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Battling green skill shortage in the quest for a sustainable economy

Growth in demand for green skills is outpacing the increase in supply – LinkedIn report

The quest of governments around the world to build sustainable economies that are in tandem with current realities of reducing waste and promoting healthy living habits while saving the environment from adverse effects of climate change has become more paramount now than ever.

It is even more about the concerns for the future workplace and eco-conscious practices and lifestyle we all seek.

This is if we are not paying lips service to that promising future where life will be more sustainable.

How we are unlocking the key opportunities for today’s youths to acquire green skills while the government and private sector continue to provide adequate supply of these green jobs in their budding circular economies in Africa. It will determine how we are able to build this desirable future devoid of artificial “lush and plush”.

Do we want to continue to experience mother earth fight back to regain her dignity from the haphazard habits that are denigrating the environment?

The question now is: how should the governments work with the private sectors to accelerate skills-based hiring in the sense that companies broaden the pool of talent available to help them to meet circular economy goals and even business sustainability goals respectively?

Policy makers have to become more intentional about developing green talent pipeline for the economies especially in Africa. Africa seems not to be in full gear in the current conversations around green skill transitioning around the globe.

Developing economies need to be more focused on ensuring that as many young people as possible benefit from the opportunities that the green transition avails.

In Europe, where the conversation around green skills keep getting stronger, according to analysis demonstrated by LinkedIn Economic Graph on Global Green Skill Report 2023, the growth in demand for green skills is already outpacing growth in the supply of green talent.

According to the report, between 2022 and 2023, the share of green talent in the workforce grew by a median of 12%, while the share of job postings requiring green skills grew 22.7%.

“This supply-demand disconnect is likely to rise considerably without significant workforce investments — particularly in sectors like finance, manufacturing, and renewable energy — as policies designed to curb
climate change are introduced and rolled out in countries around the world”, the report stated.

The report further revealed that the study demonstrated however, that the increase in demand for green skills is outpacing the increase in supply, raising the prospect of an imminent green skills shortage.

“Between 2022 and 2023 alone, the share of green talent in the workforce rose by a median of 12.3% across the 48 countries we examined, while the share of job postings requiring at least one green skill grew nearly twice as quickly — by a median of 22.4%”, the LinkedIn study revealed.

Source: Global Green Skills Report 2022 on Fastest-growing green skills (2016 – 2021)

According to the analysis above, sustainable fashion, while still a niche
skill, was one of the fastest growing green skills globally in 2016–2020,
with an average annual growth rate of 90.6%. This new trend demonstrates how an industry that has been around for thousands of years can make the shift to green quite swiftly.

Also raising concerns on the need to combat dearth of green skills, in the International Labour Organization’s “Skills for a Greener Future: A Global View” report, it was stated that: “Climate change and environmental degradation reduce productivity and destroy jobs, and their effects fall disproportionately on the most vulnerable.

“Action to combat these processes can potentially create millions of jobs — but this requires a bold effort … to invest in people’s capabilities to realize their full potential and contribute to the productivity of enterprises.” ILO reported.

Unfortunately, many African countries including Nigeria, have yet to get a firm grip on adequate data for analysis of the situation of things as regards green skill extension across sectors of the economies.

These sets of data are expected to cover but not limited to:

  • the scale of the need for reskilling and upskilling to realize the employment potential of the transition to environmental sustainability (the “green transition”);
  • the changes in occupations, skills gaps and skills shortages in meeting the skills demand and supply of the green transition;
  • progress made over the years in the countries in coordinating skills
    and environmental policy matters across ministries and between public and
    private sectors;
  • the specific needs of vulnerable and disadvantaged groups in adjusting to
    change, and effective skills policy measures to increase productivity and support a just transition.

Demand and supply of green skills for sustainable economy, Africa, Nigeria … are we ready?!

Akinlabi Hassan is the executive editor at Impact Watch Network and a Bloomberg trained journalist and development communication expert.

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