A More Holistic and Granular View of the Green Economy

October 10, 2022 by Rob Slane

green economy image

If you were asked to give a list of occupations that are part of the "Green Economy," the sorts of roles you might immediately think of would perhaps be things like Environmental Consultant or Conservation Officer. However, by limiting ourselves to thinking of only those jobs which have an obvious connection with envrionmental, ecological or conservation concerns, we can actually miss the breadth, depth and nuances of the sector, and consequently the impact it is having on the labour market in general.

A more comprehensive way of looking at the issue is to do so through the lens of skills. Rather than starting with broad occupations or job titles that have "green words" in the title, we instead start with specific skills or clusters of skills that are connected to envrionmental, ecological or conservation concerns, then use job postings data to identify the roles where these skills are in-demand. The result is that we end up with a far richer, more holistic, and highly granular view of the Green Economy, as we hope to show below.

Let's begin by looking at a particular skill within the Green Economy: environmental sustainability. In the chart below, we've plotted the growth in mentions of this skill in job postings over the past five years in Australia. Although the numbers are low, there has clearly been an upward trend in demand, particularly since the end of 2021, with the number of mentions in job postings now 120% higher than it was five years ago:

So, which jobs are behind the growth in demand for this skill? Our instincts might lead us to assume that it is roles such as Environmental Accountants or Solar Installers. But here's where interrogating the data is particularly important, as it shows something which at first glance may seem very surprising. According to our job postings data for the last 12 months, although occupations such as Environmental Consultant and Envrionmental Manager are in the pack of leading roles associated with environmental sustainability, the occupation that actually tops the list, with 13.7% of all mentions of this skill, is Early Childhood Teacher:

Actually, this may not be quite as surprising as it first seems. Many schools have implemented environmental sustainability practices and ideas into the day-to-day running of the school, as well as in their teaching. However, it still seems to be a somewhat less intuitive occupation to be leading the green economic transformation than many others we could mention.

The point here is that this really does emphasise the importance of letting the data speak to us. If we rely on our own assumptions about what the labour market looks like - in this case the Green Economy, but the same is true of other sectors - we will often miss both the big picture and the smaller nuances. By using the data, however, we can better understand both the breadth and depth of what constitutes a particular part of the labour market, as well as identifying the sorts of nuances brought out in the data above.

To find out more about how our data can help you understand the labour market for the Green Economy or any other sector, get in touch.