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Updated: Sep 27, 2023

The Rise of Green-Collar Jobs

Ever since the birth of the working class, the ideas of blue-collar and white-collar jobs have been used to denotate the class difference between manual labourers and salaried workers. Other terms like pink-collar have been thrown around to describe those who work in the service sector, but more recently, the idea of green-collar jobs has emerged.

The term was first coined by Patrick Heffernan in 1976 and has been since used to describe jobs that belong to the environmental sector of an economy, for example, in the areas of energy efficiency, natural conservation, ecology, renewable energies and green business/policy making. Today, studies claim that by 2050 there will be over 300 million green collar jobs, and a bug bulk of them will be created by people who are leaving their carbon-intensive positions behind. Euronews has reported how many professionals working in traditionally polluting companies can still make a career change in a world that has an ever-growing need for green jobs and environmentally committed workers. From engineers that have shifted from gas to hydrogen, to professionals who are trying to transform the fossil-fuelled mining industry from the inside, the transition rate from dirty to clean industries has increased tenfold between 2005 and 2021, with 27% of these new green positions going to first-time job seekers while the rest has been absorbed by sectors that are now turning green.

But do not abstain from pursuing a green career from the get-go: the surprising thing about green-collar positions, and the thing that makes these types of jobs as competitive as the traditional white-collar offer, is that there are currently more job offers in the area than professionals with the skills needed to cover them. The field is incredibly diverse, with a high demand for urban planners, conservation scientists, environmental lawyers, engineers, as well as a high stimulus for green businesses, consulting, and investment. Bloomberg has found that green-collar jobs have higher wages, and that the development of the field could help to solve inequality problems in the coming years through the creation of jobs and the diversification of worker profiles. According to rankings of the 10 best paid green-collar jobs last year, professionals of diverse areas can look to earn from €78k to €139k a year, with the benefits of pursuing sustainability proving invaluable in the future.

We encourage you to research what green-collar options might best suit your career path, so you can start thinking about how to make a positive impact while doing the things you love.



Transition from ‘dirty’ to green US jobs rises, leaving older workers behind:

Looking for a career change? There are more green jobs than people with the skills to do them:

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