Saturday, July 13, 2024

Gen Z workers want climate jobs but don’t have the skills: LinkedIn

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Young climate activists with the Fridays for Future movement march in Turin, Italy in October 2023.
Stefano Guidi/Getty Images

  • Only 1 in 20 Gen Z workers have “green” skills, according to a LinkedIn analysis.
  • Nearly two-thirds of Gen Z workers said the main barrier is a lack of job opportunities.
  • The skills gap could make it harder for governments and companies to meet their climate goals.

Gen Z is considered the most climate-conscious generation, with nearly two-thirds saying they want a “green” job within the next five years.

That’s according to a LinkedIn analysis, which found only 1 in 20 Gen Z workers have “green” skills like measuring carbon emissions, building solar, wind, and electric vehicle projects, reducing waste, or protecting water quality.

LinkedIn classified several hundred skills as “green” and analyzed data from more than one billion people and 65 million companies using the networking platform between January 2016 and March 2024. In May, LinkedIn also conducted an online survey of more than 7,000 global workers in the US, Europe, Brazil, and the United Arab Emirates to capture a snapshot of Gen Z’s perception of green jobs.

The green skills gap could make it harder for governments and companies to meet their climate goals, LinkedIn warned, especially with Gen Z on track to account for 30% of the global workforce by 2030. Efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cars, trucks, buildings, the power grid, and the food system could create hundreds of millions of jobs around the world. And while the skills shortage is most acute among Gen Z, it is part of a broader trend across the labor market.

Some 63% of Gen Z workers said the top barrier was a lack of available opportunities. That may be because employers are looking to hire people with prior experience or a certain technical skill, said Efrem Bycer, senior lead manager of public policy and economic graph at LinkedIn. But he also hears a lot of employers say they want workers who are hungry to learn and solve problems.

“The data tells us that Gen Z has that in spades,” Bycer said, noting that two-thirds of Gen Z said they were interested in training programs.

Bycer added that employers need to align their climate goals with a hiring plan and identify green skills they can teach people on the job. There are also job titles that might not sound “green” but do help a company reduce its environmental impact. Employers could explain the connection in job descriptions.

“If you think the universe of climate jobs have sustainability in the title or are at a climate tech company, that’s a limited view,” Bycer said. ” There’s a lot more jobs that contribute to climate action. So the problem is partly skills, partly signaling.”

President Joe Biden is trying to address the green skills gap with the American Climate Corps, which is modeled after a New Deal-era program that hired millions of men to conserve public lands, forests, and parks.

The administration said they expect thousands of young people to fill American Climate Corps jobs this summer that train them to reduce wildfire risks in national forests, respond to natural disasters, install solar panels, and provide environmental education.

Do you work a job that’s helping solve the climate crisis? Reach out to this reporter at cboudreau@insider.com.

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