Transferrable skills for the green economy

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If you are a business leader or responsible for talent acquisition, then you will be conscious of how important getting the right people into the right positions is to your ongoing success. But in this current recruitment market, finding those right people isn’t always easy and whilst they may love your Green credentials, you are one of many companies vying for their attention!

We’ve known many managers whose ideal candidate also happens to be a Unicorn and so whilst the search for the talent continues, the business growth slows down or grinds to a halt completely.

So, if finding the right talent is on your agenda then we encourage you to expand your horizon of what you are looking for as some of the ideal skills required won’t be technical, but they will be more about the person themselves and their potential.


The Guardian reports that by 2030, there could be nearly 700,000 green jobs in low-carbon and renewables, rising to 1.1M by 2050 and with 80% of today’s workforce already in employment today, we need to act now to build capabilities for the future that include both technical and non-technical skills and behaviours.

What is a ‘green job’

The Office of National Statistics defined a green job as employment in a role that “contributes to protecting or restoring the environment, including those that mitigate or adapt to climate change”.

The green industry, which focuses on sustainability, environmental conservation, and clean energy, requires a range of skills to address the challenges and opportunities in this field. Many of these skills are also transferable from other industries.

Surely green skills are all techie?

Partly, yes. We need to develop technical capabilities, innovative technologies and continue investing in research and development to be able to design new solutions. But for example, if we can’t talk about them to the right people, devise a re-sale proposition and lead teams to manufacture these products at scale, we’re going to miss our targets.

The “soft” but hard…

Soft skills have historically been thought of as a nice to have; academic or technical skills first priority, soft skills the icing on the cake.  Businesses nowadays recognise that purpose and values led organisations will be more successful, attracting and retaining the best people (and ultimately have a bigger positive planet impact) if they have a good culture and this requires soft skills . So, what are the most important soft skills businesses and individuals should invest in to deliver great results:

  • Communication Skills: Effective communication is essential for advocating for green initiatives, explaining complex environmental concepts, and collaborating with stakeholders, including government agencies, businesses, and communities.
  • Project Management: Managing green projects, such as renewable energy installations or environmental restoration initiatives, requires project management skills to ensure they are completed on time, within budget, and with minimal environmental impact.
  • Adaptability: The green industry is dynamic and constantly evolving, so being adaptable and open to learning new techniques and technologies is important for staying current and effective.
  • Problem-Solving: The green industry often deals with complex environmental challenges. Problem-solving skills are crucial for finding innovative solutions to issues like pollution control, habitat restoration, and renewable energy implementation.
  • Cross-functional Collaboration: Working effectively in interdisciplinary teams with experts from various fields, such as biology, engineering, and policy, is common in the green industry.
  • Leadership and Advocacy: Advocacy for green initiatives and leadership in driving sustainability goals forward are valuable skills for those in management or decision-making positions.
  • Sales & Customer Outreach: Skills in marketing and outreach can help promote sustainable products and initiatives, educate the public, and engage stakeholders effectively.

This is not an exhaustive list, neither are they necessarily the most important ones for your specific business, role you are recruiting for or skill you need to train your people on.  Consider your business culture, your values and expected behaviours as well as the actual role itself.

In conclusion

Ultimately, we need to think more creatively when it comes to our talent pools. A candidate with limited technical experience or qualifications but a great attitude, a willingness to grow and learn and a passion for saving our planet could very well provide a breath of fresh air when it comes to new ideas, creativity and different ways of working.  They should be considered alongside the candidates who have swathes of technical expertise. It’s this kind of ‘outside the box’ thinking that will enable us to not only fill green jobs, but also provide diverse thinking amongst teams and help us achieve our green targets.  

At wayvie we believe “soft” skills development is a huge opportunity across the green industries to grow business for the long term, create outstanding teams and ultimately improve our race to Net Zero.  

Not sure on how this applies to your business or what to do next? Get in touch and we’re happy to help contact the friendly wayvie team for a free consultation

Transferrable skills for the green economy was written by

Pete Starr

Pete is the Founder of wayvie, with a wealth of experience in learning and development, sales, and leadership. He’s passionate about helping green businesses excel by investing in their people. Pete’s expertise includes selling, account management, leadership development, performance coaching, and he’s an enthusiast of Wim Hof’s cold water techniques.

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