The Green Job Ecosystem

Earth Day 2024

Published on Apr 22, 2024

Written by Rachel Sederberg

green jobs turbine electric car

It’s Earth Day, an annual reminder to reflect on how the economy, particularly the job market, will play a crucial role in shaping the world’s green future. The adaptation of existing jobs to new green technologies and the creation of new positions in emerging fields will be key components of this transition. The U.S. economy is already showing strong growth in the green sector, with both traditional green roles such as wind turbine technicians and solar panel installers and traditional jobs that have adapted to green skills and technologies.

On April 5, President Biden's administration announced a new initiative to expand access to clean energy and climate solutions while reducing energy costs for communities across the nation. Achieving these goals requires additional workers to meet the demand for goods and services necessary to transition to cleaner energy solutions. Do we have the workforce for this? How will it be developed? What is the current state of our energy economy? These are questions we will explore using Lightcast data on the labor market.

In the first quarter of 2024, there were 43,841 unique job postings from approximately 10,000 employers in the US for core green jobs such as wind turbine technicians, solar panel installers, and other critical contributors to the green economy. These job openings outnumbered the available workers, highlighting the importance of the green economy and the need to fulfill employers' requirements while capitalizing on the economic opportunities it presents.

green jobs ecosystem pyramid lightcast branded

The states with the most abundant green jobs include California, Texas, Florida, Massachusetts, and New York. These positions often require a bachelor’s degree, but some are accessible to workers with a high school diploma, allowing individuals from diverse backgrounds to access energy and other green jobs. Companies also often request minimal experience for these core green economy jobs, recognizing that workers may be transitioning from different industries or entering the workforce for the first time.

The green economy extends beyond core green jobs to include positions that may not traditionally be considered green but require green skills. For instance, an HVAC technician might traditionally work with conventional energy, but the green energy revolution necessitates knowledge of alternative energy sources. In the first quarter of 2024, there were 179,000 unique job postings from over 25,000 separate employers for green-enabled workers like these, offering an average advertised salary of over $81,000. Some of the occupations that fall into the category of green enabling jobs can be found below, along with the number of unique job postings for the first 3 months of 2024. 

Another vital group to consider in the green economy is green-enabling workers who support the green sector indirectly, such as accountants, clerks, and other service roles in green firms. These are workers who work in service of the green economy, working for potentially a green firm, but not doing day-to-day work that is necessary necessarily these workers are critical part of the economy, filling roles, such as accountants, accounts receivable clerks, and other important roles.

Green initiatives and the green economy are no longer limited to the energy sector. The green economy encompasses a wide range of industries, including advanced recycling practices and sustainable clothing production from unconventional materials such as plastic bottles and oyster shells. It also includes making traditionally non-green events more environmentally friendly. All told, there were approximately 179,000 job postings in the first three months of 2024 for green workers, across core, enabled and enabling green jobs, and these jobs carried an average salary of over $81,000. The opportunities are plentiful and are poised to grow. Are you ready?

PRO TIP: In Lightcast Analyst™ , we've built a Green Jobs Sector to make easier for you to gather data on this topic. Using this cluster, communities and researchers can explore the demand for Green Jobs in their own region, or within specific industries. Historic postings have been tagged, enabling a look at how the sectors have changed over the years. Learn more about Lightcast Sectors: Green Jobs.