The future job: green and STEM

17 de March de 2021

The International Labor Organization estimates that 24 million ‘green’ jobs will be created by 2030 worldwide. At the same time, it is estimated that six million will be destroyed (linked to sectors that will be extinguished or reconverted, such as mining, hydrocarbons or automotive), so net employment will be positive, reaching 18 million, of which two million will originate in Europe. Thus, for every job lost, four new ones will be created.

However, for this operation to be successful, it is necessary to promote training and scientific and technological vocations. Otherwise, there will not be enough profiles to cover all the new jobs that will be created, which require knowledge and skills that have not been sufficiently promoted so far.

In Spain there are more than 10,000 vacancies in the technology sector that remain unfilled due to lack of qualifications. But this is not just a Spanish problem. Other countries such as Germany also claim to suffer the same difficulties and, on the other side of the Atlantic, the United States estimates that 3.5 million STEM jobs will be created, of which more than 2 million will go unfilled.

Education and business, hand in hand

The new framework promoted by the European Green Pact aims to make Europe the world’s first climate-neutral bloc by 2050, but this requires improved training in both the education and business sectors.

  • In education, it is necessary to better show career opportunities and create references in these areas to motivate professional vocations, while stimulating early talent and incorporating more specialized STEM professionals at all levels of education. More vocational training and specific careers will also be needed.
  • On the business side, this new paradigm demands leaders willing to invest in retraining their workers.  Companies that are not able to train their employees and adapt will not be competitive. Continuous training is key, while at the same time working on retraining workers to take on the new challenges. This cannot be done from a single HR or circular economy department; it has to be a new philosophy that permeates transversally to all teams in the company.
  • It is also important to bring together education and business. This is something that several entities are already working on, and they have launched educational mentoring programs in primary and secondary schools, hackathons, and talks to make visible the profiles of the new jobs to come.

The most in-demand profiles

The decarbonization of the economy and the development of the circular economy are already leading to the emergence of the so-called professions of the future, which are most strongly concentrated in the following sectors:

  • Energy: engineers and designers of renewable energy systems, as well as technicians and installers of solar photovoltaic, wind turbine and biomass systems. This is an activity with enormous potential for the metal industry and its associated technologies.
  • Waste: Environmental engineering and energy efficiency technicians; soil, waste and water engineers; environmental science and engineering technicians; atmospheric and outer space scientists; soil and water conservationists; landscape architects; climate change analysts and eco-designers to make the circular economy a reality and not just an ideal.
  • Manufacturing: already revolutionized by digitalization, sustainable product engineers or sustainable production engineers will increasingly be needed, as well as technical profiles for automation, Artificial Intelligence and telecommunications networks.
  • Construction: Rehabilitation, urban regeneration and digital transformation are priorities within the European strategy, and this is going to demand architects specialized in sustainable designs, electricians and heating technicians specialized in renewable energies, consultants and auditors in energy issues, technicians in green building services and construction and metal structure companies capable of refurbishing buildings and making them much more energy efficient.
  • Transport: is the sector responsible for more than 30% of CO2 emissions in the European Union (EU), 72% of which come from road transport. It is one of the industries facing the greatest challenge of reconversion, and this will require professionals specialized in the maintenance and use of electric vehicles and/or compressed natural gas, and research and development related to the design of new transportation systems.
  • Agriculture: Agricultural technicians specialized in organic farming, soil and water conservationists, environmental restoration planners, water resource specialists, wastewater technicians and meteorologists specialized in agricultural issues, among others.
  • Tourism: with ecotourism as a growing trend, more and more professionals will be needed for astro-tourism, geotourism, natural areas management, rural tourist guides, among others.