Updated: Oct 3, 2022
This article is a co-publication with Climate People, a recruitment firm that connects mission-driven talent with companies fighting climate change. If you want to use your skills for a greater good, having an experienced team that can help connect you to hiring climate tech companies is invaluable! Read on to see how you can start making the transition to a green career and follow Climate People on social media for more tips!
The 'Role' Climate Jobs Play in The Climate Crisis
Have you been thinking about transitioning your career to focus on ClimateTech but are unsure of how to make the switch? It might be easier than you think! Mobilizing a workforce to work on climate solutions is essential to mitigating the harmful effects of climate change. Individual climate jobs play a significant role in scaling, producing, and distributing the necessary means to create widely spread and adaptable technologies that will help us reverse, adapt to, or mitigate the negative effects of climate change.
When talking about careers in climate it's so much broader than those who work on solar panels or wind turbines. Every job has the capability of being a "climate role." According to Rhodium Group, a leading independent research provider, investments in decarbonizing electricity can create more than 600,000 jobs a year on average over the timeframe of 2022-2031. They also noted that jobs created or retained in clean generation far outweigh jobs lost at fossil fuel-fired power plants and upstream fuel supply.
This is the very basis of ClimateTech — it's all about reinventing the traditional ways that we do everything to electrify and reduce the reliance on harmful fossil fuels. So a climate job can be anything from, yes, a wind turbine technician, to a construction engineer, and everything in between. Therefore, it’s likely that your skills would be of value to many ClimateTech companies!
Due to its recent emergence and rapidly changing landscape, there are countless definitions of ClimateTech. Essentially, any technological service — whether that be software as a service, a web-based tool, a physical satellite, etc. — that works to eliminate/remove, repurpose and/or reduce the harms of carbon emissions can be considered a ClimateTech product. These innovative technologies can be industry-specific or more general. Climate technologies work to decarbonize production, reduce waste, and rewrite the traditional framework of sectors such as industry, transportation, food, buildings, energy, carbon solutions, and climate systems.
ClimateTech challenges impact all aspects of our global society. Everything from how we produce our energy, how we transport people and things, our food system, how we use the land and water, our buildings, and all of the things we produce and manufacture.
The Full Scope of Landing a Climate Role
The first step to working on climate is building awareness. Many professionals across various disciplines don't even recognize that there is a space for them in ClimateTech. Many job seekers are passionate about the environment in their personal lives, however, don’t even consider a career transition as a possibility. The main key to mobilizing a workforce to work on climate solutions is to pump a significant amount of energy into the awareness piece to help candidates see both the need and the roles they can play in this niche sector.
Climate communication really comes into play in the awareness phase, this is something the team at CarbonNix navigates so smoothly. Not only is the awareness deficit rooted in a lack of information, but it also stems from improper communication. Climate jargon and scientific lingo are over-utilized in this space which deters people from taking action. If key environmental issues were properly communicated, everyday people would have an easier time digesting the information and have the ability to use it as a vehicle to inspire their individual actions. These actions can range from using reusable grocery bags to career transitions to work on climate solutions.
The second phase to landing a climate tech role is to consider all of the options. As mentioned before, ClimateTech innovations have a seat at the table in every sector. We recommend taking a deep look at all the sectors and deciding which ones you're interested in.
Materials and Industry: This sector works to decarbonize the entire lifecycle of the production of goods we use from raw material form, through manufacturing, disposal, repurposing, and recycling.
Transportation: This sector prioritizes electrifying how we move people and things: electric vehicles, micro-mobility, public transportation, aviation, shipping, and trucking.
Energy: This sector focuses on the switch to renewable and clean energy, long-term energy storage, distribution, DERs, and microgrids.
Food, Agriculture, Land Use & Water: This sector revolves around nature-based solutions and technology advancements in how we sustainably produce food while protecting all living systems on land and in the water.
Built Environment: This sector focuses on transforming the built environment through carbon-negative construction, making our buildings more energy-efficient, and supporting more equitable and healthier communities.
Carbon Solutions: This sector revolves around capturing carbon to reduce the harmful CO2 that is already in the atmosphere.
Climate, Risk, and Earth Data: Lastly, this sector prioritizes the data, tools, and observations of the earth, ocean, and atmosphere to help drive environmental policymaking as well as business and financial decisions based on timely, accurate data and predictive tools.
Lastly, and most importantly, it's time to make a decision. We recommend fully immersing yourself in the community, networking, joining slack communities, contributing to LinkedIn groups, making connections, and applying for jobs. Working with a highly-specialized recruiter can help you navigate this seemingly daunting process.
Whichever route you take, it's important to remember that 70-80% of all jobs are landed through networking. Ensure that you're actively reaching out, forming genuine relationships, and properly selling your skills and experiences.
ClimateTech is a rapidly growing industry — According to Climate Tech Venture Capital, approximately $16b of ClimateTech venture capital funding was announced in H1 2021, $16.3 billion was invested in all of 2019. Approximately 250 unique climate tech venture deals occurred in the first 2 quarters of 2021 and Q2’21 exhibited an approximately 50% increase in deal activity compared to the prior twelve months.
With this much industry funding, comes rapid growth which is directly correlated with more hiring. The more people we have working on climate solutions, the more direct impact we will make. Climate change is single-handedly the most important issue facing humanity and we see mobilizing a workforce as part of the larger solution. Through networking, engaging, and hiring in the various sectors, we can create and enhance pivotal technologies that will ultimately decarbonize the global economy and lessen the harmful effects of climate change. When mission-driven individuals, conscious companies, and sustainable organizations join forces to mitigate the climate crisis, we can make a true and profound impact.
What steps can you take today to begin transitioning your career to focus on climate solutions?