green as possible. 

According to a LinkedIn report, the green jobs that are developing include:

  • Sustainability manager
  • Health, safety and environment manager
  • Health, safety and environment supervisor

Meanwhile, among the greening professions that have shown the fastest annual growth between 2016 and 2021 are:

  • Real estate agent
  • Occupational health nurse
  • Public health practitioner

Key figures on the green transition

In total, there are more than 3.5 million people working in green jobs and nearly 140,000 people working in green jobs. These people work in the following sectors:

  • Construction (37%)
  • Industry (20%)
  • Transportation (20%)
  • Research and development (9%)
  • Agriculture and grounds maintenance (6%)

According to a LinkedIn report, between 2015 and 2021, the share of green profiles in the global workforce increased by 38.5 percent. They have green skills in sustainability, environmental awareness, renewable energy or environment, health and safety.

Get ahead of the green skills gap

The share of green jobs in recruitment is steadily increasing, proof that the world of work is taking a real turn toward sustainability. Many experts even agree that while the supply of and demand for green skills are relatively well balanced right now, the demand for green talent will outstrip supply within a few years. The quantity of jobs requiring green skills has been growing at an annual rate of 8% for the past five years. In 2019, green workers were even being hired at a higher rate than non-green workers. 

In France, hiring plans for green economy occupations accounted for 17% of all hiring intentions in 2021. According to a LinkedIn report, over the same year in France, the recorded hiring rates for green and greening jobs were 0.8% and 9.2%, respectively. The relative share of potentially green jobs, meanwhile, was 43.5 percent.

How SkillsDrive Helps You Identify Green Skills Gaps

SkillsDrive from 365Talents helps ensure that you are looking at real-time, up-to-date analysis on the supply and demand of green skills at your company. Benefit from responsive insights about the gaps between current skill sets and future demands at your company on global or granular levels and identify the skills most missing expertise and prioritize your plan to fill gaps based on your transformation objectives and employees’ motivations.

By supporting and driving email campaigns to collect employee skill evaluations, obtain clear insights and transform responses into actionable strategies, SkillsDrive gives you the visibility on your people’s skills, experiences and ambitions that is essential for your green transformation and development plans.

Learn More

The business case for the green transition

Why companies should greenify jobs for sustainability

1. To preserve the environment

Companies have a key role to play in the fight against climate change. Going green is not just a choice, but a necessity. At a time when environmental issues are a major concern, the green transition is essential at all levels of society. The planet's resources are limited and organizations must be aware of this. 

In order to limit the damage, the professional world has no choice but to rethink its way of operating and opt for more sustainable and responsible practices in all departments (marketing, production, human resources, purchasing, etc.).

Maximizing green jobs contributes to: 

  • preserving and restoring the environment 
  • sustainable regulation of activities
  • reducing the environmental impact of companies

2. To attract talent and open them up to other opportunities

While the transition can sometimes seem cumbersome and costly, it has undeniable benefits for the company: energy savings, talent recruitment, improved brand image, etc. 

A company that consistently reinforces its environmental commitment by creating green jobs and promoting green skills strengthens its employer brand and creates a positive image with candidates and clients. 

The impact of a corporate green transition can be very encouraging:

  • The organization can recruit and retain the best talent: According to a CSA study, 78% of employees say that, given equivalent offers, they would give priority to a company committed to the ecological transition
  • Candidates are more motivated, more stable and proud to work for a sustainable and committed company
  • Responsible commitment becomes a real competitive advantage
  • The company can attract new prospects and retain old customers: According to Les Echos, 56% of consumers want brands to commit to social and environmental issues.

From a purely economic point of view, the world of work is reinventing itself in response to climate change. Over the next decade, millions of new jobs will be created to meet new climate policy commitments. Organizations must see this as an opportunity. 

How can companies transition to environmental sustainability with green skills

A green transformation requires investing time and money. The important thing is to build a strategy for change management around this objective in order to transform the company's talent in preparation for tomorrow's jobs. 

More than simply raising awareness of the climate or carbon footprint among your people, the key is to train them and encourage them to take action, either through internal training programs or by hiring professionals to provide independent support. The goal, in the long run, is to have employees do their jobs differently. Be careful, however, not to rush them: It is better to present the green transition as a real opportunity to give more meaning to their career while protecting the planet and allow them to invest and engage on their own terms.

Finally, note that if your company does not have green skills in-house, you can choose to revise your recruitment process in order to attract more green talent to support its environmental transformation or seek out specific upskilling and reskilling resources or partners for green skills.


2023 Skills Impact Report

This report, which features original insights from Accenture, Axa Climate School, Credit Agricole, OpenClassrooms and OpenWeb, takes a deep dive into the impact of adopting a skills-based approach to your HR strategy.

It also explores the myriad ways it can transform your organization and help you move quickly and purposefully toward the future.

Get a head start on your green transition with skills-based HR strategy

Embarking on a green transition to develop sustainable practices and skills is exponentially easier when your organization has already centered skills in its HR strategies. An approach to talent management that focuses on skills rather than qualifications or professional background embodies the flexibility and open-mindedness that allows all your people to see how they might greenify their work. 

Opting for skills-based talent management (technical skills, interpersonal skills and, most importantly, green skills) can help identify individual strengths and support the company's green transformation. Of course, implementing this approach requires a review of sometimes well-established processes. However, it can be the source of many positive changes for the organization.

For a more sustainable and environmentally friendly future, green skills are an important asset for companies. Green skills represent the professional world of tomorrow and serve to create a more virtuous economy.

Are you ready to gain visibility on your people’s skills, experiences and ambitions is essential for your transformation and development plans? 

SkillsDrive from 365Talents helps customers direct email campaigns to request employee skill evaluations, obtain clear insights and transform their responses into actionable strategies to achieve your company objectives.

Discover what you can power with SkillsDrive.


Are you ready to gain visibility on your people’s skills, experiences and ambitions is essential for your transformation and development plans? 

SkillsDrive from 365Talents helps customers direct email campaigns to request employee skill evaluations, obtain clear insights and transform their responses into actionable strategies to achieve your company objectives.

Discover what you can power with SkillsDrive.

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