Building the foundations for a greener economy

Exactly one year ago, the European Commission presented its Green deal, setting out with the ambitious goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2050 and making the EU’s economy sustainable in the process. This transition to a fairer, climate-neutral, and more digital continent will guide the EU's growth strategy for years to come. 

While this requires collective effort, the impact will look different across Europe’s diverse  economic sectors. New specialties within sectors and industries will rise up, new jobs will be created and workers will need new skills to fill them. We’ll need tailored upskilling and reskilling efforts to alleviate the socio-economic impact of this green and digital transition, targeted to those most affected by changes. 

Understanding the foundations of a greener economy

Our ability to tailor those efforts hinges on our understanding of the foundations of jobs: skills. Jobs are increasingly defined by the unique skills that people have, and at LinkedIn, we’re able to see real-time insights into those skills: what skills are required for a given job, the transferability of skills between jobs, and how the skills sets change over time. Bringing these data points and trends together can empower policymakers to make more strategic decisions about workforce development that supports this green transition. 

We developed a dynamic approach to identifying these green skills and trends in the green economy on our platform. First, we developed a comprehensive list of green skills through document reviews, interviews with green experts, and our own research. Then, our taxonomy team used a machine learning (ML) process to identify “candidate skills,” skills that are closely related to our seed list. This allows us to understand not only green skills, but also skills closely related to them. Finally, our team conducted a comprehensive review of all candidate skills, confirming those that are truly related to the greening of the economy, and discarding those that are not. 

Using this skills-based approach, we can capture not only green professions or occupations, but also identify occupations whose titles may not identify them in a traditional “green” role but are increasingly using green skills in the course of their work and playing a role in the green economy. Some of these roles include municipal transportation engineers or logistics managers, representing people who have an outsize role to play in building a greener future by reducing emissions by vehicles on the road or reducing the carbon footprint of logistics chains that bring products to consumers. Looking at these datasets over time, we can track the “greening” of these critical occupations as they add more green skills to the mix, as well as the growth of more traditional green occupations, such as sustainability consultants and green financial experts. 

Unlocking the full potential of the greener economy

When we combine our taxonomy of green skills with our unique insights into career transitions, we can unlock clarity for policymakers and leaders facing the complexity of workforce planning. We have been surfacing these insights on movement between jobs through our Career Explorer tool. When we look through the lens of green jobs and skills, we can identify viable pathways between jobs in today’seconomy and jobs growing in importance in this future, greener economy that might offer a more resilient, sustainable career path. This analysis directly supports the Just Transitions pillar of the European Commission’s plan by identifying most likely transitions from “old” economy jobs into “green” economy jobs. 

We’re only one year into an ambitious goal for a greener, fairer Europe, and we’re already seeing the shifts in the labor market despite a tumultuous year. The years ahead will no doubt prove challenging as well. To ensure this green deal is realized, and that it is just and fair, governments must provide people in transition with adequate re-skilling opportunities, and facilitate employment in low-carbon and climate-resilient activities. We’re committed to continuing to leverage these datasets and insights to empower leaders -- sharing insights for training and workforce investments as we identify green skills needs -- as well as provide guidance for individual career pathways choices through tools like our Career Explorer.