A Look at Green Jobs in the U.K.

A Look at Green Jobs in the U.K.

The prospect of green jobs fueling better economic times is an idea that's gaining currency on both sides of the Atlantic. Tom Savage shares his perspective on the situation in the U.K. as well as advice that works for jobseekers on either side of the pond.

Whether you're a rampant green activist or gas-guzzling climate change sceptic, one fact can surely no longer be disputed: Green jobs are on the rise.

Why? Because they are the lifeblood of the government's attempts to lever Britain out of the financial crisis. Business Secretary Lord Peter Mandelson talks about the opportunity to build a high-tech, low carbon economy as we emerge from recession. What this means in practice is that, from energy security to infrastructure investment, green initiatives are being paraded as the phoenix that will enable us to breathe life into the ashes of the economy. They also conveniently solve some pressing environmental issues.

Although many of these plans have yet to reach fruition, they will. So it's a good time to consider a green career. Green jobs encompass a widening scope of roles from hydrologists to engineers, architects to advertising, waste workers to financiers, plumbers to project managers, marketers to retailers.

They will all be in demand as public spending kicks in and the private sector responds. But green jobs also provide the answer to a bigger piece of the puzzle, one that's often overlooked: providing meaning in people's careers.

If you factor in the additional value of working in a career that contributes positively to the environment and that equates to greater personal fulfillment, it's not surprising that more people are getting excited about green jobs.

Much of the macro-level discussions about the environmental or financial crises are difficult for the general public to get to grips with, encouraging apathy or disillusionment.

Yet, if people start to see a real impact on the ground through increased job availability, and those jobs deliver an increase in job satisfaction and meaning, that's when people will start to sit up and listen.

Linking green jobs and meaning may be somewhat tenuous for some, but the numbers of people coming to Bright Green Talent looking for a green job are indeed meaningful. They are searching for something that could give them a sense of self-worth, rather than solely to benefit the environment.

Green jobs are not simply found in new sectors or regulators, like wind farms and public sector agencies -- they are appearing in more and more "traditional" careers as there is a shift in acceptance of environmental conservation and energy efficiency.

Just look at the resources that Marks & Spencer is dedicating to its environment initiative called Plan A. This is not a trend to be ignored by jobseekers or employers looking to create greater meaning in their workplace.

Those who are already green job-hunting will have noticed that they're not alone. The increased pressure on the job market, coupled with the anticipated surge in green jobs has already caused a wave of jobseeker interest. But there's plenty of room for newcomers.

The demand for workers will come not just from government initiatives but from the private sector.

Social and environmental entrepreneurs are prospering despite the economic crisis. They generate a profit but do so in pursuit of a healthy planet. As they prosper and grow, they will find it easier to attract the best people.

Tips for Finding a Green Job
  •     The easiest way to get a green job is to transform the one you have!
  •     Use your experience when you are hunting for a green job -- it's somewhat difficult to go from a secretary to a marine biologist in a year, be realistic.
  •     Use a recruiter -- the good ones will work in your favor and cost you nothing.
  •     If you're applying for a job, don't think about it from your perspective, instead try to get into the head of the employer and work out what they need.
  •     Do your research -- nothing annoys employers more than clueless applicants.
  •     Sometimes the job you want won't be advertised, plus the ones that are will have a flood of applicants. Try approaching the "right" company for you outside their normal recruiting cycle.

  • Tom Savage, who has founded several green businesses, is the managing director and co-founder of Bright Green Talent. This article previously appeared in the Telegraph and is reprinted with permission from the author.

    Brighton Earthship Solar Panels - Image CC licensed by Flickr user Dominic's pics