Recent research has shown that more women are needed in the burgeoning sustainability sector, particularly for technician and scientific roles, where there’s a particular skills gap.
A major EU conference in Brussels in September found that businesses in the sector are struggling to find adequately qualified employees for technology and science positions and that a drive for female recruitment into these roles was imperative. Consultancy speakers also discussed the importance of getting the message across to young people that if they wanted to work in the sustainability sector, then the way to do it was via technology or scientific routes first.
The consultancy firm Innergic explained that to get into the best sustainability jobs, people needed to be studying chemistry, physics or engineering to have a chance at the green innovation roles – and this was the one of the biggest areas for future industry development.
The Gender Gap in Sustainability
Those already working in the industry are seeking women, with their natural multi-tasking abilities, to fulfil a range of roles and functions and bridge the gap between those narrow specialist roles and the requirement for broader management capabilities. However the search for female employees with the right qualifications, particularly in the green construction and science areas, was a challenge.
Now specialist recruitment agencies have been set up to find skilled employees for this burgeoning sustainability sector, in which functional, scientific and technological roles are greatly in demand – more so than the heavily subscribed to advisory and support roles.
Other companies and think tanks point to the necessity of providing environmental-awareness training and knowledge to all employees, whether they are working in the sector or not, explaining that all successful businesses nowadays need green knowledge to compete and continue to be successful. Many believe that the specialist ‘green’ jobs of today will simply be the regular jobs of tomorrow as the world moves on.
Other jobs, such as biotech and biomass roles, will create themselves as the climate changes and others will simply evolve to match corporate environmental initiatives and government legislation.
Certainly for those interested in the sustainability sector – whether male or female – the prospects and future potential for talented and qualified individuals is hugely exciting. And this means making sure that educators and advisers today are aware of the future potential and the rapidly changing world and have sufficient insight and awareness into these opportunities to enthuse the talented employees of the future.
All too often, careers advice focuses on jobs which have always been around or tend to be viewed as more ‘attainable’ for the majority of learners. But the pace of the world’s change is such that many of today’s jobs didn’t even exist ten years ago. And that pace of change is only set to accelerate, not just in the green sector but in every area of business. Parents, learners, women and generally all with an eye to their future employment prospects and possibilities should take note of the opportunities and ensure that they are skilled and experienced accordingly.