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The Future Is Green: 6 Best Jobs in Sustainability

Rachel Lark - February 19, 2024

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Are you passionate about the environment? Ready for a career change? You might’ve thought you need adequate skills and knowledge for the best jobs in sustainability, but you’ll be quite surprised. The green sector is expanding rapidly with more opportunities to transition with the economy. 

Let’s analyze the demand for green talent, where you can find sustainability careers in any industry, and explore some of the most sought-after jobs with an environmental focus. 

Green Skills in High Demand

LinkedIn’s 2022 Global Green Skills Report — the first of its kind — highlighted the transition to a greener economy, green skills gaps, and ways governments and businesses can combat climate change.

The most crucial report insights included the following:

  • Green talent saw an incremental growth rate of 38.5%.
  • While green skills in job listings grew to 8% annually, there was only a 6% growth in talent each year.
  • The U.S. renewable energy jobs increased by 237% in five years.
  • The fashion industry had a “green” growth rate of 90.6% between 2016 and 2020.
  • Sustainability manager and solar consultant jobs were among the fastest growing at 30% and 23%, respectively.

The green sector has even made room for those with other STEM, adjacent, and gateway skills. For example, 41% of workers pursuing sustainability careers don’t have prior experience. However, they may enter their roles with nine to 11 coincidental skills.

6 Best Jobs in Sustainability to Save the Planet

The best jobs in sustainability are those with the most positive environmental impact. Many people in these positions feel highly satisfied with their contributions to bettering the planet for current and future generations. Here are the top six sustainability jobs you should consider. 

1. Solar Consultant

Experts predicted adding a record 32 gigawatts of solar capacity by the third quarter of 2023 — a 52% year-over-year increase. 

Everyone likely knows somebody or has seen a home with solar panels. As a result, employment for solar consultants and installers is on the rise. 

Solar consultants may work for a solar installation company and explain panel systems, materials, and incentives to prospective customers. They’ll visit a home and assess customers’ needs, such as current energy consumption and how many solar panels are appropriate for their roof. Customers then have a clear understanding of how much they’ll need to spend on solar panels and the return on investment. 

2. Environmental Manager

Environmental managers work in the public, private, or voluntary sectors, ensuring environmental compliance with state and federal laws. These regulations include waste accumulation and disposal, air pollution, and water pollution.

According to Zippia, 7% of environmental managers are adept in environmental regulations and regulating bodies and experienced in project management. They must be capable of overseeing infrastructure projects, conducting risk assessments, implementing recycling programs and engaging employees in sustainability endeavors.

Environmental managers must also excel at communication and problem-solving skills since they’re responsible for being a point of contact for regulatory agencies. 

3. Landscape Architect

What do Central Park, Miami’s Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, Walt Disney’s Epcot, and Al Azhar Park in Cairo, Egypt, have in common? They were all designed by talented landscape architects.

Landscape architects utilize design, problem-solving, and technology skills to integrate infrastructure and the natural environment. They balance restoring nature and habitat among cities and commercial sites while appeasing the community’s desire for enjoyable outdoor spaces.

Because of the job’s scientific, engineering, and technological aspects, the Department of Homeland Security recently designated landscape architecture a STEM field through colleges and universities. 

4. Sustainability Consultant

There are numerous reasons why businesses should roll out sustainability initiatives — investor interest, long-term value, energy and cost savings, and attracting top talent are but a few. Not to mention, 60% of consumers would pay more for products in sustainable packaging.

A sustainability consultant — also a green consultant, environmental consultant, or sustainability advisor — helps companies, agencies and organizations adopt green practices and establish sustainability initiatives. 

They evaluate current business operations to determine the carbon footprint. Then, they provide expertise in minimizing the company’s impact on the planet and tailor sustainability plans, guidelines, and education to drive positive change. 

5. Restoration Ecologist

Restoration ecologists develop solutions to human-induced habitat degradation and repair damaged ecosystems. They are responsible for designing and deploying rehabilitation projects and educational programs related to conservation and ecology.

Restoration ecologists often focus on water and air quality, soil quality, and water conservation — anything requiring immediate remediation. Of course, determining what caused the damage in the first place can prevent it from happening again.  

Humans have modified 97.2% of the natural world in its entirety — meaning only 2.8% is still naturally intact. Essentially, restoration ecologists research, experiment, strategize, and collaborate to undo the damage humans have caused.

6. Air Quality Engineer

Air pollution is a significant problem worldwide, particularly in metropolitan areas. Research suggests air pollution shaves 1.8 years off life expectancy globally. Additionally, there are nearly 10.2 million premature deaths annually from fossil fuel pollutants.

Air quality engineers use advanced technologies and chemical and statistical analyses to assess air pollution in a particular area. Most work close to large cities where air quality tends to be lowest. 

They measure air pollution impacts on people and the environment, build pollution-control equipment, and determine which practices and sources harm and improve air quality locally.

Where to Find the Best Jobs in Sustainability

Fortunately, talented workers have access to the best jobs in sustainability through various job boards online. Green Jobs Network, GreenBiz, and Conservation Job Board compile green jobs specifically for green talent.

Otherwise, Indeed, SimplyHired, and other general job listing sites may have your next sustainability career waiting for you. 

Of course, college career boards and professional organizations deliver additional possibilities to find work. For instance, The Society for Ecological Restoration maintains a vetted job board for its members, including full-time and part-time positions, volunteer work, and internships. 

A Greener Tomorrow Depends on You

Even if you don’t have the education and experience in the environmental field, you can still overlap skills for the best jobs in sustainability. The transition to a greener economy is happening now, and the sector needs green talent to satisfy demand. 

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About the author

Rachel Lark

Rachel serves as the Assistant Editor of A true foodie and activist at heart, she loves covering topics ranging from veganism to off grid living.