Conversations around climate change have been happening for decades, and the impact of global warming can't be overemphasized. Recent events like extreme weather and soaring fuel prices have highlighted the urgency to create green collar jobs. Business owners and corporate leaders are now turning their attention to the environment with the goal of building a more climate-resilient, green economy. Sectors like waste management, renewable energy, e-cycling (recycling of electronic waste), and environmental science are creating new job opportunities and increasing demand for workers. Jobs in these sectors and related fields, according to numbers fromBureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), are expected to grow by eight percent by 2030.
Here are the top 10 in-demand green collar jobs.
1. Civil Engineer
They design, supervise, construct, and maintain infrastructure projects. These include multistoried buildings, dams, airports, tunnels, bridges, and systems for water supply and sewage treatment. With a renewed focus on climate change, civil engineers have to execute projects with minimum impact on the environment.
2. Environmental Specialist
They observe and keep records of a population's impact on the environment to identify problems and recommend solutions. Their work in the corporate sector includes maintaining safety, carrying out environmental audits, conducting site compliance inspections, and taking corrective measures if required.
3. Environmental Technician
An environmental technician uses technology and instruments to monitor and control pollutants in the environment. Their duties include carrying out surveys, inspections, assessments, and evaluations. They are often directly involved in the construction of stormwater sewer systems and similar public infrastructure projects. Environmental technicians also collect chemical samples for testing and compliance.
Besides conservation of forest resources, major duties of a forester include making plans to regenerate forest land, supervising tree harvests, and supervising reforestation activities. Other duties include keeping the forest and adjoining areas free from diseases, insects, and wildfires. Foresters also keep a check on unauthorized or illegal construction activity in the forest area.
5. Solar Photovoltaic Installer
A solar photovoltaic (PV) installer assembles, sets up and maintains rooftop and other solar systems that convert sunlight into energy. PV installers must often work in tight spaces to connect panels and wires to the electrical grid. This job involves a lot of traveling, and knowledge of electricity is a must.
6. Solar Consultant
A solar consultant explains renewable energy resources and systems to potential clients. Solar constants are often employed in turnkey projects where they advise on power needs, determine cost-return ratios, and supervise solar equipment construction work. They are often called to give expert opinions on how installing solar energy systems would benefit the environment and the customer’s cost savings.
7. Energy Auditor
Energy auditors help prevent wastage of electricity, water, and other natural resources in residential and commercial establishments. They identify points of energy leakage and help consumers use fewer resources and save money. Most energy auditors work full-time for consultancy firms.
8. Environmental Manager
An environmental manager ensures that the entire operations of an organization or industry are compliant with environmental guidelines. Typical duties involve developing programs to ensure environmental safety, paperwork, handling administrative tasks, investigating accidents, advising the senior management about compliance adherence, and training workers on environmental issues.
9. Wind Turbine Technician
They are responsible for the maintenance of large turbines used to generate electricity from wind power. Wind turbines are usually several stories tall and have complex electronic systems that convert each physical turn of the turbine to renewable energy. Wind power is a sustainable alternative to thermal power generation. Wind turbine technicians also repair wind turbine equipment. They often have to scale long heights to reach the electrical systems at the top.
10. Geotechnical Engineer
A geotechnical engineer observes the impact of human activity on geological features like soil and groundwater. They analyze remote environments to study how the changes in global climate have affected the natural environment. Some engineers work for companies that develop geothermal energy systems. Such systems harvest the earth's natural heat to produce renewable electricity void of harmful emissions.
Awareness about the environment, particularly from the government level, has created opportunities for new green collar jobs. These jobs aren't restricted to any specific industry, and professionals from a variety of backgrounds can find opportunities in almost every sector.