3 reasons you should consider reskilling into a sustainability job

6 min read | Paul Gosling | Article | Career development | Upskilling

reskill into a sustainability role

Could your skills and experience come in useful for a role supporting the green economy? 58% of professionals would consider reskilling into a sustainability job and appetite is growing.

Last year’s COP28 global stocktake signalled a desire to move away from our reliance on fossil fuels as a society, with an agreement to triple the world’s renewable energy capacity by 2030. Delivering on this agreement will create many new job opportunities in sustainability, particular in areas like energy management.

72% of employers surveyed in our latest Salary & Recruiting Trends guide expect to have a similar or increased need for green skills and sustainability specialists this year, compared to the previous 12 months. Sustainability salaries have also increased by an average of 6.3%, considerably higher than the 3.5% national average.

If you have the transferrable skills and an appetite for learning, then why not consider a career change into a sustainability role?


At a glance: 3 reasons you should consider reskilling into a sustainability job

  • There’s currently a huge demand for sustainability professionals.
  • Organisations could be willing to hire you, even if you don’t have the full skillset required.
  • You could take an active role in tackling climate change and the wider sustainability challenges we face globally.

Let’s take a closer look at why it could be a good idea to reskill into a sustainability role and explore our current opportunities in the sustainability space:


There’s a huge demand for sustainability professionals

Against the backdrop of the climate crisis, many businesses are trying to reduce their environmental impact and turning to sustainability professionals to help them achieve this. Our salary guide shows that almost nine in ten sustainability organisations are planning on recruiting in the next 12 months.

The role of energy and carbon manager features in our Top Jobs 2024 Report, meaning it’s one of the most in-demand roles this year. Other sustainability jobs include those in the circular economy, environmental management, corporate sustainability and sustainable buildings. By reskilling into the sustainability space, you could take advantage of these opportunities opening up for people from a wide range of backgrounds.


Even without all the required skills, some organisations will still hire you!

Skills shortages are common in many industries, and sustainability is no different. According to our latest salary guide, almost every sustainability employer (94%) has encountered a shortage of key skills in the last year.

With specialist sustainability professionals in short supply, organisations are increasingly looking to upskill existing and new employees for sustainability roles. In fact, our salary guide reveals that 76% of organisations would consider hiring someone who doesn’t have the right skills for a sustainability job, with the intention of upskilling them. This is great news for individuals with transferrable skills from other industries – be it finance, engineering or marketing – who have the desire to pursue a role with a social and environmental purpose.

Our salary guide shows the top five core skills that sustainability employers are looking for in job applications:

  • Communication and interpersonal skills
  • An ability to learn and upskill
  • An ability to adopt change
  • Coordinating well with others
  • Flexibility and adaptability

Those currently working in engineering or construction would be well-equipped with the technical skills and industry knowledge to reskill for a role in sustainable buildings or energy management. Meanwhile, if you have experience in project management, finance, stakeholder management or communication, you would also be suited for a sustainability role, particularly those in corporate sustainability and environmental management.


You could play an important role in protecting our planet for future generations

It’s no longer just the salary and benefits packages that professionals value when applying for a role, our salary guide shows that an organisation’s commitment to sustainability is an important consideration for 74% of jobseekers across all industries.

If you want a role that helps tackle climate change, reskilling into sustainability could be a fulfilling career move for you. You could play a part in ensuring your company reaches its net zero targets as a sustainability manager, or work with leading architects as a sustainable building consultant to design energy-efficient homes and facilities for the future.


Key takeaways

In times of economic uncertainty, it can sometimes feel like sustainability issues aren’t given the attention they deserve. This is why, now more than ever, we need professionals who want to take a leading role in making our society more sustainable for future generations; be it our businesses, our national services, our local facilities or our homes.

No matter what industry you’re currently working in, if you have a passion for the environment and a willingness to learn new skills, then now could be the right time for you to reskill into the green economy. Get in touch with our expert consultants to see how we can support your career transition into a sustainability job today.


About this author

Paul Gosling, National Director for Sustainability Recruitment, Hays

Paul has been a specialist recruiter in environment and sustainability for over 25 years. He started recruiting into the sector in 1995 after finishing his BSc in Environmental Science and he’s worked with thousands of individuals and hundreds of companies over the past 20-plus years to support their growth and development in this dynamic and critically important sector.

During this time, Paul has built a wealth of knowledge and he’s recognised as a leading expert on overcoming the unique recruitment challenges facing the environment and sustainability sector.

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