In the wake of ever-present unemployment following the 2008 recession, looking for a job can be stressful. For those who are either entering the workforce for the first time or re-entering it, finding a job is especially difficult. But if you’re on the hunt, and want to indulge your green leanings, too, there are online green job sites that can get you on the right path.
The Green Job Basics
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) began to study green jobs in 2010. The first definition they gave is a job that produces a good or service that helps the environment or protects natural resources. The second is a job that makes the processes of a company more environmentally friendly or decreases the use of natural resources
Dixie Sommers, the assistant commissioner for occupational statistics and employment projections in the BLS, says that the bureau looked at both how the economy operates and the general way that they measure employment to arrive at the definition.
According to the bureau, there are 3.1 million jobs in the U.S. that can be considered “green,” accounting for about 2.4% of all wage and salary employment in the United States. “The catch is that not every business in every one of those industries produces green goods and services,” Sommers says. In September, the website will feature a third piece of data about specific environmentally friendly occupations.
Green job websites abound online. Here are a few places to get started:
• The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration has a lot of resources on green jobs, including job opportunities, other governmental organizations and information on training and certification. All of the links are available at doleta.gov/brg/greenjobs.
- For those with technical inclinations, the U.S. Green Building Council’s website offers information on how to get accreditation before applying for green jobs specific to the building industry. “By 2013, green buildings will support nearly 8 million workers in a range of occupations including construction managers, carpenters, electricians, architects, truck drivers and cost estimators, among many others,” they write on their site. Check out the Green Building Education section at usgbc.org/greenjobs.
- The site eco.org includes a blog, a place to post resumes and a job search. But results vary. A search for eco jobs in California turned up just seven opportunities, from a job with a conservation nonprofit to one in solar construction; a search for Connecticut, none. Ken Beller, CEO of eco.org, says that the importance of green jobs cannot be underestimated. “They help us preserve the only planet we have to live on, so anything we can do to help reduce our impact and create a sustainable future is important for us and future generations,” he says. “They also show great promise for helping the U.S. create a huge job market and getting our economy back on track.”
- One of the best green jobs websites is sustainablebusiness.com which offers the “Green Dream Jobs” tab for searching opportunities by state, skill level or category. Here, a search for jobs in California turns up more than 70 postings, from grant writers and chief operating officers and social media managers for nonprofits, to electrical engineers and technicians for renewable energy companies. Site authors track sustainable stocks and green business news and produce the monthly online newsletter “Progressive Investor.”
- The site care2.com, a hub for connecting with activist causes, has its own JobFinder, but seems to mostly to pull jobs from elsewhere on the web. When searching for jobs in California, for instance, it returns a hodgepodge of listings that includes a UPS driver and a software engineer for HP. If you filter for “only eco-friendly jobs,” or “only socially-responsible companies” a smaller group of listings appears but turns up such jobs as a prepared foods team member for Whole Foods (for the former) or a barista at Starbucks (for the latter). One may be better served using Care2 as a place to research nonprofits and connect with causes, from animal welfare to environmental and wildlife concerns, and then to research these nonprofits independently to find out who’s hiring.
After all, a green jobs search is not only about finding a job (or employer) that is environmentally friendly, but also one that satisfies a passion. “While being green is a must to many people seeking an eco-friendly job, we always recommend that job candidates also make sure that the job they apply for and possibly accept does more for them then just be ‘green,’” says Beller.