Tom’s (Rules of) Thumb: Top Skills for Getting a Green Job
Penned by Tom
A few weeks ago, we asked you to send in your questions… and you did, they poured in – thank you! Over the coming weeks, I’ll be trying to respond to some of these.
What are the top skills required to work in the green economy?
Obviously the skills required vary according to the jobs you’re hunting for – yet there are some interesting constants within the green movement. We hear certain trends over-and-over from organizations hiring in this sector. These are not exhaustive, nor exclusive, but they’ll give you an idea of the themes out there:
- Experience is often as important as skills, unless you are applying for a highly skills-based position (i.e. solar engineer).
- Experience is almost always more important than education.
- Organizations want people who’ve got business experience, as well as environmental experience; thereby demonstrating a wider skill set.
- The ‘ideal’ candidate is often someone who combines the two of these.
- You can be too green. Organizations (including the non-profits) need people who understand how a business functions and is practical and realistic. If you refuse to use computers, fly or travel to work by car, for environmental reasons, you’re going to reduce the chances of getting many positions.
- General environmental degrees are useful, but won’t distinguish you from the best people out there without these degrees. i.e. someone with a masters in environmental studies won’t always trump someone with a top degree from a good school – although obviously every little bit helps.
- The top skills at the moment are generally specific to specialist roles, such as; engineering, solar technicians, energy assessors, planners.
- You can determine which of these are ‘hot’ or not by glancing over green job boards.
- Look through the recent moves by governments to stimulate interest in the green economy, there are clear trends that indicate which skills are in demand.
- Check Carolyn’s previous post about skills for students
- Also, see Raj’s post on technical (specifically solar) skills
Until next week!