Investing in green jobs and skills in the Asia Pacific region will pave the way towards a sustainable future

This is a pivotal moment for our planet. We must take proactive steps to address the effects of climate change today, to build a sustainable future for the generations of tomorrow.

Achieving our collective global climate targets for a sustainable future will be a monumental task, and require a whole-of-economy effort. Ultimately, it will come down to us as people — our talents, smarts and ambition — to get us there.

The good news is that this challenge comes at a time of opportunity: In this changing world of work, we are seeing an increasing number of professionals being drawn towards opportunities that are meaningful and purposeful. In fact, we see that the share of green talent has jumped from 9.6% in 2015, to 13.3% in 2021 (a growth rate of nearly 40%). We are also seeing green hiring accelerate around the world, as companies start to place greater emphasis on sustainable practices. Undoubtedly, there is a green transition gaining momentum worldwide.

This indicates that the promise of a greener economy is in the works, but there is more work yet to be done globally. And the role of the Asia Pacific (APAC) region cannot be discounted. Singapore, New Zealand and Australia are amongst the world’s highest income economies, and India and China are two of the world’s most populous countries. Across APAC, we must invest in green skills, the building blocks of the green transition and the key to unlocking the human capital that will power it.

Our data tells us that APAC has seen a 30% growth in hiring for green jobs since 2016, but still lags behind the U.S. (70%) and Europe (41%), which lead the way for hiring green globally. Two countries in APAC, Australia (50%) and New Zealand (41%), do, however, remain at par with the global trend. The share of growth in hiring for green jobs is slower in China (4%) Singapore (15%), and has declined in India (-8%).

Still, a cause for concern is that between 2016 to 2021, the hiring growth for jobs that are in the process of becoming more green, or have the potential to become more green in nature, has mostly been flat or declining in APAC — a trend that could severely limit the pipeline for green transformation.

The solution is to not only hire more people into green jobs, but also look to incorporate green skills into existing jobs that are not traditionally green in nature. For example, a procurement professional can be upskilled in the area of sustainable procurement, and therefore contribute to the company’s sustainability efforts. Likewise, a facilities manager can be upskilled to be able to evaluate and implement recycling programs in office facilities. To help companies and professionals understand the green transition better, and their part in it, LinkedIn is releasing a LinkedIn Learning course free until 19 May 2022: ‘Closing the Green Skills Gap to Power a Greener Economy and Drive Sustainability’.

At LinkedIn, we are leveraging our unique view of the labour market to understand how the green economy is evolving. Our new Global Green Skills Report — featuring APAC insights — shines a light on how and where workers are contributing to the green transition, where gaps are emerging and what policymakers, organisations and individuals can do to accelerate change.

It is never easy to get hundreds of nations to move in a common direction, but we believe that doing so is not just our best hope to address the climate crisis, but also our biggest opportunity to power a new, clean economic engine for workers everywhere.

Here are some key APAC insights from the Global Green Skills Report:

APAC Employers are looking for candidates who are skilled in incorporating sustainable practices into their business
The most sought-after green skill within APAC today is ‘sustainability’, with employers across Asia Pacific prioritizing candidates who have the ability to advise organisations on adopting sustainable practices. Other niche jobs like Safety Manager, Health Safety Environment Advisor and Ecologist are also growing in demand.

‘Sustainability Manager’ is the fastest growing green job across APAC
An increasing number of organisations are now looking to go green—spurred on by conversations around sustainability, growing consumer consciousness for environment-friendly businesses and mounting government pressures. This has given rise to an increasing demand for specialized roles to help organisations achieve their goals. Sustainability Manager (28.6%) is the fastest growing green job across APAC, with Singapore (41%) observing the highest growth in demand since 2016, followed by China (33%), New Zealand (29%), Australia (24%) and India (16%).

Sectors like Manufacturing, Education, and Corporate Services are looking for more green talent
The demand for green talent will continue to grow in manufacturing, education, and corporate services industries across APAC. China is focused on technical skills around renewable energy to better support its manufacturing industry. Skills related to incorporating green practices into businesses and policies are gaining popularity in Australia and New Zealand, and a mix of both technical and business-related green skills are popular in Singapore and India.

Australia and New Zealand provide great opportunities for those equipped with green skills
With hiring for green jobs on the rise, Australia and New Zealand are leading the way to a green economy within APAC. Companies’ commitment to going green is evident in the fact that there are over thrice as many green job opportunities in Australia (1.2%) and New Zealand (1.2%) when compared to other countries in APAC (0.36%). Adding to this synergy are both the governments’ initiatives to promote green businesses. In Australia, the government is driving renewable electricity generation, green infrastructure and efficient disaster management by way of investments in research, construction and employment of green-skilled experts. In New Zealand, the government is focusing heavily on mitigating climate change by setting up emergency funds to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and a special council to look into construction of green buildings.

LinkedIn’s 2022 Global Green Skills Report provides insights on the trends, gaps and opportunities that will shape a greener and cleaner future of work. APAC Insights are available from Pg 40.