Green-Collar Workers: Projected To Grow Like Weeds

Traditional white-collar and blue-collar jobs have become scarce and the negative effects of cuts have been felt across all industries, but there is a bright spot in this bleak economy and it's emerging from blooming green industries. Over the past few years, as white or blue-collar opportunities began to contract and a new green-collar class has emerged as job opportunities sprout up across the globe. What is this green-collar job exactly? Basically, a green-collar job can be attributed to professions involved in the environmental sector in some capacity, especially jobs in renewable energy and sustainable agriculture. There's been a dramatic shift toward more green-clean technology and, as a result, many professionals are donning green collars to take advantage of better career options.

I started thinking about this change when I came across some green-collar figures in a recent post from green blogger, Karl Burkhart, which had a number of factoids about the growth of green industries. According to recent findings from the Sustainable Energy Coalition, for example, in three key “green” industries – solar photovoltaics, wind power and biofuels – there’s been a 53% increase in annual revenue, rising from $75.8 billion in 2007 to roughly $115.9 billion in 2008. Additionally, these findings also suggest that green industries will see sustained growth over the next decade or so, reaching projected annual revenues of $325.1 billion by 2018.

The current revenue numbers are remarkable, especially considering the harsh economic climate, but it was the number of people employed by green industries that impressed me most. See the graph below for the number of green-collar jobs worldwide by industry.

This is win-win for all parties, especially for those of us in the green service industry - PR and marketing people, this means you. As PR professionals, we’re excited about this shift and unfettered growth of green technology industries, but we’re cautiously optimistic about the impact this will have on our industry. Will these new opportunities trickle down to our level? How can we tell if this will have a lasting impact? And, most importantly, will these new job opportunities help pull the economy in the right direction? There are a lot of questions yet to be answered, but one thing is certain: green-clean industries are expanding and those of us who engage with these innovative companies are eager to see this growth continue.

Contributed by Gretchen Doores.  Follow her @canadiangal84