5 Must-Know Trends Defining the Green Transition and the Green Economy

July 8, 2024

The Green Transition is no longer coming – it is here. And with the Green Transition comes a greater need for upskilling, reskilling, and training workers to new types of job roles. The transformation of skills and jobs needs to happen quickly, our whitepaper "Skills for the Green Economy" and LinkedIn’s Global Green Skills Report 2022 both found.

The Adecco Group paper reveals that without skills development, it is estimated that the global economy could shed as many as 71 million jobs in its move towards becoming circular. On the one hand, a green economy and a move towards a more sustainable future will no doubt affect the demand for skills in the labour market. On the other hand, progress towards a green transition would not even be possible without the right skills. 

The shift to green jobs and skills is underway

Millions of workers have left their jobs amid a period of unprecedented instability and disruption in search of roles that offer a better work-life balance. From the “Great Resignation”, the pandemic-era phenomenon where millions of Americans voluntarily quit their jobs in 2021, to the “Great Reshuffle”, where employees are searching for more fulfilling roles and purpose in their work, to the green transition jobs.

Amid this “Great Reshuffle” and in addressing the climate crisis, how can we apply what we have learned so far?

“This green skills report is one way we’re doing our part,” says LinkedIn’s CEO, Ryan Roslansky. “We leverage our unique data and labour market expertise to highlight actionable insights that are crucial to delivering a successful green transition and avoiding potential pitfalls.”

“We expect to see millions of new jobs created globally in the next decade driven by new climate policies and commitments,” Roslansky reveals.

Why are green skills important?

The European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop) defines green skills as “the knowledge, abilities, values and attitudes needed to live in, develop and support a sustainable and resource-efficient society”.

Climate change is an emergency. Lack of food, water, and biodiversity, along with forced migration will have a devastating impact on our world if we don’t change our practices. Identifying, assessing and developing green skills is essential in transitioning to a low-carbon economy and capitalizing on all the benefits it has to offer socially, environmentally, and economically.

New environmental standards and regulations will lead to changes in products and services in the economy, as well as in jobs and skills in the labour market. We need to transform the skills and jobs people have if we want to achieve real change. 

“It’s more than jobs — we need to zoom in on the skills that power these jobs,” says Roslansky “Green skills.”

The five trends that shape the green economy

According to LinkedIn’s Global Green Skills Report 2022 these are the trends defining the green economy:

1. Demand for green talent will soon outpace supply.

Green talent in the workforce worldwide is rising. The share of green talent increased from 9.6% in 2015 to 13.3% so far in 2021 (a growth rate of 38.5%).

2. Hiring of green talent is accelerating faster than overall hiring.

It seems this trend has been further accelerated by the pandemic, which shows that green talent has been relatively more resilient to an economic downturn than non-green talent.

3. There’s currently a good balance in the green skills that are needed.

Sustainability, Renewable Energy, Environmental Awareness, Environment, Health and Safety (EHS), and Corporate Social Responsibility comprise half of the top 10 in-demand green skills.


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4. The fastest growing green skills are both mainstream and emerging.

The fastest-growing green skills are in Ecosystem Management, Environmental Policy and Pollution Prevention. Yet a majority of green skills are needed in jobs that aren't traditionally thought of as green - like fleet managers, data scientists, or health workers. 

5. The volume of workers moving into green and greening jobs is too low.

As LinkedIn's report reveals, job postings requiring green skills have grown at an annual rate of 8% over the past five years, while the share of green talent has grown at about 6% over the same period. More and more workers are developing green skills. Nevertheless, the volume of transitions into green and greening roles remains too low to have a significant impact.

And there are more challenges for the Green Transition

Not enough workers are hired into green jobs.
Not enough workers are transitioning into green jobs.
Inequalities in the green transition (not only between countries but also among women, demographics and educational levels.)

Upskilling and Reskilling for the Green Transition

Employers should invest in green upskilling and reskilling their workforce, while individuals, too, need to adopt a proactive approach towards lifelong learning. Collaboration between all labor market stakeholders is needed to address the increase in green jobs and to assist with training opportunities for all workers. Only by making skilling opportunities widely available and accessible can we ensure that nobody is left behind in the green transition.

Governments, companies, and individuals all need to come together in a New Social Contract to help transition the hiring market from focusing solely on titles and companies, degrees and schools, to also focusing on skills and abilities.

As mentioned in LinkedIn’s Green Economy Report: We have a historical opportunity to rethink how we approach the global workforce’s transition into a greener economy based on skills. By adding insights from new data to this challenge, we can make a plan to increase green skills intensity around the world. The workforce is ready and the planet can’t wait: the time is now.